Water Features

Indoor / Outdoor Water Features

Water has been seated in our psyches since the beginning of time as a valuable asset.  When added to any space water features become an interesting and inspiring element.  Providing soothing sounds, cool, gentle streams, and subtle reflections.

Features come in all shapes, sizes, and types.  With a wide range of costs and skills required for installation.  This guide aims to provide you with a variety of water feature ideas.  Some prior thought and planning will make your project 1,000 times better.

Looking for specific water feature ideas? Click the link below to jump to that section:

Outdoor Water Features
Indoor Water Features
~ Water Feature Design
Building a Water Feature

Outdoor Water Features

Listed below are a sampling of outdoor water features.  Most have a variety of different styles and colors to choose from.


Garden fountains are the perfect DIY water feature.  Installation is usually completed by digging a firm, level hole sized correctly for the basin.  Place the basin and pump in the hole.  Then, hook up the tubing and plumb into the fountain.  Cover with gravel, or mulch if needed.

 EasyPro Modern Statuary Column Fountain 
 basalt garden fountain 
 atlantic fountain light
EasyPro Itasca Bowl Fountain with Pump

aquascape mini fountain basin install

EasyPro Self Contained Trinity Fountain with Integrated Planter

alpine win316 garden fountain rock waterfall


Crimson Red 4-Sided Vase Fountain

Greek Oil Jar Fountain

aquascape urn fountain kit

three sided basalt fountain



Most outdoor water feature fountains will be made out of a lightweight resin material.  Which makes them easier to move around and service.

There are also real stone fountains made out of basalt or concrete.  These are usually heavier and more expensive.  But will be more durable and look better.

Fountains can also be used in conjunction with rainwater harvesting.  As the installation at the Aquascape community makeover event below shows:

rainwater harvesting fountains

It’s basically the same setup as a normal fountain water feature, but with a larger basin that is tied into your homes rain gutter system.
rainwater containment garden fountain

How to install a backyard water feature fountain using solar:

Informal / Natural Waterfalls

pond less waterfall

Most people know these types of natural water features as a “pondless water feature”.  The name was originally coined by the company Aquascape.  It’s basically a waterfall where the water flows into a bed of gravel and magically disappears.  Below the gravel is a basin where water is stored and pumped back to the top of the waterfall.   This type of water feature is excellent if you want the sights and sounds of flowing water without the added maintenance of a pond.

pondless water feature

Pondless water features can work in the front or backyard.  Where a pond may be required to be located in the backyard due to zoning laws to prevent children from drowning, etc.  Complete kits are available to make installation a breeze.

Formal Waterfalls

formal water feature

water feature spout

Formal water features are typically constructed with landscape block, pavers, or concrete.  Usually with straight lines and paths, walling, defined paving areas, and elegant drops.

Due to the complex plans and machinery needed, a formal water feature is best installed by a professional water feature contractor.

Formal designs benefit by needing very little maintenance.  As most designs store the water away from sunlight in a pondless water feature basin.  Not allowing algae to develop.

Size and style should match the landscape and building as much as possible.

You can get creative and mix formal and natural looking water features.  Also, don’t forget to add lighting.  It will really bring the water feature and surroundings to life when it’s dark.

Formal Ponds

formal pond waterfeature
Experiment with pond dye. The black color will help create more dramatic reflections

You can have a standalone waterfall spillways or add them in combination to a modern water feature pond.  Same design characteristics and materials can be used.

If you’re thinking about an above ground water feature.  The formal design might be the perfect fit.

Ponds will require filtration, aeration, and maintenance to keep the water clean and healthy.

Informal / Natural Ponds

natural pond water feature

Done right, a natural looking pond can fool the eye into believing it has been there forever.  No need for expensive vacations when you can walk outside to your backyard water feature and have instantly lower stress.

Ponds also bring wildlife.  Birds and ducks, frogs, deer, dragonflies, and you can also have fish!  Although a fish pond water feature will require deeper water levels, added filtration, aeration, and some additional maintenance if you live in an area with harsh winters.

Pond kits simplify the process and provide everything to make this a DIY build.


swimming pool water feature
Anthony Archer-Wills aka “The Pool Master” water feature on Animal Planer TV Show

Natural swimming pools are set to take over the old chlorinated toxic pools of the past.  While new in the United States these natural swimming pool water features have been installed for the last 20 years in other countries.   When installed and maintained correctly they provide safe and healthy swimming water.

Natural pools are best installed by professionals and can be very expensive.

If you still have a chlorinated pool, and are not ready to make the jump to go all-natural.  A spitter may be an easy way to some fun to your pool.

You can also add a waterfall or other types of spillways.


Indoor Water Features

indoor water feature buddha

indoor water feature wall

indoor wall water feature

wall mounted water feature

Indoor water features have a wide range of styles, colors, materials, and prices.   You can get a small tabletop water feature for your office for $30.00. All the way up to a large wall water feature in the $5000.00 range.

Take some time and browse through some indoor water features on Amazon.

Water Feature Design

Before embarking on designing a water feature it’s important to figure out the goal.  Some examples:

  • Reflections – Avoid plant growth that would block the main viewpoint, calm water surface
  • Dramatic waterfall – Should be able to see the waterfall from a distance, design should catch all the splashes to minimize water loss
  • Indoors – An indoor water feature needs to keep water quality and humidity in mind
  • Style – If you have a modern looking house, then a modern water feature style will be a natural fit
  • Proportion – Too small or too large of water feature will make it look out of place
  • Position – Some water features like ponds should be easily accessible, but away from falling debris such as leaves

Taking some time to design the water feature on paper will also help you estimate costs.  Don’t forget about stone, delivery charges, tools, etc.

You can get fancy and use online landscape design software like SketchUp. Although, if you are installing the water feature yourself.  Time will probably be better spent with a shovel and experimenting with different ideas by hand.

Building a Water Feature

Building a water feature is very feature specific.  Each design will be a slightly different installation process. Complete kits will usually come with instructions and all the parts you’ll need.

Here are some videos on common water feature builds: