How to Build an Outdoor Waterfall

Written by katherine kally
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You can build your own outdoor waterfall with treated lumber, pond liner and real or faux stones. Follow these step-by-step instructions to build a 6-foot-tall outdoor waterfall with a gradual slope into a reservoir made with a pre-formed pond liner. You can find the supplies to build an outdoor waterfall at your local home-improvement or landscape-supply store.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 6-by-4-inch treated wood planks
  • Saw, decking screws and screw driver
  • Pond liner and staple gun
  • Shovel
  • Pond form
  • Boulders, rocks and thinset
  • Waterfall pump

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  1. 1

    Build a treated wood frame for your outdoor waterfall's elevation. Decide how high you would like your waterfall to be, and cut two pieces of 6-by-4-inch treated wood planks to this measurement. You will also need two planks for each 2-foot slope of your waterfall. For example, if your waterfall is 6-feet high, you will need two 6-by-4-inch treated wood plank supports measuring six feet, four feet and two feet.

  2. 2

    Cut two 6-by-4-inch treated wood planks to fit the depth of your waterfall from the pond to the tallest supports. For a 6-foot high waterfall emptying into a pond or stream, measure and cut two 4-feet long planks. Lay the 4-foot-long planks on a flat surface. Attach a 6-foot-long plank to one end, a 4-foot-long plank to the centre and a 2-foot-long plank to the other end of each 4-foot-long plank. The attached boards should be placed vertically, or perpendicular to the 4-foot-long flat planks. These are the sides for your waterfall frame.

  3. 3

    Stand the two sides of your waterfall frame side by side. Cut ten 2-foot-long 6-by-4-inch treated wood planks to join your waterfall frame together and to create the width of your waterfall. Attach a 2-foot-long plank between the two side frames at the base and the top of the vertical boards.

  4. 4

    Attach the remaining 2-foot-long planks to join the different levels of the frame as it slopes along the sides. For example, you will have a 2-foot plank joining the top of the 6-foot vertical board to the top of the 4-foot vertical board and one that joins the 4-foot vertical plank to the top of the 2-foot plank on each side of your waterfall frame.

  5. 5

    Dig a hole to fit the pre-formed pond liner. Make sure to thoroughly excavate the bottom and sides of the hole. Place the liner in the hole. Stand the waterfall frame beside the pond liner so that the 2-foot-tall end will flow into the pond.

  6. 6

    Cover the waterfall frame with a heavy pond liner sheet. Create a curve or slight dip in the centre of the frame so the water will flow between the two sides. Staple the liner to the frame with a staple gun.

  7. 7

    Place your largest boulders or rocks around the bottom of your waterfall frame. Mix the thinset, and spread a layer between each of the stones. You can use faux landscaping rocks or real boulders, whichever you prefer. Spread thinset on top of the rocks, and add another layer. Continue to build up your rocks until the sides and back of your waterfall frame are covered. You can also attach small rocks down the centre of your waterfall.

  8. 8

    Install the outdoor waterfall pump according to the manufacturer's instructions. Fill the pond with water before turning on the pump.

Tips and warnings

  • Faux landscaping rocks are much easier to work with than real stones.
  • Wear protective clothing when working with thinset.

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