Backyard Water Features: The Basics

backyard water feature footbridge

Water features in your backyard add a sense of calmness and serenity as a landscape feature. How do you think about installing one? Here are the basics.


Make your backyard garden the envy of all your neighbors by installing a water feature. Once you understand the components of the project, creating your own backyard fountain or waterfall is a fun do-it-yourself feat to take on.

With a free weekend and the right tools, you’ll turn your backyard into a tranquil oasis, perfect for garden parties and sitting in the good weather with a book and a cup of tea.

Components of a water feature

Any backyard water feature has the same main water components. You’ll need a pump, piping, water, and your fixture. To create a successful water feature, you need a waterproof reservoir to hold the water and the pump.

You will also need a screen and waterproof materials to sit atop the basin and support the fountain or waterfall. Some designs also use concrete.

Design options

backyard water feature waterfallDepending on your backyard, you may want to create a pond, a fountain, or a waterfall. For any of these designs, you have many options. You may want your waterfall to trickle down pretty stones, or your fountain to spring out of the ground in a pleasing bell shape.

Ponds look especially pretty with a fountain at one end, or with a waterfall constantly replenishing the water. Choose something that goes with your existing garden design to add even more tranquility to your outdoor space.


Your local hardware store will be able to direct you towards the type of pipe, valve, and water pump you’ll need. Get copper pipe with enough extra room to reach the top of your fountain.

You’ll also want to buy or collect stones and other design features for your fountain or waterfall. Make sure whatever you get is sturdy, because you don’t want to rely completely on the pipe to hold the fixture up. You also need gravel to go beneath the waterproof basin to drain, and a screen with waterproof supports to hold the fountain over the basin.

DIY Installation

Dig a hole for the basin, and then pour the gravel in and put your basin atop. Once you’ve connected your pipe and your pump, cover it with the screen and the waterproof boards or other material to hold up the feature. Place stones atop the screen to hide it but to give you easy access as well.

You will also need to connect to an electrical outlet to run the pump, so make sure you put your water feature near one of your home’s exterior outlets or ask an electrician to install one. Using extension cords for outdoor projects like this can be dangerous. If you have a run-off of excess water, direct it back into your basin so you won’t have to fill the basin as often.

Adding beauty and peace

It doesn’t matter if your garden is stunningly intricate or you have a simple backyard, a water feature adds beauty and peace to your outdoor space and makes it a fun place for you and your family to spend time.


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