Choosing a Pond Waterfall

Garden pond waterfalls are often viewed as the pinnacle design feature of a pond project, and rightly so! A properly built pond waterfall has a way of transforming a lifeless body of water into a vibrant stream, full of life and activity. Not only are garden pond waterfalls pleasing to look at, but also the sound of falling water has long been associated with relaxation and a way to ease the mind. 

Sizing Your Waterfall

As a starting point, we recommend designing the waterfall proportionate to the flow rate of your pumping system. Generally speaking, for optimal filtration, it’s good to pump the entire contents of your pond at least every hour. That means if you have a 3,000-gallon pond, for the sake of good filtration, you should aim for a minimum of 3000 gallons per hour. Therefore, a waterfall designed for 3000 gph makes sense. To learn more about sizing pumps see our pump page.

Waterfall Sizing Tip

We recommend 100 gph per inch of waterfall spillway as a minimum starting point for a nice waterfall.

For a more splashy waterfall you can increase this number up to 200 gph per inch of waterfall per hour.
Example: a 19” waterfall spillway would require a minimum of 1900gph.

Waterfall Spillways

Waterfall Rocks

Waterfall Filters

The Atlantic FilterFalls line is a collection of high-quality biological pond filters combined with the convenience of a waterfall spillway in a single unit. We like to use a waterfall filter when building a pond since it makes building the waterfall easier while providing an excellent location to hide the biofilter. Each unit features a strong top grate which can support rocks that are used to camouflage the unit, allowing you to create a natural looking waterfall. 

ModelFalls WidthFlow RateDimensionsPrice 
BF1600 16" Wide 1500 - 3000 gph 21.5"W x 19.5"D x 17.75"H $229.99 More Info
BF1900 19" Wide 1900 - 3800 gph 28"W x 25"D x 21.5"H $339.99 More Info
BF2600 26" Wide 3000 - 6000 gph 34.5"W x 25"D x 23"H $414.99 More Info
BF3800 38" Wide 4000 - 8000 gph 46.5"W x 30"D x 23"H $659.99 More Info


Creating a Formal Waterfall Feature?

Are you looking to create a waterfall without a pond? Check out these basins that make creating an above ground water feature easier!

Waterfall Basins

What are the benefits of having a waterfall?

  • Waterfalls look and sound great when built properly
  • Decrease background noise if you live in a city or near a busy road
  • Waterfalls aerate the water thus creating a healthier ecosystem in your water garden
  • Waterfalls allow the use of a waterfall filter, which is a great way to simplify and disguise the filtration system
  • After the water goes through the filtration system, it needs to be returned to the pond some way. Why not do this with a great looking waterfall?

Waterfall Designs

Take a moment to visualize your end goal. You can choose to build a waterfall that blends so well into the landscape that it looks like it was naturally put there, or you can choose to build your waterfall into a wall with colorful lights and tidy lines. Learn more about the different styles of ponds here. 

Designing a Natural Waterfall

There are a couple of tricks we like to use when building a waterfall to make it look more natural:

  • Use large rocks. In nature, a river or stream will clear out small pebbles and stones over time, leaving behind the larger stones and boulders. These larger stones often form the basis for waterfalls. The water is routed and diverted around the larger boulders, causing cascades of water to fall. In most cases, without large boulders, there simply wouldn’t be a waterfall! Because of this, manmade waterfalls made of small rocks or pebbles just don’t look natural. To see more about actual construction techniques, please have a look at the building chapter.
  • Blend the waterfall into the landscape. In nature, a waterfall is often part of an overall theme in the landscape. For example, if there’s a 10-foot-high waterfall in a river, often the surrounding terrain will reflect this10 footdrop as well, in the form of a cliff, a grade change, or at least a hill. In this same way, you’ll want to try to blend your waterfall into the landscape. You can do this by building up the area around the waterfall with soil and rock, and then slowly fading the elevation back down to the normal grade level. If you don’t blend the waterfall into the surroundings, your waterfall might end up looking a bit “volcano style.” Wondering what volcano style is? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like: an abrupt mound of rock in the middle of a flat landscape. It definitely doesn’t look natural!
  •  Use a waterfall filter to make your life easier. A waterfall filter is a great way to combine biological filtration and a waterfall spillway into one unit. Not only does a waterfall filter conceal the biological filter in the landscape, but it also acts as a great base for creating a pool of water at the top of the falls with no extra liner needed. A very important part of installing a waterfall filter, however, is remembering to disguise it properly. A properly installed waterfall filter should be invisible and hidden with rocks. We’ll get more into the details of this in the building chapter.

Pondless Waterfall

A pondless waterfall is a beautiful, low maintenance way of adding moving water to your landscape without the commitment of building an entire pond! The water flows from a waterfall down a stream and then drops off to disappear into a hidden underground basin. The water is then cycled back up to the waterfall spillway using a hidden submersible pump.

Pondless Waterfall Kits


Shop all waterfall spillways here.

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