What Are the Different Types of Backyard Waterfalls?

C.B. Fox

Backyard waterfalls are common water features and are often specially designed to utilize the natural slope of a person's backyard. Though there are many ways to design backyard waterfalls, these water features come in a few standard types. There are stand-alone waterfalls, waterfalls attached to streams, and those that are features on swimming pools.

Water lilies may be planted to add a natural touch to a backyard waterfall and pond.
Water lilies may be planted to add a natural touch to a backyard waterfall and pond.

Stand-alone backyard waterfalls are made like fountains. They contain a pool or water reservoir and a raised area that is often made from a stack of stones. A pump placed in the reservoir brings the water to the top of the waterfall, and gravity pulls it back down into the pool again.

A stand-alone waterfall can also be attached to the end of a backyard stream. These features work best on properties that have a significant change in elevation. In backyard waterfalls attached to streams, the water is pumped to the top of the stream, allowed to travel down and then to fall into a reservoir at the bottom.

The reservoir at the bottom of the waterfall can be made into an aquatic garden. Plants, such as water lilies, and fish can be placed in this pond, bringing life to the backyard waterfall. The addition of a waterfall to a pond water feature can help aerate the water, making it easier to keep plants or fish in the pond.

Though most backyard waterfalls are permanent features, there are also some that can be put away when they are not in use. Some backyard waterfalls are designed to lower beneath the ground, where they can be covered and stored. This helps to keep algae from growing on the waterfall and reduces the amount of cleaning it needs, though it costs a considerable amount of money to install a waterfall that can move.

Though backyard waterfalls are often designed as visual water features, there are also backyard waterfalls designed to be a part of a swimming pool. These waterfalls drop pool water from an elevated area into the pool below. The addition of a waterfall to a pool can help add beauty to the pool while offering swimmers a place beneath the falling water to sit and relax. In some swimming pools, water is pumped to a hot tub above, heated, and then allowed to fall into the cold pool below, giving some heat to the pool and eliminating the need for a separate pool heater.

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