Water features can transform your garden. The murmur and trickle of a waterfall, the soothing surface of a pond, or the play of light in a fountain can take your garden from pretty to wonderful.
Planting flowers, digging the soil for veggies, maybe planting a tree or two–all of these are relaxing. But sitting down before a waterfall, fountain, or pond after your work can take relaxation to zen levels.
Adding water features to your garden may sound like expensive hard work. But you can create a beautiful waterfall, pond, or fountain without gruesome work. And without burning a hole in your pocket.
In this post, we’ll share with you our selection of the best outdoor garden water features to inspire you to create your own.
Whether you choose to replicate these exactly or adapt them creatively to your garden, your results will be wonderful nevertheless!
Garden Water Features Inspiration
When choosing water features, try to consider the size of your space, the design of your garden, and the materials required. For example, certain types of stone may be more readily available in your area than in others.
Here are some amazing water features to inspire you when creating your own.
1. Round Outdoor Fountain with Stone Edging
Let the water flow. Round, large outdoor water features like this fountain are a traditional part of many parks and gardens.
Although they might seem a little “old-school,” they’re popular for a reason–they’re gorgeous and easy to find since garden fountains can be purchased at garden shops and home centers.
Tip: Stone water features like the one above can be a filler for a large space that would otherwise be grown up with weeds and wildflowers.
2. Large Round Backyard Fountain Idea
The backyard is often the best place for creative water features like the one below. This is especially true of lots with larger backyards or those that need the sense of calm that a water feature can bring.
The image above is an example of a large outdoor water feature that doesn’t have to take up a lot of space. Still, you could surround it with a pond. And of course, adding fish to the pond can bring more life to it.
3. Modern Water Feature Idea
Not into the rustic vibe? No problem. There are many modern design elements that can be implemented in a water-centered design. Think clean, simple lines with special features like a mirror.
Is modern and up to date what you’re looking for? You’ll want to go with something with a clean finish and a simple color palette.
4. Natural Stone Pond with Arched Wooden Bridge
Reminiscent of Japanese gardens, natural stone ponds recreate natural water features. We are big fans of DIY garden projects that use natural stone like this one.
Here’s a beautiful large natural stone water garden decorated with interesting elements that would be the envy of anyone in your neighborhood. If you already have a small pond, you can surround it with stones for an even more unique look.
Tip: There are many different types of landscaping rocks and stones to choose from. Which one you choose usually boils down to availability and price–make the most of local resources.
5. Best Modern Garden Water Features
Here’s another modern design that you may like if you’re into contemporary garden ideas and plans.
This combination of stone, decking, and water plants can get expensive, but it’s definitely unique. It would work especially well next to an outdoor patio.
6. Backyard Water Feature Idea with Spiraling Staircase
Stairs can be unique whether they are located inside or out. When you include stairs in a backyard water feature, it can take things to a whole new level.
In the example above, we love that the water feature is raised above the ground, which draws attention to it. It’s surrounded with stones and includes natural elements like lily pads and plants. The perfect mix!
7. Minimalist Garden Ponds
Are you looking for a pond to spruce up a garden area? You don’t need the perfect setting to do so. In fact, you don’t need dirt or naturally growing plants at all. Here’s a minimalist modern pond to prove the point.
Adding water and a few green things can provide a soft touch to the hard elements such as rocks or marble. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can start small and then add more as you go.
8. Creative Garden Fountains in Glass Container
Water features can be striking from a distance. If you want something that will really stand out, you might have to get a little creative with the type of waterfall you’re using and go with something a little “outside-the-box”.
The tornado-shaped waterfall above sits inside a glass cylinder and is surrounded by a circle filled with contrasting pebbles. Add some LED garden lights around it and you can enjoy it even in the dark.
9. Tiered Garden Waterfalls
Some of the most beautiful water features include a mix of ponds, waterfalls, and fountains. Here’s a pretty example to show you what we mean.
Tip: Be patient with your water features. You might not be able to create them overnight. Like a garden, the water elements in your outdoor area need time to mature.
10. Spurting Face Water Feature Idea
Are you a bit of a mystic? If so, you might want to add a bit of mystery to your design. We really love the example below, a water feature in which a man’s face has water shooting out of his mouth.
Even if your garden is small, this doesn’t mean you have to settle for boring water features. Get creative and add a feature that can be a conversation starter, like the one above. What could the story behind it be?
11. Zen Water Feature Idea
Decks are a great place to include a water feature. The natural and man-made mixture of elements it creates looks both beautiful and unique.
It can also make the scenery a bit more peaceful. Vertical fountains can provide a touch of Zen to your outdoor space.
12. DIY Cherubs Garden Water Features
DIY ponds don’t have to be boring or cheap-looking. If you can get your hands on some cherub statues or similar decorative elements, you can create a pond that will be the envy of all your neighbors.
The most challenging aspect of creating a DIY pond can be finding the right water features for you. Don’t rush the process–take as much time as needed and don’t get to work until you have what you need.
Tip: You can actually buy these kinds of statues on Amazon.
13. Big Splash Tall Stone Gateway Water Feature
Go big or go home! Are you wanting to undertake a huge project? Consider this striking waterfall gate.
Take advantage of the natural sunlight which can make your water features look amazing. This combination of pond and waterfall requires planning and plenty of work, but it’s worth every cent.
Good to know: Even huge water features can have relatively low maintenance needs if the water circulates (unless you’re setting up an Aquaponics system).
14. Classic Fountain with Muse Statues
Are you into more of a classical feel? Stone fountains that include statues are a great route to take.
This is a classic European-style fountain in a fanciful setting. But there are tons of options. From animals to abstract designs, statues inside of a pond or water feature are fantastic additions.
15. Garden Waterfalls with Statues
Waterfalls inside a garden make things look breathtaking. Here’s another statue-featured water piece that might serve as a spark for your own design, DYI or not.
The sound of water can bring calmness and coolness to any garden. So you may want to include around your set-up some seating where you can relax and just let all of your worries go.
Here’s an example of a statue you can add to your pond:
16. Watering Can Garden Water Features
Being clever about your use of water features can make your garden so much more fun and interesting. Check out this playful waterfall made up of watering cans–isn’t it great?
Watering cans like those above are inexpensive and you can reuse any you already have instead of letting them rust in your shed. You can also brighten them up with a fresh coat of paint.
17. Charming Water Feature with Spurting Jets
We usually think of jets being inside of a hot tub. But that isn’t the only place you can find water-streaming jets like the one in the picture below.
The water pond above incorporates four water jets place in a way that creates a special water effect. Flowers and stones complement the effect.
18. Pond with Lots of Garden Features
Now here’s a pond around which different types of water plants grow profusely, creating a pleasantly wild effect. This is natural pond design at its best.
Ponds can add tranquility and charm to any landscape. Planting flowers around them helps fill spaces and create texture. You can also add in fish to the pond for a special touch.
19. Stunning Corner Rock Garden Water Feature
Cascading water features are striking whether they take center stage in your garden or occupy only a corner of it. You may need a bit of help from a landscape designer to create this one for you.
Garden waterfalls can also oxygenate the water. This can increase the positive vibes in the area surrounding it. You could even add a duck or two in there if you don’t mind the quacking.
20. Garden Pond with Natural Stones
Garden or pond? You don’t have to choose. Garden ponds are an interesting mix in which water ebbs and flows in and out of one another.
Floating plants such as water lilies can cover your pond. You can also add other types of flowers based on your personal likes and the climate in your region.
21. Natural Water Feature with Rock Edging
Here’s another example of a natural water feature that you can surround with plants to create a calming effect. This one is bordered by a rock barrier.
Tip: Start with a small pond, add some water, and then branch out. You can expand this type of water feature a little more every year by adding more rocks and plants.
22. Tall Stone Water Feature Latest Trend Idea
If you have stone to spare, consider this type of set-up. The soothing cascade of water can create a natural rhythm of beautiful, soothing music in your garden.
This is one of those designs that you can recreate on a smaller scale and adapt to your layout.
23. Japanese Garden Water Feature
The beautiful sound of moving water can soothe the soul. The process of creation with any water feature is always worth the cost and planning.
24. Creative Water Feature on Multiple Layers
The design below is a crowd favorite. It was voted one of the most beautiful water features and the jug on top really seals the deal.
You’ll see that some of the other designs also feature jars and jugs. This is a popular water garden element that adds a classic touch to almost any type of water design.
25. Rock Pond Garden with Water Plants
On the lookout for something a bit more exotic? Just take a peek at this simple but beautiful set-up.
Using a water feature can enhance your garden by generating wonderful sounds, but don’t forget about the smells.
Plants can make any outdoor area look and smell amazing. This is something that you can’t replicate with faux elements.
26. Elegant Water Feature with Rocks and Metal Bird Statues
This water feature uses a combination of big stones and rocks with pebbles and metal statues. There’s also a wooden bench in the background.
If you have a natural hillside in your yard, you may want to try creating a similar design. If you can’t get your hands on that many rocks, you can use more plants instead.
27. Attractive Garden with Vintage Furniture and Lotus
If you want to make your garden as attractive as possible, you’ll need a good mix of furniture, greenery, water, and other natural elements.
You can enhance your water features by adding pond plants such as water lilies. Because they don’t require much upkeep, you can simply drop them and go.
Good to know: These lilies will also attract insects and small animals and can contribute to creating a better local ecosystem for them.
28. Enormous Waterfall on Rocks
Although an enormous waterfall won’t be practical for most spaces, it’s a great feat if you want to go all out.
The beautiful sound of water running over rocks will make the process of creating an ambitious waterfall like this one worth the expense and effort, don’t you think?
29. Top Water Feature with Fish and Plants
Peaceful and serene–here’s a pond water feature that is definitely one of our favorites. We love the secluded bench, the harmony between the plants and rocks, and koi fish. If we had to name this place it would be Relaxville.
The reflections and trickling sounds of the waterfall can make a big difference overall. They can also create a more pleasant environment for the fish.
Tip: Add the koi last, after you’ve set up everything else. That way you won’t be disturbing them.
30. Traditional Garden Design with Vases
More jugs and vases, but why not? You can arrange them in different formations to make them the centerpiece of your a round stone fountain or pond.
Moving water in a garden can easily attract birds so if you’re looking to make your space more chipper, consider something like the fountain featured above.
31. Small Garden Water Features Statue
Not every space is fit for huge pieces. If you have a small space, that doesn’t mean it has to be a boring one. Here’s an example.
Instead of placing a lot of things in the area and making it cluttered, you might choose one or two focus pieces like the statue-inspired fountain above.
Good to know: Mosquitoes do not breed in moving water as easily so choosing a fountain over a pond is a good move. You may also want to plant some mosquito repellent plants.
32. Miniature Garden Waterfall
Here’s another example of a water feature you can place in a small space to make it sparkle.
The reflections from the water make this water feature stand out right away. Although it’s just one small fountain, it can eclipse other elements.
33. Crystal Waterfalls on Brick Wall
Here’s another form of illusion: crystal waterfalls. This is one of the most interesting designs because it looks magical. Who doesn’t like a little magic?
Wondering how this works? The falling water sparkle with the lights concealed in the basin. This is a super simple solution that allows for a unique viewing experience.
34. Natural Rocky Waterfall with Pond
The way the stones are laid one over the other in this example makes this waterfall feel like a natural creation. But in fact it’s a studied arrangement with every stone place where it should be.
That’s the beauty of building water features and ponds in Japanese style.
Tip: Notice the fountain pump at the top? It’s a great way to create a waterfall effect in your garden.
A simple yet beautiful water feature.
35. Amazing Backyard Landscape Water Features with Gazebo
Water can help you create a small paradise in your garden. Here’s an example of a gorgeous pond with plants and a winding stone path that leads to a gazebo.
Combining stone, wood, and plants creates a beautiful interplay of colors and textures that makes every corner of your garden appealing, not just a central feature.
36. Small DIY Water Garden
An old cupboard or big drawer that you no longer use can become an interesting water feature in your garden. This way you can upcycle materials instead of throwing them away.
A small water feature can make your garden look intimate. Sometimes, less really is more.
37. Cozy Backyard Pond with Stone Edging
There’s something to be said for a really natural space that is allowed to stay that way. If you have wild plants and a natural water source and want to keep it that way, just add stone edging and voila!
With natural spaces like this, it doesn’t matter if you have a big or small area–you can make it your own.
38. Asian Garden Style Indoor and Outdoor
Feng shui and bonsai trees can inspire you to create a striking Asian-style garden with a water feature that contributes to the overall sense of calm.
In the example above, an Asian garden design takes advantage of the beautiful surrounding to create a great corner for relaxation and mindful walls.
Tip: Water features don’t have to be confined to the outdoors. You can integrate them into the transition area where inside becomes outside.
39. Water Feature with Wooden Bridge, Pond, and Rocks
What is the first thing you see when you look at this picture? Is it the bridge, the plants, or the water? The longer you look, the more interesting things you will find.
Bridges over water are super artistic and make quite a statement. Wooden bridges in particular look great over pods and next to stones.
40. Unique Artistic Fountain
Landscaping with water features is an art form and the results can be wonderful. Here’s an example of a fountain that reimagines an old, classic concept.
This looks like a large vase, but it’s actually a fountain.
Although it might be hard to find this exact piece, you can apply the same concept to other elements in your garden, choosing unique, handcrafted items over manufactured products.
41. Small Sunken Water Fountains for Yards
Backyard, front yard, courtyard. Wherever you want a water fountain, go for it. There really isn’t a right or wrong placement for something you love.
Small, sunken waterfalls for yards like this one can blend in seamlessly into your yard. You can use them even in spaces exposed to the wind.
Our Readers’ Water Features Questions
Do you still have a few questions? Well, you aren’t the only one! We noticed that many of our readers have similar questions, especially about adding water features to their gardens.
We’ve put the most frequent questions together and answered them for you. Explore the answers below.
How can I learn how to manage water features in my garden?
These days, there is no shortage of ways for you to learn how to utilize water features in your garden. If you are privy to DIY options, check out our water feature option guide for inspiration.
Are water features expensive?
If you choose to go with a DIY water feature option, expect to spend $100 or more for a small pond or fountain that you install yourself. Pre-assembled water features purchased online or in-stores can cost $250 and up.
Do you leave water features on all the time?
If you have an automatic system (such as hydroponics), you can leave your feature on as much as you’d like.
However, if it’s made of glass or metal, you will want to shut it down periodically to clean the surface of water droplets to preserve the aesthetic.
This is because water droplets can cause rust or permanent water stains on these surfaces. You may also have to turn off running water features before winter.
Calm, Relax and Water Features
Do you know what makes the difference between a nice garden and a great one? Often, it’s the water features.
After seeing the beautiful water features ideas and those stunning water plants that are flourishing with it, we hope you are ready to introduce them to your garden.
You can add excitement to your outdoor space by creating a waterfall, fountain, or a simple pond.
Whether you opt for a simple or elegant water feature, the sound of running water or its quiet stillness will make every moment you spend in your garden more precious.
Although some water features may cost a lot, you can save money creating your own design by using inexpensive materials such as landscaping rocks.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a place in your home where you can relax after having a busy day. Or a secret garden that is completely yours. Adding a water feature to it will make it all the more special.
Now over to you.
Has any of the water features we shared with you caught your eye? Which one? Drop us a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!