How to Build a Natural Waterfall

Written by barbara freeman
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How to Build a Natural Waterfall
Build a natural waterfall for your pond. (Waterfall image by Colin McKinney from

Building a natural waterfall works best if you have a few things that are not so natural. For instance you will need a pump to move the water up to the waterfall area and a weir, that is a plastic box with openings to collect the water and send it back down over the waterfall to the pond. You will also need a liner to keep the waterfall soil from eroding. Add to this your natural rocks and gravel, and you will have a waterfall that your family and friends will love.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pump
  • Tubing
  • Weir
  • Waterfall liner
  • Flat rocks
  • Round rocks
  • Gravel

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  1. 1

    Decide how many levels you would like your waterfall to have. Dig each level slightly angled forward. Shape each level so that the back is about 5 to 10 inches higher than the front. (If you are making more than one level, place each level back far enough so that the water will fall easily from one level to the next.

    How to Build a Natural Waterfall
    Dig slightly slanted levels for the waterfall. (shovel image by Gudellaphoto from
  2. 2

    Place your weir box where you want the waterfall to begin flowing on your first level. Place the pump into your pond and connect a tube from the pump to the back of the weir, to carry the water up to the waterfall. Spread the rubber waterfall liner around the weir box and then cover the entire area with the liner. Lay flat stones around the perimeter of the waterfall liner to hold it steady.

  3. 3

    Place flat rocks on the liner in front of the weir as a foundation then add more thin flat rocks to make tiers (do not block the front of the box where the water will be flowing out). Cover the rest of the liner with rocks, then fill in any holes with gravel, completing the first level of the waterfall.

    How to Build a Natural Waterfall
    Build your waterfall with flat rocks. (Stack of Stones image by Gary Chorpenning from
  4. 4

    Test run the pump, making sure water is flowing into the weir, over the flat rocks and out into the pond. Turn off the pump when the test is complete. (If you have more than one level, add liner and rocks to each, and then test each level using the pump.)

    How to Build a Natural Waterfall
    Test run the pump and weir for each level. (small forest cascade image by Michael Shake from
  5. 5

    Place large flat rocks on the ground level of the pond. Add more large thin rocks to give the waterfall a bigger splash at the bottom, then add gravel to fill any holes. Test run the pump again and add rocks beneath the back of the weir if the water it is not flowing down the waterfall quickly enough.

    How to Build a Natural Waterfall
    Add large rocks for a big splash at the pond level. (little waterfall image by blaine stiger from

Tips and warnings

  • You can save energy with a solar pump.
  • If your waterfall is not set forward at a slight angle, the water could flow behind the rocks, and in just a few hours this could drain your pond dry .

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