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Water Feature Ideas: 11 Ways To Add Water To Any Backyard Water Feature Ideas: 11 Ways To Add Water To Any Backyard

Interior Design

Water Feature Ideas: 11 Ways To Add Water To Any Backyard

Written by: Grace Wilson

Looking to add water to your backyard? Discover 11 stunning water feature ideas that will transform your outdoor space. From fountains to ponds, our interior design experts have got you covered.

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Table of Contents


When it comes to creating a stunning and inviting backyard, incorporating water features can make all the difference. The sound of water trickling, the shimmering reflections, and the calming effect it brings can transform any outdoor space into a serene oasis. Whether you have a small courtyard or a sprawling garden, there are numerous water feature ideas to choose from that can add a touch of elegance and tranquility to your backyard.

In this article, we will explore 11 different ways to incorporate water into your backyard. From flowing waterfalls to serene ponds, from elegant fountains to unique birdbaths, each water feature has its own charm and can create a focal point that will elevate the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space. So, let’s dive in and explore the wonderful world of water features!

Subtitle 1: Waterfall features

One of the most captivating water features you can add to your backyard is a stunning waterfall. The gentle cascade of water creates a soothing ambiance and adds a touch of drama to the landscape. With various sizes and designs available, you can choose a waterfall that fits the scale of your outdoor space.

There are different types of waterfall features to consider. A rock waterfall mimics the look of a natural waterfall, with water cascading over irregularly shaped rocks. This design creates a more organic and rustic feel. On the other hand, a sleek, modern waterfall made of stainless steel or glass adds a contemporary touch to your backyard.

When planning to install a waterfall, consider the location and the surrounding landscape. Ideally, it should be placed near a gathering area like a patio or deck, where you and your guests can relax and enjoy the serene sounds of flowing water. You can also combine your waterfall feature with a pond or a small pool to enhance the visual appeal.

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity of your waterfall feature. Regularly clean the rocks or surfaces to remove any debris or algae buildup. It’s also important to check the water levels and monitor the system to keep it running efficiently.

Adding lighting to your waterfall feature can create a magical effect, especially at night. Strategically placed LED lights can illuminate the water, highlighting its movement and creating a captivating focal point in your garden.

Whether you choose a small, trickling waterfall or a grand, multi-tiered design, incorporating a waterfall feature in your backyard will certainly make a dramatic impact and turn your outdoor space into a tranquil retreat.

Subtitle 2: Pond ideas

A pond is a timeless and classic water feature that can bring a sense of serenity and beauty to any backyard. Whether you opt for a small, tranquil pond or a larger, more elaborate one, the presence of water adds a natural element and creates a soothing atmosphere.

When designing a pond, consider the size and shape that will work best in your outdoor space. A round or oval shape tends to be more traditional, while a free-form or kidney-shaped pond can provide a more organic and natural look. Incorporate rocks and stones around the perimeter of the pond to mimic the edge of a natural water body.

Adding aquatic plants, such as water lilies and lotus flowers, not only enhances the visual appeal of the pond but also helps to maintain a healthy ecosystem. These plants provide shade, oxygenate the water, and offer a habitat for fish and other wildlife. Strike a balance between plants and open water to create a harmonious and balanced environment.

Consider including a water feature within your pond, such as a small fountain or a bubbling rock. These additions not only create visual interest but also help to aerate the water and prevent stagnant conditions. The sound of running water adds a soothing element to the overall ambiance of your backyard.

When it comes to maintaining a pond, regular cleaning and upkeep are essential. Remove fallen leaves, debris, and excess algae to keep the water clear and healthy. Install a filtration system to ensure proper circulation and minimize maintenance requirements.

For an added touch of enchantment, consider incorporating koi fish or other water-dwelling creatures into your pond. These colorful and graceful fish add movement and life to the water, creating a mesmerizing focal point. However, make sure to provide adequate shelter and protection for them to thrive.

With its mesmerizing beauty and ability to attract wildlife, a pond is a captivating water feature that can transform any backyard into a peaceful oasis. Allow the soothing sounds and graceful presence of water to transport you to a tranquil world right at your doorstep.

Subtitle 3: Fountain designs

A fountain is a classic and elegant way to incorporate water into your backyard. With its enchanting display of water movement and soothing sound, a fountain can become a focal point that adds charm and sophistication to any outdoor space.

When it comes to choosing a fountain design, the options are endless. From traditional tiered fountains to modern abstract sculptures, there is a style to suit every taste and preference. Consider the overall aesthetic of your backyard and select a fountain that complements the existing landscaping and architecture.

For a more formal and refined look, a tiered fountain with multiple levels can create a sense of grandeur. The cascading water flows from one tier to another, creating a mesmerizing visual display. These types of fountains are often made of stone or concrete, providing durability and longevity.

If you prefer a contemporary and minimalist style, opt for a sleek and sculptural fountain made of materials like stainless steel or glass. These designs exude a sense of sophistication and can become an art piece in your outdoor space. The water may flow from a single spout or emerge from various angles, depending on the design.

Don’t forget about the importance of lighting when it comes to showcasing your fountain. Install underwater LED lights or spotlights to illuminate the water as it dances and sparkles. This creates a beautiful and magical ambiance, especially during evening gatherings or parties.

Maintenance of a fountain is relatively simple compared to other water features. Regularly check the water levels and refill if necessary. Clean the fountain periodically by removing debris and algae buildup. It’s also important to winterize the fountain in colder climates to avoid freezing and potential damage.

Whether you choose a classical or contemporary design, a fountain has the ability to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your outdoor space. Allow the gentle flow and tranquil sound of water to create a peaceful environment that invites relaxation and serenity.

Subtitle 4: Birdbaths and water feeders

Birdbaths and water feeders not only provide a source of water for our feathered friends but also add a charming and interactive element to your backyard. Watching birds frolic and bathe in the water can bring joy and a sense of connection with nature.

When choosing a birdbath, consider the size and depth that will accommodate different bird species. Opt for a shallow basin with a gradual slope or textured surface, allowing birds to easily access the water and bathe. Place the birdbath in a location that offers both safety and visibility, such as near a tree or bush where birds can quickly seek cover if needed.

There are various designs of birdbaths available, ranging from classic pedestal styles to more whimsical and decorative options. Choose one that complements the overall aesthetic of your backyard while still providing functionality for the birds. Stone, ceramic, or concrete birdbaths are popular choices due to their durability and ability to withstand outdoor elements.

In addition to birdbaths, adding water feeders can also attract birds to your backyard. These feeders include small trays or dishes filled with water, allowing birds to drink and bathe. Consider incorporating multiple feeders throughout your backyard to create a water source that is easily accessible for different birds.

Maintaining a birdbath and water feeder is important to ensure clean and safe water for the birds. Regularly clean and change the water to prevent the buildup of bacteria and algae. Scrub the birdbath with a non-toxic cleaning solution to remove any residue or dirt.

Enhance the bird-watching experience by creating a welcoming environment. Planting shrubs and trees near the birdbath provides perches for the birds to rest and observe their surroundings. Adding birdhouses, nesting materials, and bird feeders nearby can also attract a wider variety of bird species to your backyard.

Birdbaths and water feeders not only serve as a water source for birds but also offer a delightful and interactive experience for you as a backyard observer. Enjoy the beauty of nature as birds flock to your backyard, adding their melodious songs and vibrant presence to your outdoor space.

Subtitle 5: Water spouts and sprayers

Water spouts and sprayers are unique and playful water features that can add a touch of whimsy and excitement to your backyard. These features create an element of surprise and can engage both children and adults in interactive water play.

A water spout is a decorative fixture that emits a steady stream of water into a designated area. It can be installed in a pool, a pond, or a standalone feature. Water spouts come in various designs, such as statues, animals, or abstract shapes, and can be made of materials like brass, copper, or stone.

Water sprayers, on the other hand, are typically designed to shoot water into the air, creating arcs, patterns, or even mist. They can be installed in the ground or mounted on walls or structures. Water sprayers are a great addition to outdoor play areas or as a cooling feature during hot summer days.

When incorporating water spouts or sprayers into your backyard, consider the location and purpose of the feature. If you have a pool or a pond, a strategically placed water spout can create a dramatic focal point and add movement to the water. Alternatively, a water sprayer near a patio or grassy area can provide a fun and refreshing play experience for kids and adults alike.

Proper installation and maintenance ensure the longevity and functionality of water spouts and sprayers. Consult with a professional to ensure the plumbing, water pressure, and drainage systems are properly designed and installed. Regularly check for any leaks or clogs and perform necessary repairs to keep the water feature running smoothly.

Enhance the visual impact of water spouts and sprayers by incorporating lighting elements. Underwater LED lights or spotlights can illuminate the water as it shoots out, creating a mesmerizing and magical effect, especially during nighttime gatherings or parties.

Integrating water spouts and sprayers into your backyard can turn your outdoor space into a joyful and interactive playground. Whether it’s the delight of playing in the water or the simple enjoyment of watching the water dance and spray, these features will surely bring endless fun and entertainment to your backyard.

Subtitle 6: Water walls and curtains

Water walls and curtains are stunning and contemporary water features that can add a sleek and modern touch to your backyard. These features create a visual statement, with water gracefully flowing down a vertical surface, creating a mesmerizing display.

A water wall typically consists of a flat or slightly angled panel made of materials like glass, stainless steel, or stone. Water is pumped to the top of the panel and cascades down, creating a continuous sheet of water. The sleek design and soothing sound of the water make a water wall a focal point that adds a sense of elegance and tranquility to any outdoor space.

Water curtains, on the other hand, consist of multiple individual streams of water that flow vertically, resembling a cascading curtain. These features can be installed along walls, fences, or even freestanding structures. The curtain-like effect created by the falling water adds a dynamic and visually captivating element to your backyard.

When incorporating water walls or curtains, consider the scale and placement within your outdoor space. A larger water wall or curtain can make a bold statement and can be placed as a standalone feature or as part of a larger outdoor design. A smaller water wall can be incorporated into a garden or patio area, becoming a unique and eye-catching element.

Maintenance of water walls and curtains is relatively simple. Regularly clean the surface to remove any mineral buildup or debris. Monitor the water levels and ensure the pump is functioning properly. It’s also important to prevent freezing in colder climates by properly winterizing the feature.

Lighting plays a crucial role in accentuating the beauty of water walls and curtains. LED lights placed behind or under the water feature can create a magical and ethereal effect, highlighting the movement of the water and creating a stunning visual display during nighttime.

Water walls and curtains add a touch of modernity and elegance to your backyard. The combination of sleek design and the tranquil sound of flowing water creates a captivating ambiance that is sure to impress both you and your guests. Let the beauty of water transform your outdoor space into a contemporary oasis.

Subtitle 7: Reflecting pools

Reflecting pools are serene and captivating water features that can create a sense of calm and elegance in your backyard. These pools are designed to reflect the surrounding landscape, creating a mirror-like surface that adds a touch of sophistication to your outdoor space.

The design of a reflecting pool is typically minimalistic, with a shallow depth and a smooth surface. The simplicity of this water feature allows it to seamlessly blend with various architectural and natural elements in your backyard. Consider placing the reflecting pool in a location where it can capture the beauty of nearby trees, gardens, or architectural structures.

The tranquil and reflective surface of the pool can create a sense of serenity and spaciousness in your backyard. It serves as a visual focal point that brings a sense of harmony to the overall landscape. The stillness of the water creates a peaceful ambiance and enhances the surrounding aesthetic.

Maintaining a reflecting pool involves regular cleaning to remove fallen leaves, debris, and algae. It’s also important to ensure proper water circulation to minimize stagnation. Consider incorporating a subtle water movement feature, such as a small fountain or a gentle water spout, to prevent the water from becoming stagnant and to add a touch of movement.

Lighting plays a key role in showcasing the beauty of reflecting pools, especially during the evening hours. Illuminating the pool with underwater lights or strategically placed spotlights can create a dramatic effect, accentuating the reflection and adding a magical touch to your backyard.

Reflecting pools can be designed in various sizes, from small courtyard features to larger, more elaborate designs. You can choose to have a standalone reflecting pool or incorporate it as part of a larger landscape design, such as alongside a patio or within a garden area.

With their serene and captivating presence, reflecting pools bring a sense of tranquility and visual harmony to your backyard. Allow the stillness and reflection of the water to create a peaceful and inviting environment, where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Subtitle 8: Swimming pools and hot tubs

Swimming pools and hot tubs are not only functional additions to your backyard but also provide endless hours of relaxation, recreation, and enjoyment. These water features offer a refreshing escape from the heat and a space to unwind and rejuvenate.

A swimming pool is an ideal water feature for those who love to swim, exercise, or simply lounge by the water. With various sizes, shapes, and designs available, you can customize your pool to fit the dimensions and aesthetics of your backyard. Consider factors such as the pool’s depth, surrounding landscaping, and additional features like water slides, diving boards, or built-in seating areas.

A hot tub, also known as a spa or jacuzzi, offers a luxurious and therapeutic water experience. These elevated tubs are designed with soothing, warm water and powerful jets that massage your body, relieving stress and tension. Hot tubs are available in different sizes and can be integrated into your outdoor space seamlessly.

When installing a swimming pool or hot tub, it’s important to consult with professionals to ensure proper design, construction, and maintenance. Consider factors such as safety features, water filtration systems, heating options, and proper building permits, to ensure the longevity and functionality of your water feature.

Maintenance of swimming pools and hot tubs involves regular cleaning, water testing, and proper chemical balance to ensure hygienic and safe water conditions. It’s also important to monitor and adjust the water temperature, especially for hot tubs, to optimize comfort and energy efficiency.

Enhance the ambiance and enjoyment of your swimming pool or hot tub with additional features such as underwater lighting, waterfalls, or surrounding landscaping. Outdoor furniture, loungers, and sun umbrellas can create a comfortable and inviting space for relaxation and socializing.

Swimming pools and hot tubs provide not only a refreshing water experience but also a gathering place for family and friends. Whether it’s a dip in the pool on a hot summer day or a soothing soak in the hot tub under the stars, these water features elevate your backyard into a private retreat, perfect for unwinding and creating lasting memories.

Subtitle 9: Rain chains and rain barrels

Rain chains and rain barrels are eco-friendly and functional water features that can help you conserve water and add a unique element to your backyard. These features allow you to make the most of rainfall by capturing and utilizing the water in a sustainable way.

A rain chain is a decorative alternative to a traditional downspout. It consists of a series of linked chains or decorative cups that guide the water from the roof to the ground. As the rainwater cascades down the chains, it creates a beautiful and soothing visual and auditory experience.

Rain chains come in various styles and materials, such as copper, brass, or stainless steel. Choose a design that complements the aesthetics of your home and adds a touch of charm to your outdoor space. Rain chains can be easily installed and offer a more visually appealing and environmentally friendly option for directing rainwater.

On the other hand, rain barrels are containers that collect and store rainwater for later use. They are typically connected to downspouts or gutters and capture the water that would otherwise be lost. Rain barrels come in different sizes and materials, such as plastic or wood, and can be placed strategically throughout your backyard.

Using rain barrels to collect rainwater offers numerous benefits. It allows you to utilize the collected water for various purposes like watering plants, gardens, or washing outdoor surfaces. This not only conserves water but also reduces your reliance on municipal water sources and lowers your water bills.

Maintenance of rain chains and rain barrels is relatively simple. Keep the chains free from debris or leaves to ensure proper water flow and functionality. Regularly clean the rain barrels to remove any sediment and prevent the buildup of algae or mosquitoes.

Consider incorporating both rain chains and rain barrels in your backyard to create a cohesive and environmentally friendly water conservation system. The rain chains add visual appeal and charm, while the rain barrels provide a practical and sustainable solution for collecting and utilizing rainwater.

By implementing rain chains and rain barrels, you not only reduce your environmental impact but also create a greener and more sustainable outdoor space. Embrace the beauty of rainwater and harness its potential to nurture your plants and garden while contributing to a healthier ecosystem.

Subtitle 10: Water gardens and aquatic plants

Water gardens and aquatic plants provide a unique and captivating way to incorporate water into your backyard. These features not only add beauty and visual interest but also create a habitat for various species of plants, fish, and wildlife.

A water garden is a self-contained ecosystem that consists of a shallow basin or pond that is specifically designed to accommodate aquatic plants. These gardens can be small or large, depending on the space available and your personal preference. They offer a peaceful and serene environment that brings a sense of tranquility to your outdoor space.

When creating a water garden, choose a suitable location that offers a balance of sunlight and shade. This ensures the proper growth of aquatic plants and helps maintain water temperature. Incorporate rocks, stones, and aquatic soil to anchor the plants and provide a natural and visually appealing setting.

Aquatic plants play a crucial role in the health and maintenance of a water garden. They provide shade, oxygenate the water, and help prevent the growth of algae. Select a variety of aquatic plants, such as water lilies, lotus flowers, water hyacinths, or water lettuce, to add color, texture, and life to your water garden.

Introducing fish, such as koi or goldfish, adds movement and vibrancy to your water garden. These fish not only create a visually captivating scene but also help control algae growth and maintain a healthy balance in the ecosystem. However, it’s important to consider the size of your water garden and the specific requirements of the fish species you choose.

Maintenance of a water garden involves regular cleaning and upkeep. Remove fallen leaves or debris from the water’s surface to ensure proper water circulation and prevent blockages. Monitor the water quality and consider using a filtration system or beneficial bacteria to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem.

Water gardens and aquatic plants bring a sense of serenity and natural beauty to your backyard. Embrace the vibrant colors and unique textures that these plants offer, creating a lush and peaceful oasis that invites you to relax and reconnect with nature.

Subtitle 11: Outdoor showers

Outdoor showers are a luxurious and refreshing addition to your backyard, offering a unique way to enjoy the outdoors while staying cool and clean. Whether you live near the beach, have a pool, or simply want to experience the liberation of showering in nature, an outdoor shower can elevate your backyard experience.

An outdoor shower provides a convenient way to rinse off after a swim, gardening, or any outdoor activity. It can be installed as a standalone feature or integrated into an existing structure, such as a deck or patio. Consider the location and privacy of your outdoor shower, ensuring it is easily accessible and offers a sense of seclusion.

The design possibilities for outdoor showers are diverse. You can opt for a simple and minimalist design with a handheld showerhead and a privacy screen, or create a more elaborate setup with a rainfall showerhead, decorative tiles, and comfortable seating areas. The choice of materials can range from wood and stone to stainless steel or copper, depending on your desired aesthetic.

When incorporating an outdoor shower, think about the water source and drainage system. It’s important to ensure proper plumbing and drainage to prevent water stagnation and potential damage to your backyard. Consider using eco-friendly showerheads that conserve water and reduce your environmental impact.

Privacy is a key consideration when designing an outdoor shower. There are various ways to create a sense of seclusion, such as using natural elements like shrubs or installing privacy screens made of wood, bamboo, or fabric. You can also strategically position your outdoor shower within existing structures or use outdoor curtains to create a private and intimate space.

Maintenance of an outdoor shower involves regular cleaning to remove any debris, soap residue, or mineral buildup. Consider using non-toxic cleaners that won’t harm the environment. It’s also important to winterize your outdoor shower in colder climates to prevent freezing and potential damage to the plumbing system.

Using an outdoor shower allows you to connect with nature, enjoy the fresh air, and experience a sense of freedom and relaxation. Whether it’s washing away the sand after a beach trip or simply enjoying a refreshing shower in the sun, an outdoor shower brings an element of luxury and convenience to your backyard.


Incorporating water features into your backyard is a fantastic way to enhance its beauty, ambiance, and overall appeal. From the soothing sounds of a waterfall to the tranquility of a reflecting pool, each water feature brings its own unique charm and creates a serene and inviting space.

Whether you choose to install a waterfall, pond, fountain, or birdbath, these water features not only add visual interest but also provide numerous benefits. They create a sense of calm and relaxation, attract wildlife, and even help to cool the surrounding area during hot summer months.

Water spouts, sprayers, and rain chains bring interactivity and playfulness to your backyard, engaging both children and adults in the joy of water. Meanwhile, water walls and curtains add a touch of sophistication and modernity to your outdoor space, creating a mesmerizing visual display.

The eco-friendly options of rain barrels and water gardens allow you to conserve water and create a sustainable ecosystem within your backyard. Aquatic plants and outdoor showers provide a unique and refreshing experience, connecting you with nature in new and invigorating ways.

By carefully selecting and maintaining these water features, you can transform your backyard into a tranquil oasis, a beautiful haven where you can relax, entertain, and escape from the stress of everyday life. The soothing sounds, captivating visuals, and serene atmosphere created by these water features will elevate your outdoor experience and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Remember to consider the scale, location, and aesthetics of your backyard when choosing and designing water features. Proper installation, regular maintenance, and thoughtful integration with the surrounding landscape are key to ensuring that your water features continue to enhance your backyard for years to come.

So go ahead, let your creativity flow and bring the beauty of water into your backyard. Discover the endless possibilities and transform your outdoor space into a sanctuary of serenity and natural beauty.

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