Can you Build a Waterfall without a Pond

Yes you can, they are usually called pondless waterfalls and consists of a reservoir to hold water and a pump to pump the water from the reservoir to the top of the waterfall.


Lets start with the waterfall, there are two ways to form a waterfall, you can buy a ready made pre-formed one or build one yourself.

Pre-formed waterfalls come in lots of designs, from the simple black plastic ones to the highly detailed realistic rock type waterfalls or just a simple stainless steel blade waterfall.

The black plastic waterfalls are usually the cheapest to buy but you can make them look more natural by adding gravel, rocks or pebbles.

The realistic pre-formed waterfalls are usually the most expensive to buy, but they are ready to use straight away and look the part.

If your going for a contemporary look the blade waterfall is the perfect answer, it produces a lovely sheet of water as it flows over the edge.

As with all waterfalls you can make them as big or small as you wish, the choice is yours. You can buy pre-made ones to suit your needs or add them together to make a bigger waterfall.

If you want to build a waterfall from scratch then why not, you can use rocks, pebbles, boulders, gravel but ideally you would need a flat surface for the water to cascade over, the choice is yours.

A pond liner underneath your waterfall would be advisable, this will allow any water leakages to be caught and directed back to the reservoir.

When building a waterfall start with the flat surface that the water will cascade over, angle them, so they tilt down at the front, this will allow the water to flow over them. With the flat surface in place use rocks or boulders to raise the sides and hide the liner if you have used one.

Once you’ve constructed your waterfall pour some water from the top to make sure it flows as you want it too.

The rocks can be cemented in place or you can use landscaping expanding foam, you can disguise the foam by throwing sand or gravel at it when it’s still wet.

As you would expect the top of the waterfall has to be higher than the bottom, if you have a natural fall in your garden thats great, if not you will have to build one, earth is a great way to get the height you need but it has to be compressed down to stop it sinking later on.

You don’t have to use soil any material that would raise the top of the waterfall is fine, that could be a brick built structure or a load of rocks, it’s up to you.

There’s some very nice pre-formed waterfalls at


The reservoir is to store water and to catch the water cascading from your waterfall, this will need to buried into the ground if you want a natural look, it’s then covered with gravel or pebbles.

The reservoir is placed underneath the last fall of the waterfall, this is to allow all the water to be used again.

You can use any container but it should be large enough to give a good flow of water cascading down your waterfall whilst still having a good supply of water still in the container and be deep enough to house the pump.

You need to place a cover with holes over the container, this will allow you to place rocks, gravel, pebbles or boulders on top whilst allowing the water to return to the container, a metal grid would work well.

You can also use a pond liner, just dig a large hole and line it with the liner, you will still need a cover/grid to go on top. 

You can buy purpose made reservoirs from and

Submersible Pump

The last thing you need is a submersible water pump, the pump will need to be big enough to give a good flow of water down your waterfall, the bigger and faster you want the water to flow the bigger the pump will need to be.

The pump sits inside the reservoir and a hose is run from the pump to the top of the waterfall, for a natural look you need to hide the hose, you can bury it in the earth or run it alongside the waterfall and disguise it with rocks or boulders, just make sure you don’t crush the hose.

You will need a power supply to plug the pump into or if thats not an option you could try a solar powered pump, although these do have their drawbacks.

You want to look for a submersible pump with a float switch, this will turn of the pump off if the water level in the reservoir gets to low.

There are plenty of submersible water pumps with floats available from

Pondless waterfall kit

You can buy pondless waterfall kits, they have everything you need except the rocks, boulders etc, this is a good idea if you’re not sure what to buy, it takes the guesswork out, but it could cheaper to buy what you need separately.

Check out this kit for a medium pondless waterfall kit from