Instead of buying an expensive kit to build a pondless waterfall, consider using less expensive but still quite effective materials found at a local hardware store. Save hundreds of dollars by replacing materials specifically marketed to pond owners with more everyday items.
A pondless waterfall still needs a container for the water to fall into. A large Rubbermaid or plastic tub is a good choice. This must be covered with a sturdy wire mesh to keep out debris. Concrete blocks can help hold it down and provide support for the pump and decorative rocks that will go on top.
You'll need a submersible waterfall pump and hoses to carry the water from the container up to the top of the waterfall. The structure itself should be made out of a selection of different-size rocks and expanding black pond foam. You'll also need a shovel to dig the water reservoir hole.
Construct the Pondless Waterfall
Dig a hole in the ground to fit the plastic tub, with 3 to 4 inches sticking out over the surface of the ground. Place the tub in the ground and backfill with dirt to give it a firm foundation. Place large rocks or cement cinder blocks into the container until they reach the top. Leave a space where you can install the submersible waterfall pump upright and without obstruction. Attach the water outlet hose to the pump and set it in place.
Build the waterfall structure by piling rocks in an attractive and natural-looking arrangement and filling the spaces between with black pond foam. Lay the pump hose up the side of the waterfall structure where it will later be hidden by rocks. Angle the top of the hose horizontally so it sprays water toward the pond container box. Attach flat or larger rocks over the black pond foam so the water cascades as you wish. Be sure all the water makes it to the container sunk into the ground.
Cover the entire opening of the waterfall reservoir with sturdy wire mesh to prevent debris and small rocks from falling through.
Landscaping Touches for a More Realistic Look
Surround the waterfall container with large or flat stones to make it look like the natural end of a watercourse. Create a smooth transition from the stones of the waterfall structure to those on the ground. Pour clean pebbles or small rocks between the larger rocks and over the wire mesh to hide it completely. When the water splashes down the waterfall, it will run between the rocks into the container hidden below.
Add moisture-loving plants around the waterfall for a beautiful finish. Creeping plants such as baby tears and mosses can grow right over the edges of the rocks. Just be sure to keep the hidden surface of the container free from plants so the water falls through easily.