How to Make a Cascading Water Fountain

Water fountains are some of the most beautiful landscaping decorations. They provide peaceful spots for contemplation and can greatly increase the value of your property. Following these simple step-by-step instructions you can build a wonderful cascading water fountain in your yard or garden.

  1. Plan your water fountain on paper before you do any construction. A cascading water fountain needs a sloping hill of some sort and a pond at the bottom to collect and recirculate the water. Sketch the basic design and placement of large rocks.
  2. Select a pond pump depending on the size of pond and waterfall you will be building. Given that the pump will be pushing water uphill, a powerful pump will be necessary. Select the pond depending on the total number of gallons of water in your pond. If you can, find a pump used specifically for waterfalls.
  3. Pile dirt to form a small hill (at most 3-feet high). The front of the hill facing down to the collection pond should gradually slope downwards over several feet to the pond. You can either slope the hill smoothly or cut steps into it with a shovel. In either case, there needs to be a broad channel cut into the top of the hill at least 3 inches deep to keep the water from running over and down the sides (vary depth depending on the size of rocks you will use).
  4. Dig a small trench along the side of the hill for the water supply line. The trench should be at least 8 inches deep. The trench should extend from the pond to the top of the hill where it will emit the water for the cascade. Place a thick flexible pipe in the trench and fill it--use a pipe that will fit on the opening of the pump.
  5. Dig out the pond space at the base of the hill. A traditional pleasing design is a thick oval or bulbous circle. Pre-formed pond liners will help to ensure that your pond does not use more or less water than necessary.
  6. Cover the slope of the hill with thick pond plastic (use one long sheet to prevent any gaps). Run the plastic down and into the pond. If you are using a pre-formed pond liner run the plastic from the slope down into the pond. Clear away any small rocks or plants from the hill and surrounding area.
  7. Place rocks along the sides of the cascade. Select large flat rocks and place them along the bed of the cascade so that they step down, one on top of the other. Make sure that the rocks are stable and do not shift. Be very careful as you place the rocks to not puncture the pond liner.
  8. Fill the pond with water and place the pump inside the water. Enclose the pump in a filter (if this is what the pump instructions call for). Plug in the pump and watch your cascading fountain at work. Adjust rocks and experiment to create different effects.

Things You Will Need

  • Several feet of thick EPDM pond liner
  • Large and medium sized rocks
  • Pond pump
  • Flexible plastic piping


  • Landscape your hill to create a pleasing forest river look.


  • Never turn on your pump unless it is in water. Never leave small children unattended near the pond or cascade.