How To Build A Pond Waterfall For Your Feature In Charlotte, NC

Want to know how the pros build backyard waterfalls for ponds? Discover how to build a pond waterfall so you can know how to upgrade your backyard retreat!

Turn Your Backyard Into An Oasis: Building A Pond Waterfall In Charlotte, NC

The end result of following the how to build a pond waterfall steps

Have you ever dreamed of having a serene waterfall in your backyard? Are you curious about how to create one yourself?

In this post, you’ll learn how to build a pond waterfall in your Charlotte, NC, backyard (at least how the pros do it).

By the end, you’ll be ready for a pond construction project that will transform your outdoor space into a peaceful retreat with the soothing sounds of flowing water.

Overview Of How To Build A Pond Waterfall

Creating a pond waterfall in your own backyard can be a rewarding project that transforms your outdoor space into a tranquil retreat. Whether you’re looking for the soothing sounds of running water or a beautiful focal point, here’s a quick summary of the steps involved in how to build a pond waterfall:

  1. Plan Your Pond and Waterfall: Decide on the size, shape, and location of your pond and waterfall. Consider factors like the amount of space available, your budget, and your design preferences.
  2. Gather Tools and Materials: You’ll need various tools like a shovel, garden hose, and utility knife, as well as materials such as a pond liner, waterfall pump, rocks, and gravel.
  3. Excavate the Pond and Waterfall Area: Dig the pond and create the waterfall steps. Ensure the excavation is even and properly shaped.
  4. Install the Liner and Underlayment: Lay down the underlayment to protect the liner from damage, and then install the pond liner to keep the water contained.
  5. Set Up the Pump and Tubing: Properly install the waterfall pump and tubing to ensure effective water flow.
  6. Add Rocks and Gravel: Build the waterfall structure using large stones and fill gaps with smaller stones and gravel.
  7. Test and Seal the Waterfall: Check for leaks using a garden hose and seal any gaps to prevent water loss.
  8. Install Additional Features: Enhance your waterfall with lighting, aquatic plants, and decorative elements.
  9. Fill the Pond and Enjoy: Once everything is set, fill the pond with water and enjoy your new backyard oasis.

Can You Build A Pond Waterfall In Your Backyard?

Before starting your project, consider these key factors to ensure your pond waterfall fits perfectly into your backyard landscape:

  • Space: Assess the available space in your backyard. Make sure there is enough room for the pond and waterfall components without overcrowding your yard.
  • Design Preferences: Choose a waterfall design that matches your style, whether it’s a cascading waterfall, a tiered waterfall, or a single-drop waterfall.
  • Budget: Determine your budget for the project. Factor in costs for materials, tools, and any professional assistance if needed.
  • Skill Level: Evaluate your own skill level. The process for how to build a pond waterfall can be complex, so decide if you’re comfortable with a DIY approach or if you should hire a professional for certain tasks.

Planning And Preparation For Backyard Waterfalls

Tools And Materials Needed

To build a pond waterfall, you’ll need a variety of tools and materials. Here’s a comprehensive list:

  • Tools: Gloves, shovel, wheelbarrow, utility knife, mallet, level, garden hose.
  • Materials: EPDM pond liner, underlayment, waterfall pump, various-sized rocks, gravel, tubing, container for tubing, waterfall sealant foam, basin, basin lid.
  • DIY Waterfall Kit Recommendation: Consider using a DIY waterfall kit, such as those offered by Aquascape, to simplify the process.

Types Of Ponds

Choosing the right type of pond is crucial for your backyard pond and waterfall. Here are two popular options:

Ecosystem Ponds rely on natural processes, including plants and fish, to maintain balance. These ponds are eco-friendly, low-maintenance, and blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. They support aquatic life, creating a healthy environment for fish and plants.

Preformed Ponds are made from rigid plastic, making them easier to install. These ponds are decorative and ideal for smaller areas. Their rigid structure simplifies the installation process, saving time and effort.

Optional: Building A Stream

If you have additional space and want to enhance your water feature, consider building a stream that connects to your pond. A stream adds a dynamic element to your backyard, providing more water movement and creating a picturesque scene.

Design And Layout

Decide On The Waterfall Design

Choosing the right waterfall design is key to creating a beautiful and functional water feature. Here are some popular designs:

Cascading Waterfalls

Cascading waterfalls feature multiple tiers that descend down a slope. This design creates a natural, flowing look that enhances the overall aesthetic of your backyard.

Tiered Waterfalls

Tiered waterfalls consist of multiple drops at varying heights. These waterfalls add depth and interest to your pond, creating a visually striking feature.

Single-Drop Waterfalls

A single-drop waterfall involves one large drop into the pond. This design provides a dramatic effect and is perfect for larger ponds or spaces where a bold statement is desired.

How To Build A Pond Waterfall

Step 1: Build Your Pond

The first step in creating a beautiful pond waterfall is to build your pond. Here’s how to get started:

Planning: Determine the size, shape, and location of your pond. Consider the overall design of your backyard landscape and how the pond will fit into it. Ensure the pond receives some afternoon sun for healthy plant growth.

Excavation: Once you’ve decided on the location, it’s time to dig. Mark the outline of your pond with spray paint and start digging the hole. Make sure the bottom is level and that the sides are gently sloped to prevent the soil from collapsing.

Pond Liner: After digging, install a pond liner to keep the water in place. EPDM liners are flexible and durable, making them a popular choice. Ensure the liner is large enough to cover the entire pond and extend beyond the edges.

Discover the best pond liner that any pro contractor should use for backyard koi ponds.

Step 2: Build Top Reservoir Area

The top reservoir is essential for a smooth water flow. Here’s how to create it:

  • Measurement: Measure the height difference from the bottom of the pond to the top of the waterfall. Multiply this by two and add an extra foot to determine the size of the reservoir area.
  • Excavation: Dig out the reservoir area according to your measurements. Ensure the surface is even to support the waterfall structure. This space will house the waterfall pump and filter.
  • Installation: Place the pump and tubing in the reservoir. Proper installation is crucial for the system to work effectively. Make sure all components are securely installed to avoid future issues.

Step 3: Create Waterfall Steps And Drop

Designing the waterfall steps and drop will give your pond a natural look:

  • Excavation: Dig out steps for the waterfall or use leftover dirt to build them up. The steps should be angled downward to ensure a smooth water flow.
  • Leveling: Use a level to check that each step is even. This will help the water cascade smoothly from one step to the next.

Bonus – Hidden Waterfalls: Consider creating hidden waterfalls by arranging the rocks to guide the water in unexpected ways. This can add an element of surprise and enhance the beauty of your water feature.

Step 4: Add Waterfall Pump And Tubing

Adding the pump and tubing is a critical step:

  • Installation: Place the waterfall pump in the reservoir and connect the tubing. Ensure the pump is installed properly to maintain a consistent water flow.
  • Leak Check: Before finalizing the setup, check for leaks. Run water through the system using a garden hose to ensure everything is sealed correctly. This step can save you from potential water loss and maintenance issues later.

Step 5: Lay Underlayment And Liner

To protect your pond liner and ensure longevity:

  • Underlayment: Lay down an underlayment material to shield the liner from sharp objects and prevent punctures. This layer acts as a cushion, safeguarding the liner from rocks and roots.
  • Liner Installation: Carefully place the pond liner over the underlayment. Make sure it covers the entire area without gaps. Overlapping pieces slightly can prevent leaks. A flexible liner like EPDM rubber liner is ideal for this purpose.

Step 6: Add Rocks And Gravel

Adding rocks and gravel helps create a natural look:

  • Structure: Build the waterfall structure using large stones. Arrange them in a staircase pattern to form the steps of the waterfall.
  • Aesthetics: Fill gaps between the larger stones with smaller stones and gravel. This not only enhances the appearance but also helps secure the structure. Use flatter rocks for the waterfall drop to ensure a smooth water flow.

Step 7: Test Your Waterfall

Before finalizing everything, test your waterfall to ensure it works correctly:

  • Water Flow Check: Use a garden hose to simulate water flow over the waterfall. This helps you identify and fix any issues with the arrangement of rocks or gaps.
  • Adjustments: Make necessary adjustments to the rocks to ensure a smooth flow and eliminate any potential leaks.

Step 8: Seal Your Waterfall

Sealing your waterfall is crucial to prevent water loss:

  • Waterproofing: Use an aquatic foam sealant to waterproof the gaps between rocks. This prevents leaks and protects against algae growth.
  • Protection: Sealing also helps protect the structure from roots and burrowing animals that could damage the liner.

Step 9: Install Additions

Enhance your pond waterfall with additional features:

  • Lighting: Install lighting around or within the pond for a beautiful night-time effect. Floating lights or LED lights can highlight the water feature.
  • Decorative Elements: Add aquatic plants, driftwood, or statues to personalize your pond and make it more visually appealing.

Here’s the cost to add lighting to your backyard pond.

Step 10: Turn On the Water And Check For Leaks

Finally, turn on the water and ensure everything is working perfectly:

  • Final Check: Fill the pond with water and check for any leaks. Using pond-safe dye can help you spot and fix any issues quickly.
  • Enjoy: Once everything is set, enjoy your new pond waterfall and the tranquil atmosphere it brings to your backyard.

Want a more in-depth look at how to build the pond part of a pond waterfall?

Enhancements And Upgrades

Enhancing your pond waterfall can elevate your backyard pond, making it a standout feature in your Charlotte, NC, yard.

Consider adding multi-level ponds to create depth and complexity, allowing water to flow from one level to another, resulting in a series of small waterfalls that enhance the aesthetic and sound of the water feature.

Underwater lighting can transform your pond at night, making it look absolutely beautiful. LED lights, which are energy-efficient, can be strategically placed around the edges of the pond or within the waterfall structure to highlight the flowing water.

Adding a stream that flows into your pond can create a dynamic and natural look, making your backyard feel like a serene, flowing landscape. This addition not only enhances the visual appeal but also provides a more immersive experience with running water.

Do you want to know the cost of building a koi pond in your Charlotte backyard?

Maintenance And Upkeep

Keeping your pond waterfall in top condition requires regular maintenance.

Regular cleaning is essential to remove debris, such as leaves and twigs, from the pond. This prevents clogging and ensures smooth water flow. Using a skimmer can be very helpful for this task.

Winterizing your pond is also important, especially in colder climates. This includes disconnecting and storing the pump, adding a pond heater to keep a small area from freezing, and covering the pond with a net to keep out debris.

Monitoring water quality is crucial to prevent algae growth. Use beneficial bacteria and enzymes to maintain a healthy balance and regularly check the water’s pH level and clarity.

Proper water quality management ensures a healthy environment for aquatic plants and fish.


Addressing common issues promptly can prevent more significant problems down the line.

If you notice a drop in the water level, check for leaks in the liner or around the waterfall structure. Using pond-safe dye can help identify the source of the leak, and sealing any gaps with aquatic foam sealant can resolve the issue.

Pump failures can disrupt the functionality of your pond waterfall. Ensure the pump is running properly by checking for clogs or electrical issues. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the pump and inspecting connections, can prevent most pump-related problems.

Algae growth can be controlled by ensuring proper filtration and adding aquatic plants to absorb excess nutrients. Avoid overfeeding fish, as this can contribute to algae growth.

Fall In Love With Your Backyard With Charlotte Backyard Ponds

When it comes to creating the perfect pond waterfall in your backyard, Charlotte Backyard Ponds has the expertise and experience to bring your vision to life. Our team can handle every aspect of pond construction, ensuring a seamless and stress-free process.

Ready to transform your outdoor space into a tranquil oasis? Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call to start planning your dream backyard pond waterfall.