Directions for Installing a Pondless Waterfall Without Buying an Expensive Kit

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

The flowing waters of a pondless waterfall can create soothing sounds for a relaxing atmosphere and offer respite for flitting friends, such as butterflies and hummingbirds. You don't have to plunk down serious cash to have backyard waterfalls in your outdoor areas. Creating a meandering babbling brook or a vivid and tall waterfall is a matter of understanding the materials and how they work best in your backyard.

Directions for Installing a Pondless Waterfall Without Buying an Expensive Kit
Image Credit: Ravindra Mayekar / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

How a Pondless Waterfall Works

The water that gathers in a pondless waterfall is continually recirculated. Water is pumped from a large reservoir that is level with the ground. It travels up and through a spillway that lets the water flow back down to the shallow reservoir and back up again. Put in properly, the recirculation system doesn't need much maintenance throughout the year. With the correct pump, filtration system and tubing and slope, the pondless waterfall can be created rather quickly and last for years.

Waterfall Directions

There are many pondless waterfall kits on the market that you can fit into almost any space you have outdoors. A pondless waterfall in a box offers all you need without having to make multiple trips to a hardware store, but they can also be a bit bland for larger projects. Building your own pondless waterfall is fairly straightforward and requires a bit of digging and smoothing to ensure the water can flow freely and at the level that offers the most desirable sound. Preformed pieces for a reservoir can be found at a home improvement store or nursery. Also, grab some wire mesh, shovels, a drill, rigid plastic tubing big enough for the water to travel through and rocks for the water to tumble over. Carve out space with an angle or build an angle with rocks for the water to travel. The filter tank reservoir can be sunk into the ground at the end of the water feature so that it is easy to access and provides the best power to the waterfall. Make sure the reservoir is big enough to hold a large amount of water to cover your pump completely so that it doesn't run the risk of running dry while you are away for a day or more.

Connect the tubing to the filter using connector's glue. The tubing should be at least 4 inches in diameter to get the water up the slope you've created. Cover the tubing and build rock walls by layering flat rocks on top of each other. This should keep the water running smoothly from the top of the waterfall to the bottom and back again.

Confront Pump Issues Early On

The pump is important. A large pump needs a larger reservoir and can push water longer and farther. If the water isn't flowing well, it could be you need a larger pump. At the same time, if the pump is too large, you could also run into issues. If you have a small waterfall by the front door, a small pump that uses 50 gallons or less will recirculate the water just fine. The higher the GPH (gallons per hour), the more water your reservoir will need to hold. Submersible pumps are unobtrusive, quiet and make the soothing sound of the water the main audible allure.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

View Work