How to Make a Water Curtain

Patricia H. Reed

A sheetlike cascade of water, a water curtain can be an exotic focal point indoors or out. The water feature also can be used as a prop for rain effects in a performance or for creating unusual visual effects for photography.

Water curtains are often made to run down a pane of glass or Plexiglas.

Both visually and aurally appealing, a water curtain can be made to any scale by even a do-it-yourself novice using hardware-store supplies and standard tools. Design your water curtain to mount behind the horizontal crosspiece of a garden arbor or to hide behind the soffit of a bar.


If the water splashes as it hits the trough or is too noisy, lay fiberglass screening across the top of the trough. The screen helps distribute the water and decrease the sound.

  1. Measure the mounting site for your water curtain. Cut your 1 1/2-inch PVC pipe with a hack saw to an inch or two shorter than the length of the mounting site.

  2. Drill 1/8-inch holes in a straight line down the length of the pipe. Space them equally down the length of the pipe, 2 to 6 inches apart depending on the length of the pipe -- the longer the pipe, the farther apart the holes should be drilled.

  3. Paint both ends of the pipe with PVC glue. Affix an end cap to one end and a 1 1/2-to-3/4-inch adapter to the other end.

  4. Mount the pipe to the inside wall of the soffit or behind the arbor crosspiece with U-shaped PVC conduit clamps, using included screws and the appropriate screwdriver. Use one clamp on either end and at least one in the center, depending on the length of the pipe. Before thoroughly tightening the clamps around the pipe, ensure that the holes are turned about a quarter-turn up, so the pipe has a chance to fill all the way across before the water can pour from the holes.

  5. Sink a trough or length of gutter, sized to the length of the pipe, into the ground under the area where you will mount the water curtain outdoors, or behind a panel indoors.

  6. Measure the distance between the mounted pipe and the trough. Cut the clear, flexible 3/4-inch tubing to that length, plus a few inches, with scissors.

  7. Attach one end of the tubing to the adapter on the pipe and the other end to the outlet on the fountain pump. The fountain pump should be sized to the trough and the strength of the water effect you wish to create. The larger the GPH or LPH number on the pump, the stronger the resulting flow. Put the pump inside the trough.

  8. Fill the trough with water and plug in the pump. Adjust the flow as the water starts to fall from the pipe.