So, I have been a total slacker when it comes to posting projects, but I have a good reason, I promise! We have had several larger projects that we have been working on, and of course we are doing them all at the same time, so nothing has gotten completed quickly after finishing the last project I posted! But, I FINALLY finished one of the projects and can now share! I absolutely love water features, I find the sound of running water calming and soothing. So, I have been working on a couple new water features in my yard, and today I’m sharing one of them. I have this large granite boulder in my back yard that looked a little boring, so I decided what better way to spruce it up then to add a beautiful DIY pond and waterfall, and, since we don’t have electric power in this area, I chose a solar pump with a backup battery to ensure the waterfall was running for a large part of the day without having to run extension cords throughout the yard (plus I love using green energy whenever possible!). I also added in some solar lights both in the pond and around so it looks spectacular at night!
DIY Pond and Waterfall Materials & Supplies
- Pond liner
- Retaining wall blocks
- Retaining wall caps
- Landscape adhesive
- Masonry/Concrete Saw
- Miscellaneous rocks and boulders or slate pieces
- Solar fountain water pump kit (20 Watt/360 GPH)
- Solar fountain pump backup battery
- Waterfall spillway
- Multi-hose adapter
- 3/4″ tubing
- 1/2″ tubing
- Miscellaneous rocks and boulders or slate pieces
Pond Decor supplies:
- Solar landscape lights (for plants surrounding pond)
- Solar submersible pond lights (to place in pond water)
- Solar Heron statue
- Banana plant
- Hibiscus plant
- Hydrangea plants
- 5″x5″ concrete pavers (for plant borders around pond – use landscape adhesive to attach pavers to each other)
DIY Pond and Waterfall Instructions:
Here is the lonely boulder that needed a pond as a buddy:
First, using a shovel, I dug the area in front of the large granite boulder where I wanted the pond to be. I dug down about 2 feet in the center, and then gradually shallower as I got to the edges of the pond area.
Once the pond area was dug out, I used one row of concrete retaining wall blocks to outline the pond. I ensured the ground underneath the blocks was level, and used a level to ensure all the blocks were level.
Once all the retaining wall blocks are in place, place the liner into the pond area. Cut it to size using scissors, the liner should come up to midway on top of the retaining wall blocks on all sides. If part of your pond is against a large boulder or wall, like mine, you’ll want to make sure the liner comes up far enough in front of the boulder or wall to completely fill the pond without water going over the top of the liner.
Use the retaining wall caps to hold the liner in place. I used my concrete saw (bought used on Facebook Marketplace) to cut the retaining wall caps so they line up evenly next to ach other. (Tip: if the caps are to be rounded outward, like in the picture above, line the caps up so the back and front of the caps are where they should be. There should be a gap between the front of the block caps around the curve.
Measure the distance between the front edges of the caps. For example, the distance between the front of the wall caps in my picture below is 2 1/4″.
Divide the distance between the front corners of the two blocks by two. Then, mark a spot on the back of the block cap that is equal to that half distance. Do this on one side of each of the adjoining block caps. In the picture from above, the distance was 2 1/4“, which divided by two is 1 1/8“.
Using a pencil, draw a line from the mark at the back of the block to the front corner on the same side of the block.
Cut the wall cap at an angle from the front corner of the wall cap to the mark you made on the block cap, along the length of line drawn on the block cap. Do the same for the side of the next block cap that will be aligned with that edge.
Once the two adjoining block cap sides are cut, they should line up perfectly on the top of the retaining wall blocks/pond liner. Use landscape adhesive to adhere the pond liner to the retaining wall blocks below, and then on top of the liner to adhere the retaining wall cap blocks to the pond liner and the retaining wall blocks below.
Next, if building the pond with a wall or rock backing, use large boulders and rocks to hold the pond liner against the rock backing. I stacked several larger boulders along the bottom of the large rock backing of the pond, and then used smaller rocks towards the top of the stack.
Next, install the water pump and waterfall spillway.
- Attach the 1/2″ tubing to the water pump and cut to a size that works well for your situation. Attach the other end of the tube to the multi-hose adapter.
- Attach one end of the 3/4″ tubing to the other end of the multi-hose adapter.
- Place the waterfall spillway in the location it will be permanently, and use large rocks or pieces of slate to wrap around the spillway and hold it into place.
- Cut the 3/4″ tubing to length and attach the other end to the nozzle on the back of the spillway.
- Attach the power cable to one of the cables on the backup battery.
- Attach the other cable on the backup battery to the solar panel.
Next, fill the pond with water and move the solar panel into the sun light.
Once the pond was complete, I added in the plant borders around the pond using 5″x5″ square pavers and landscape adhesive. Make sure the first row of pavers is level, and then place a second row of 5×5 pavers, making sure the second row is offset from the first row. You may need to cut one or more of the blocks in half to ensure they are properly offset. I placed the concrete paver plant borders on three sides of the pond.
The plants I planted in the planter sections are hydrangeas (pink in the left front planter, and blue in the back right planter), and then a hibiscus and a banana plant in the planter behind the waterfall.
I wanted my pond to have a tropical feel, so in addition to the plants, I added a blue heron solar statue on the right side of the pond and we added some blue pond dye to the pond, which also helps prevent algae.
To add even more tropical ambience to my little pond, I added solar lights both in the pond and around the pond. I purchased a set of three submersible solar lights and placed them in the pond. I then purchased a set of four solar landscape lights and placed one in each of the three plant beds and then the fourth light was placed in the rocks next to the waterfall, with the light directed directly at the waterfall so it would be lit up at night. Here are some pictures of the DIY pond with waterfall at night:
This pond project was fairly simple, the only major tool required is a masonry or concrete saw, which if you don’t have, can be rented at Home Depot or through other tool rental companies. We purchased ours, which is a heavy duty saw, used, on Facebook Marketplace for much cheaper than it would cost new. But if you already have a circular saw or table saw, you can buy a masonry blade and use that. The entire project can be done in a couple of weekends. If you already have all the tools, the entire project, including the liner, retaining wall blocks and wall caps, solar water pump and waterfall parts, plants, solar lights, and the statue, cost about $500 total. The most expensive parts are the liner, which can be cheaper if you purchase a smaller liner, and the solar water pump and backup battery. You can also reduce the price by using smaller, less developed plants, younger plants that are smaller tend to be less expensive. You can also save money by not purchasing the backup battery, although this will result in your waterfall only running when the panel is in direct sunlight. With the backup battery, you will get several hours of the waterfall running after the solar panel is no longer in the sun. With the addition of the solar lights, the waterfall running at night gives the pond a beautiful ambience and calming effect at night,