Popular Water Features for the Backyard

Photo of Backyard Water Feature

Backyard Water Features

Water features used to be seen as an element for luxury landscapes. With people spending more time outdoors nowadays, an element of tranquility is more in demand. In some designs, the water feature is the focus and other elements are added to make it stand out more. Adding in a water feature does not necessarily mean that you’ll use more. Most recycle what is already there.

Water Towers

Water towers are separately standing pieces that each have holes or slits for water to run down the exterior. This is mostly seen with stainless steel, wood and plastic options to prevent corrosion and weakening of the items. It is ideal to have towers of varying heights with lighting along the outside of the feature area to enhance the look of the design after dark. The varying heights add dimension and different focal points to the feature.

Container Fountains

Container fountains can take on several shapes and sizes. The idea is to include water plants within the design to make the exterior design stand out more. It also helps to cover up any tubing or liners used from being seen by the naked eye.

One of the plusses of container fountains is that they can be multi-dimensional. Using some risers and pavers, you can make steps, so-to-speak with varying sizes to give the feature a more dynamic appeal in your landscape design. It will also give the water more surfaces to fall over on the way down.

Contained Streams

In larger backyard spaces, a contained stream is an ideal water feature to build. Most designs lead to a small pond or spill area where Koi fish can be kept. A contained stream consists of small trenches with driftwood, moss and rocks with a steady flow of water. Water plants fit in well to this type of design as well.

What you will want to do is start with a mound of dirt to start building a bit of a hill with natural rocks. Some rebar is going to be needed for structure development too. Dig the trench or trenches in the direction you wish them to flow in and add in the water supply. Use a thin rolled liner in the trench to keep it a defined and contained flow. Add in moss and water plants in staggering patterns so that they just look natural in the design. After this step, complete the design by placing rocks of different shapes and sizes along the stream path while mixing in some pieces of drift wood to continue with the natural looking theme.


With northern New Jersey being an area of ample rainfall, a waterscape is an ideal solution for a backyard. This landscaping option transforms a good portion of the space into a natural looking waterfall and spill pool. You’ll need some mortar, rebar, soil and natural stone along with a good sized pool container. This is a big project and will likely require a couple of weekends. It is meant to be the main element in a backyard space.

The ideal placement of the waterscape is near a tree toward the back of a space. The feature will come upward toward the house and often has a small pool where fish and water plants can be added. Several contained streams and a walking path across it with rocks is ideal too. Regular game fish such as Bluegill, Crappie and Bass are options for this setup rather than a typical Koi fish. The children can have fun fishing in their own back yard.

Architectural Waterfalls

Architectural elements such as slabs of granite or marble on a platform are interesting elements to consider. You could also include a tall structure with protruding pieces or large holes for the water to freely fall throughout the piece work well. Holes can be made throughout the entire piece for water to enter at several points. The idea with an architectural waterfall is to get creative and have a unique focal point that no other backyard space has.

Water features are not as hard to complete as they used to be. There are a variety of new technologies and techniques to make them more functional and customizable. The features also use less water and electricity as they used to. The idea is to make an outdoor space tranquil, inviting and looking natural.

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