25 Small Ponds With Waterfalls Worth Adding to Your Yard

house with pond and waterfall



Tim Abramowitz / Getty Images

A small pond with a waterfall is a top option for adding a water feature to your yard or landscape. Ponds with waterfalls bring a multi-sensory experience to your outdoor space by creating reflections, movement, and sound. They are an ideal solution for smaller properties that don’t have space for a pool. A pond can become the focal point of a yard or outdoor room, regardless of size.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of ponds and waterfalls with these 25 stunning designs.

  • 01of 25

    Woodland Oasis

    Small waterfall with pond surrounded by woodlands near stone house

    @aquascape_inc / Instagram

    This stunning woodland property feels bucolic and dreamy with this custom-designed waterfall pond. Note the natural-looking plantings that give this an organic quality, as if it is naturally-occurring.

  • 02of 25

    Simple Build, Natural Look

    Small backyard pond with waterfall and plantings

    @jm8_art / Instagram

    This small pond and waterfall feature was built using pavers, natural stone and pondliner. The plantings look like they’ve been there for years, and include a mix of perennial ground covers tucked in among the stones, and specimen plants.

  • 03of 25

    Lush Koi Pond

    Woodland setting for a koi pond with small waterfall and plantings

    @aquascape_inc / Instagram

    With a small curving bridge and statuary, this water feature in a quiet setting has the feeling of a Japanese ornamental garden in its tasteful array of design elements. The waterfall is subtle here, with a small rambling brook kind of feeling, feeding into the gorgeous custom koi pond surrounded by lush woodland greenery.

  • 04of 25

    Pondless Waterfall

    Pondless waterfall with large boulders and gravel edges and plants

    @niceponds / Instagram

    The “pondless” waterfall feature is becoming more popular. It simply refers to a re-circulating waterfall or stream feature that does not include a pond. These systems are relatively easy to install and include a pump that keeps the water moving, unlike ponds which can sometimes grow algae. This design rehabbed a pond with small waterfall to a pondless water feature.

  • 05of 25

    Reflecting Seasonal Color

    Angular stone pond with waterfall with colorful Japanese maple trees around it

    @artoftheyard / Instagram

    This angular pond with grey stone edge and small waterfall is visually balanced by the soft organic shapes and brilliant seasonal colors of the Japanese maple trees surrounding it, allowing reflections of the bright reds and yellows in the water.

  • 06of 25

    Sculptural Setting

    Pond with small waterfall and plantings with stone wall and stairs back

    @donnadresen / Instagram

    This beautiful pond design includes a stone wall backdrop made with pavers, and stairs on either side inset into the landscape. There’s a small waterfall, statuary and attractive plantings including colorful perennials like bright purple Siberian irises, spireas, peonies and heucheras.

  • 07of 25

    Brimming with Pond-Friendly Plants

    Pond behind large flat stone patio edge full of water plants

    @_b.and.m_aquatics_ / Instagram

    This pond is full of juicy green plants including lilies and lettuces. Check with your local nursery to find out about pond-friendly plants, which may also include water poppies, Siberian iris, cat tails, water mint and water hyacinths. Aquatic plants are necessary for the health of a pond’s ecosystem, depriving algae of its food source and helping keep pond water clean.

  • 08of 25

    Waterfall by Night

    Night scene of waterfall with rocks, plants and atmospheric lighting

    @aquascape_inc / Instagram

    If you enjoy spending time in your yard after dark, why not add some lighting to your waterfall? The combination of lighting and moving water is unbeatable for creating a soothing yet thrilling atmosphere.

  • 09of 25

    Rehabbing a Concrete Pond

    Rectangular koi pond with natural rock waterfall

    @niceponds / Instagram

    This project in the UK refurbished and rehabbed an old concrete pond into a charming koi pond with a waterfall feature. The cast iron pump for circulating the pond water was removed and reinstalled, and the waterfall structure with natural looking boulders was added.

  • 10of 25

    Mossy Rock Waterfall

    Small pond with waterfall flowing over moss covered rocks

    Philippe Gerber / Getty Images

    Many of us who liked exploring creeks as children learned that mossy rocks were slippery. Moss forms over time in suitable conditions (like moisture and shade) and creates a charming rustic landscape feature; this waterfall trickles gently over the lush green growth.

  • 11of 25

    Koi Pond Vista

    Koi pond with low waterfall surrounded by rocks with pink painted daisies in foreground

    @artoftheyard / Instagram

    The simple ground level layout of this koi pond with small waterfall allows for maximum visibility of other parts of the yard. The planting of pink painted daisies creates a dramatic focal point in the foreground

  • 12of 25

    Japanese Style

    Japanese style koi pond with waterfall moss covered rocks holding stone temple sculptures

    paulacobleigh / Getty Images

    This koi pond in Portland, Oregon features a simple and stunning Japanese style design. The moss-covered rocks and stone statuary are decorative and organic. The plantings of boxwood, ferns and creeping ground covers near the waterfall emphasize the natural forest surroundings.

  • 13of 25

    Working with the Landscape

    Waterfall built around large boulders and gravel with natural plantings in background

    @artoftheyard / Instagram

    This waterfall feature utilizes a stunning landscape setting with large boulders and native plantings, making the most of an already gorgeous location and enhancing the view.

  • 14of 25

    Evergreens for Structure

    Waterfall and pond next to a grey house with evergreen trees in background and statuary around the pond

    @aquascape_inc / Instagram

    This pond and waterfall setting has lush evergreens, natural stones in a variety of shapes and some interesting and unique statuary for a personal touch. The mature trees give a sense of structure and longevity to the design.

  • 15of 25

    Shady Seating Area

    Stone patio next to pond with small waterfall, shade trees and tropical plants

    @_b.and.m_aquatics_ / Instagram

    A waterfall offers a relaxing and cooling focal point to this shady abode, while plants like the elephant ears provide a tropical feel. Note the open patio space that allows for different furniture arrangements, like pond-side dining or just a quite seat for reading.

  • 16of 25

    Simple Design Elements

    pond with walkway and bistro seating

    Built by SJC LANDSCAPES / Photo by @harmony_homestead_sanctuary / Instagram

    This well-constructed pond and waterfall needs very little ornamentation to create a classic and simple yet beautiful vista. A wraparound pathway lined with tropical plantings in sight of a metal dining set make for a charming setting to relax on a hot summer day.

  • 17of 25

    Tiered Basins

    Tiered fountain with small waterfall effect made of stone and concrete with plants in back

    Tomsmith585 / Getty Images

    This waterfall feature makes great use of a small space for maximum effect. The light color of the stones and concrete give the illusion of a larger space, and succulent plantings stay green all season in this sunny spot.

  • 18of 25

    Tropical Color and Texture

    Waterfall over koi pond with colorful tropical plants

    LanaCanada / Getty Images

    This koi pond has a pleasing border of colorful tropical plantings, with a mix of shapes and textures. The large fern leaves surrounding the waterfall create a sort of hidden oasis look. Since many tropical plants do well in high humidity, planting them near a pond helps keep them healthy and happy.

  • 19of 25

    Defining a Large Space

    Lush green yard with wooden gazebo in background and waterfall surrounded by plantings

    FOTOGRAPHIA INC. / Getty Images

    With a large backyard, choosing structures and larger designs can help make the most of space. The gazebo provides a comfortable seating area, while this sprawling water feature with gradated waterfall and beautiful plantings form a stunning centerpiece for a yard that beckons guests to walk and take in all there is to see.

  • 20of 25

    Annuals for Color and Flexibility

    Small backyard pond with waterfall and colorful annuals and elephant ears

    @aquascape_inc / Instagram

    Planting annuals around your waterfall feature is a great way to give it a fresh and different look every season. The long-blooming annuals provide a long season of color, also, and are suitable for shady gardens. The elephant ears can be dug up and preserved over the winter to replant in spring if they’re not hardy in your growing zone.

  • 21of 25

    Golden Light

    Pondless waterfall at dusk with golden under lights

    @artoftheyard / Instagram

    Though many choose brightly colored lights for their water features, this pondless waterfall features a very natural looking golden light. Shown here at dusk, it almost looks like there is fire beneath the water.

  • 22of 25

    Dramatic Drop

    Koi pond with waterfall surrounded by woodland plantings

    @_b.and.m_aquatics_ / Instagram

    This small waterfall goes big on drama with a cascading fall of water at least six feet high that continuously rejuvenates and recirculates the water in this koi pond. The simple but compelling design features natural rocks bordering the pond and natural woodland plantings.

  • 23of 25

    Multiple Waterfalls

    Large water feature in construction phase with several small waterfalls

    @niceponds / Instagram

    This project in progress features more than thirty feet of small pondless waterfalls across a large area, all feeding into the same body of water. It is an excellent use of a large space to create a beautiful yet simple water feature.

  • 24of 25

    Shady Pond

    Small pond with trickling waterfall and ferns

    Elmar Langle / Getty Images

    One almost expects to see a satyr peeking from behind these lush ferns surrounding this small but dramatic pond with waterfall. The water plants and creeping ground covers on the edges give this pond the feel of an oasis tucked into the woodland landscape, a bucolic design making good use of the shady conditions.

  • 25of 25

    Mix of Shapes and Textures

    Waterfall and pond with clumps of black eyed Susans and a filigree metal chair

    @artoftheyard / Instagram

    This stone structure has a variety of shapes and textures to create an intriguing waterfall feature. The flat and round rocks balance each other, and the plantings, including seasonal grasses and perennials like black-eyed Susans, have a variety of textures.

Backyard Pond and Waterfall Considerations

  • Location: Choose a spot that will be a nearby focal point and is convenient to access. Also think about what’s underneath, as in soil.
  • Materials: Liner materials, along with surrounding natural and manmade features. 
  • Size: Visit botanical gardens and water garden dealers for ideas. Think about the shape and setting, relation to plants, and scale within your own yard.
  • Style: Design a pond that complements the architectural style of your home and reflects your region’s landscape. Formal or informal? Possibilities include: Japanese garden ponds, wildlife or naturalistic ponds, modern, and old-fashioned or cottage-style.
  • Pump system: This recirculates the water for your fall, fountain, or stream. Make sure you select one large and powerful enough to operate a waterfall or feature.
  • Landscaping: In addition to the surrounding landscape, a pond opens up the opportunity to explore plants that are suitable for a water garden. Depending where you live, choices might include tropical water lilies, papyrus, ferns, and hostas.
  • Hardscape and ornaments: Ideally, your choice of hardscape will make your pond blend into the landscape rather than look as if it mistakenly plopped into your yard. Edging and surrounding hardscape might be ceramic tile, concrete, or stones. Ornaments include objects like bridges or statuary like frogs kissing under umbrellas or spitting fish.
  • Lighting: Waterproof LED fixtures allow you to gaze at your pond after hours and extend your viewing pleasure. Spotlights might emphasize the waterfall, a graceful ornamental grass, or a whimsical statue. Let an aquatic electrician handle the job. 
  • Safety: Consider the ages of any children who might visit your yard and if you need an enclosure for safety.
  • Local codes: Like many outdoor projects, check with your local planning department to make sure you comply with building codes. These can vary from maximum pond depths to fencing.