24 Outdoor Water Feature Ideas for Backyards, Gardens, & Patios

Looking for some exciting backyard makeover ideas to improve your outdoor living space? Whether you want to go big with a luxurious landscape design or keep it simple with a DIY garden project, adding a water feature like a pond, a fountain, or a waterfall is a great way to upgrade your yard. Check out the backyard water feature ideas below to transform your outdoor area into a beautiful oasis!

Mix Water into Your Landscaping

Giant rock fountain mixed in with the landscape. Photo by Instagram user @waterbydesign
Photo via @waterbydesign

Update your home landscape design with a big water feature! Incorporating a pond, pool, or fountain into your landscaping will help you create a backyard space you’ll enjoy for years to come. Create some privacy with a tall waterfall made of stacked rocks, or turn challenging yard terrain into a flowing stream.

Combine an Outdoor Kitchen with a Water Feature

Outdoor kitchen attached to a waterfall. Photo by Instagram user @letsstayhome
Photo via @letsstayhome

Do you love to host backyard barbecues? Create the ultimate outdoor entertaining space by designing a pond, pool, or stream around an outdoor kitchen. This is one grilling paradise you’ll never want to leave!

Design a Modern-Day Moat

Backyard moat in a wooded area. Photo by Instagram user @aquascape_inc
Photo via @aquascape_inc

Not only does a flowing backyard stream offer soothing sounds, but it also provides a sense of privacy and seclusion. It’s like having your own moat! Just be sure to include landscaping details like a bridge or stepping stones across your stream to connect your home with the rest of your yard.

Line Your Yard with a Small Stream

Rock water stream on a backyard patio. Photo by Instagram user @californiawaterscapes
Photo via @californiawaterscapes

If you’re not able to include a large stream or pond throughout your yard, consider designing a shallow, more controlled stream to run along the edges of your backyard instead. Add a small waterfall between levels for detail, as well as smooth stones or pebbles for texture.

Include a Water Feature Next to a Fire Pit

Fire pit attached to an outdoor pool and hot tub. Photo by Instagram user @starrsellshomes
Photo via @starrsellshomes

Want to keep warm and stay by the water? Consider designing a water feature close to a fire pit! Whether it’s a swimming pool or a simple water fountain, this creates a lovely entertaining spot in your backyard.

Build a Swimming Pool

Outdoor swimming pool with rock water fall. Photo by Instagram user @vineyardpools
Photo via @vineyardpools

Adding a water feature like a pool or a hot tub in your backyard isn’t just great for family fun. It can also increase the value of your home. Design an underground pool with lights and bubblers, or set up an above-ground, deck-mounted pool. You can also seamlessly integrate this element with other landscaping details like waterfalls, fountains, and water walls.

Add a Kid-Friendly Splash Pad

Kids splash pad with a mushroom waterfall. Photo by Instagram user @raindeckaz
Photo via @raindeckaz

Do your kids love to run through the sprinkler? Upgrade their backyard water adventures with a splash pad. Residential splash pads have all the appeal of the typical water park splash pad—just with the comfort of being at home! Splash pads are also safer than a traditional swimming pool because there’s no standing water.

Go Natural with a Small Backyard Pond

Backyard pond with rocks and lily pads. Photo by Instagram user @auburnskylandscaping
Photo via @auburnskylandscaping

Unwind after a long day next to a small pond in your backyard! Utilize landscaping elements like pebbles, stones, flowering plants, trees, and ferns around your pond to create a sense of natural beauty. You can even build your own pond using materials available from most hardware stores. Or if you’d rather skip picking up separate materials, learn how to install your own using a convenient backyard pond kit here!

Invest in a Koi Pond

Backyard koi pond surrounded by plants. Photo by Instagram user @proponds_west
Photo via @proponds_west

If you have the space and the resources, turn a section of your backyard into a tranquil koi pond. Make sure your koi pond is large enough to allow fish to grow and live comfortably. Koi also eat plants, so only add non-toxic greenery to your pond, such as water lilies, water lettuce, or other floating plants.

Keep It Simple with a Birdbath

Bird bath surrounded by pink flowers and a bird in it. Photo by Instagram user @litdigitalart
Photo via @litdigitalart

One of the simplest and most affordable backyard water features is a birdbath. Without pumps, filters, or costly installation, birdbaths are a budget-friendly way to add a water feature to your outdoor living area. Not to mention, they come in all shapes and colors, making it easy to find the option that fits both your space and your style.

Blend a Water Feature into Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor table that turns into a waterfall. Photo by Instagram user @californiawaterscapes
Photo via @californiawaterscapes

For an over-the-top water feature that everyone will be talking about, consider a custom outdoor water table, like this succulent water table with a pondless stream from California Waterscapes!

Create a Small Rock Waterfall

Small rock waterfall in a backyard. Photo by Instagram user @creativecascades
Photo via @creativecascades

Adding a waterfall to a backyard pond, stream, or pool is a great way to incorporate movement in your garden. Rocks, concrete, and even fiberglass can be stacked to create a path for the water, while flowers, succulents, or grasses can be added for color.

Add a Pondless Waterfall

Pondless rock waterfall in the middle of backyard. Photo by Instagram user @aquaterraearth
Photo via @aquaterraearth

Pondless waterfalls are ideal for small backyards that don’t have enough room for a pond. Instead of water collecting at the bottom, these waterfalls have pumps that circulate water back up through the fountain, creating the same effect in half the space. In addition, pondless waterfalls are low maintenance and can be designed with stones, plants, and pebbles for a natural look.

Opt for a Staircase Waterfall

Waterfall going down a staircase in backyard. Photo by Instagram user @californiawaterscapes
Photo via @californidawaterscapes

For a unique, modern water feature that’s sure to be a conversation piece among guests, create a staircase waterfall! This small backyard design adds a luxurious touch to any garden or outdoor living space.

Design a DIY Water Wall

Waterfall wall near patio chairs and fire pit. Photo by Instagram user @interiorfrugalista
Photo via @interiorfrugalista

An outdoor water wall is one of the most eye-catching modern water features to incorporate into your backyard. This stylish design also makes a great addition to outdoor living rooms. Feeling adventurous? Learn how to make your own DIY patio water wall feature with items like glass sheets and wood.

Relax with a Traditional Fountain

Fountain surrounded by trees and plants. Photo by Instagram user @moananursery
Photo via @moananursery

Fountains are the perfect addition to yards, patios, decks, or as a landscaping centerpiece in a garden. These popular water features include pipe fountains, disappearing fountains, spouting fountains, and self-contained fountains. They can also have sconces, scuppers, and downspouts in their designs.

Use a Sphere Outdoor Fountain

Giant silver sphere backyard fountain. Photo by Instagram user @style_earth
Photo via @style_earth

Even if space is limited in your backyard, you can still enjoy a water fountain! Also known as ball fountains, sphere water features are tranquil elements that don’t require much setup and can easily fit in any sized yard. Check out how to make your own spherical outdoor fountain here!

Incorporate a Bubbler Fountain

Green bubbler fountain surrounded by rocks. Photo by Instagram user @waterbydesign
Photo via @waterbydesign

A bubbler fountain is a small water feature that gives your backyard both pizzazz and a relaxing feel. Place one in a tiny garden, or install a large one in your green space to make it the focal point of your yard. Underwater bubblers can also be added to ponds and pools for a bubbling effect similar to a hot spring.

Install a Water Blade Fountain

Water blade fountain on gray stone wall. Photo by Instagram user @waterbydesign
Photo via @waterbydesign

For a twist on the traditional water feature, use a water blade in your landscaping. Not only do these fountains add a modern touch to existing ponds or pools, but they can also be installed on their own as freestanding water features.

Make a Courtyard Fountain the Focal Point

Giant white fountain in a home courtyard. Photo by Instagram user @alexsmithgardendesign
Photo via @alexsmithgardendesign

Designed to fit a range of outdoor living spaces, including courtyards, atriums, or gardens, a courtyard fountain is truly a work of art. These fountains can be made from stone, bronze, copper, and concrete. For a similar effect, you can add a DIY wishing well to any entryway or porch.

Get Creative with a Decorative Fountain

Porch fountain made from a blue wine bottle and wine glass. Photo by Instagram user @lisapalermorealtor
Photo via @lisapalemorealtor

Show off your sense of style with a fun, decorative backyard fountain! Old-fashioned pumps, wine glasses, and teapots are just a few items you can use for your one-of-a-kind water fountain. You can learn how to make your own unique DIY water fountain here!

Don’t Forget to Include a Pathway

White house with bridge going over pond in backyard. Photo by Instagram user @frazermcdonoghdesigns
Photo via @frazermcdonoghdesigns

Especially if you’re incorporating a large stream or pond into your outdoor living space, having a walkway is good for connecting your deck or patio with your backyard. Pathway designs can even include custom details like stepping stones that blend effortlessly with your garden!

Create Additional Ambiance with Lights

Bowl fountain with light on it surrounded by rocks. Photo by Instagram user @californiawaterscapes
Photo via @californiawaterscapes

Outdoor water features with lights provide a more intimate atmosphere in your backyard day or night. Consider adding low-wattage wash lights around waterfalls or fountains to highlight the surface of the water for a reflective effect. LED lights may be more expensive upfront, but their long lifespan may prove to be a cheaper investment over time. You can also work lights into fountains, waterfalls, and pools. Just make sure to use lights that won’t increase water temperature and that have non-toxic elements.

Make a Water Feature Pop with a Statue

White statue fountain of woman in garden. Photo by Instagram user @agulinda68
Photo via @agulinda68

One way to make your backyard water feature truly stand out is with a ceramic, stone, or bronze garden statue. Available in all sizes, characters, and shapes, garden statues add flair and personality to both your garden and water feature. Statues also vary from classic busts to abstract art pieces.

Backyard water features are a great way to enhance your outdoor living space and turn your patio, deck, or garden into an outdoor sanctuary. From a simple water fountain to a large pond, there’s an outdoor water feature idea that will make your yard your new favorite place. If you’re looking for more ways to improve your backyard design, take a look at these easy DIY garden ideas!

24 Outdoor Water Feature Ideas