What Are the Different Types of Backyard Water Features?

Amanda R. Bell
Amanda R. Bell
A fountain with a lion's face.
A fountain with a lion's face.

Several different types of backyard water features can work as a unique addition to a home’s landscaping. The two most common features are ponds, which can serve both functional and aesthetic purposes, and fountains. Other popular backyard water features include those often labeled as “moving water,” which typically includes streams and waterfalls. Perhaps the most common are pools, which can both come in a variety of shapes, styles, and sizes.

Ponds can be worked into nearly any yard size. In most cases, these backyard water features are man-made, and can be very small, ideal for housing a few water plants, to a medium to large pond meant to hold decorative or game fish. Oftentimes, ponds can also be used for swimming, and may include rafts, diving boards, or other entertainment structures. These backyard water features are usually one of the primary focuses in a home’s landscaping, and are often an integral part of the entertaining space.

One of the easiest backyard water features are fountains. These are often available pre-made at landscaping or home supply stores, and range in size from very small to excessively large. A fountain can work off a water reserve, continuously using the same water for the fountain effect from a hose, or it can pump water from a larger feature, such as a pond. Fountains can also be custom made, and worked into stairways, decks, or built to a customer’s specifications.

Oftentimes, streams accompany pond or fountain features, and they are generally defined as narrow areas of moving water. These backyard water features can be used as a border for a property, or they may feed into larger water systems. It is also popular to grow water plants alongside or in streams, and lighting features can be added underneath the water or floating in it for additional landscaping interest.

Waterfalls, which can also work with other features or on their own, are considered to be any backyard water feature that includes falling water. They can come pre-built, much like fountains, although a specialized hose can typically create a waterfall anywhere on a property. A pipe with several holes can be attached in a rock, on a wall, or at any other high area, and then hooked up to a water supply. The device will then create a waterfall effect by continuously pouring water down the item on which it is mounted. These can work off of a reservoir, with the waterfall continuously using the same water, pumped from a larger body of water or off of a hose.

Pools, available in hundreds of different shapes and styles, are possibly one of the most popular backyard water features. They can be purely functional, and used for play or exercise, or built-in unique designs to add aesthetic interest to the yard. Nearly any other backyard water feature can be incorporated into a pool, and popular additions include waterfalls and fountains.

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    • A fountain with a lion's face.
      A fountain with a lion's face.