How to Build a Backyard Waterfall

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel
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 (3 OUT OF 5 STARS ON 6 RATINGS)

I've always wanted to put a waterfall in my backyard, but the concept seemed over my head. After completing my first waterfall I have found out it is a lot easier then what I thought. This guide will give you suggestions on how you can construct a backyard waterfall in about a day. The entire job ended up being really fun and now the sound of a waterfall echoes in my backyard. There are several ways to construct a waterfall so please feel free to comment at the end of this section.

Tips & Warnings

Video

Things You'll Need

Step by Step

Step 1
backyard waterfall

The first thing I did was Gather my needed products. In my case I wanted to keep it simple and as inexpensive as possible and still make the waterfall look good. My budget was under $1000. The three main components I purchased was the Custom Molded Products Waterfall (I choose 19" with a 9" lip), Little Giant Pump, and Little Giant Vault. I also used a liner, a ball valve, pvc piping, flex hose, and boulder rocks. I purchased moss rocks for the boulders. They were a little more expensive, but look really cool.

Step 2
backyard waterfall vault

Everyone could probably figure out what the pump and waterfall are used for. I wanted to take this time to explain the waterfall vault a little more. The vault is basically where the water flows into. It is a large plastic molded water collector. This is what keeps the large debris (rocks, leaves, sticks) out of your pump. The pump needs to fit inside the vault.

Step 3
waterfall excavating

I next picked the site where I wanted to put my waterfall. I had a wall that I wanted to construct the waterfall in and needed to do some excavating and dig out some dirt. I dug a hole deep enough so the top of the vault met the top of the wall. The top of the vault would actually be the bottom of your waterfall. I then removed the vault to make room for the liner. The picture is showing the level you are looking for with the waterfall and the top of the wall.

Step 4
waterfall liner

After I removed the waterfall vault from the hole I just dug it was time to place the liner and liner protector. We stretched the waterfall liner over the excavated ledge. Do not worry that the liner looks giant. Later it will be cut to fit your waterfall. It is more important to have more liner area then less. Everything we used was placed on top of this waterfall liner (vault, waterfall pump, rocks, and waterfall)

Step 5
waterfall filter

I then placed the vault back on top of the liner in the hole that I dug out. The lid was placed on the vault. It is important to keep the lid on the waterfall vault to keep debris out of the vault. In my case we decided not to use a filter (this would save some cash). I then needed to make some type of man made waterfall filter to help keep my waterfall clean. I ended up buying lava rock and pouring this around the vault. The cost of the rocks were about $20. I plan on purchasing a waterfall filter in the near future (it will make my waterfall that more clear)

Step 6
waterfall pump and valve

We next took the lid off the vault and put in the waterfall pump. We used both pvc and flex tube to plumb the waterfall pump. We added a ball valve and a second outlet. This ball valve could then be used to control the flow of your waterfall once we got things flowing. The flex tube is used for the outlet of the pump and goes outside the top hole of the vault up to your waterfall. We also added a quick disconnect to easily remove the waterfall pump for winter storage.

Step 7
rock backyard waterfall

We then placed the lid back on the waterfall vault to protect the pump. Then we stacked the rocks around the vault. When stacking rocks it is a good idea to start thinking of the water flow. The water will need to be directed with these rocks to make sure it stays inside the liner. Also make sure to keep the flex tube hidden behind the rock. We also started filling the vault with water.

Step 8
stacking rock waterfall

We Continued to stack the rocks again thinking of where the water will be flowing. We Made sure the water would stay inside the liner when the waterfall starts flowing. We also used the rocks to hide the liner to make it look more natural. You can see in the picture the dirt that has already collected on the lid. This is why we kept the lid on.

Step 9
backyard waterfall

Once the rocks were stacked we placed the waterfall on the top of the rocks. We attached the rock trap to the waterfall and then the top of the flex tube to the back of the waterfall.

Step 10
backyard rock waterfall

Then we positioned and stacked rocks around the waterfall. It is important that the rocks do not sit on top of the waterfall. This will restrict proper water flow and cause damage to the actual custom molded waterfall. Hiding the actual PVC waterfall makes the rock waterfall look more natural.

Step 11
backyard waterfall electrician

The Little Giant waterfall pump comes with a 25' cord. In my case I needed to run electricity out to the waterfall. I opted to higher an electrician for this job. He supplied an outlet that I could plug into.

Step 12
control backyard waterfall flow

I then plugged in the waterfall to see how it flows. The flow will unveil where to make some adjustments. We looked to make sure there were not liner traps where the water was getting trapped, or the water flowed outside the liner.

Step 13
backyard waterfall

Although the lid was on it debris still got into the vault. I used a fish net and pulled out the remaining rocks sticks ect. to make sure it did not get into the pump.

Step 14
water level of backyard waterfall

I then made note of where the water level was on the vault. I let the waterfall run and occasionally checked to see how the waterfall level stayed. In my case the water was about half full after about 6 hours. This shows that the water wass escaping somewhere outside the liner. We found and adjusted a few rocks and liner folds to help redirect the water. The water currently stayw filled for over 1 week. Water will always be lost due to splash and evaporation so do not expect to never have to refill your waterfall.

Step 15
waterfall liner

After I made sure the water was properly flowing in the waterfall I cut off the excess liner and hid the rest with boulders and rocks. It is important not to cut the liner until after you get your waterfall flow correct. Again it is more important to have more excess waterfall liner then less. The total cost of the waterfall will vary depending on the rocks you purchase and the size of your waterfall. The total price will be around $600 to $1000.

Comments (1 to 2 of 2)

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User: mark

thnak you for the information very helpful

User: landscaper mike

WOW!!! That is amazing, and that chubby guy is so handsome & Knowledgable.

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