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There are many ways to improve an outdoor space, but if you’re looking to combine functionality with an aesthetically pleasing touch, few alternatives compare to water features. Whether you’re looking to incorporate patio water features or add water features to your backyard landscaping motif, there are several stunning ways to create a unique outdoor oasis.

Are Backyard Water Features Worth It?

Water features for backyards have two core appeals. The first is they can serve a functional purpose, like providing the potential of outdoor showering, entertainment for kids, and a cost-effective alternative to a swimming pool. The second benefit of including backyard water features is they serve a distinct aesthetic purpose, helping to define the feeling of an area and adding a calming, Zen-like influence to your backyard.

A little inspiration can go a long way toward helping you discover which water features work best for your outdoor space. Here are some of our favorite examples of water features to upgrade your backyard.

10 Outdoor Water Features for Your Backyard or Patio

Outdoor water features primarily differ with respect to the level of involvement required for skillful execution, cost, and their optimal location. For instance, installing water features for your patio might involve a more space-conscientious design, while those who have larger spaces to enhance might opt for more elaborate water features.

A Small Stream or Creek

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Man-made streams are slightly on the ambitious side of the project list for water features. But if you’re up for the task, you’ll need a water pump, enough PVC pipe to run the length of your creek, a bit of gravel, and a couple of bags of concrete. (As well as clearance from an HOA or confirming if any permits are required to create such an installation.)

To enhance the aesthetics of your man-made stream, you can guide the water using stones or bricks. Since you can determine the directionality of the flow of the water, with a little imagination, these designs can also be incorporated into water feature ideas for your patio and its surrounding area if you have a smaller plot of land as opposed to a sprawling expanse of a backyard.

A Backyard Pond

Having your own backyard pond is a relatively easy DIY water feature that nearly anyone can knock out on their own. While it’s not big enough for taking a dip, a backyard pond can be a great place for waterside relaxation and is one of the most cost-effective landscaping ideas for a project of this size.

If you’d like to take things a step further, you could even create your own koi pond. You’ll just need to make sure the pond is large enough for fish to comfortably grow, and ensure that any plant life you add will cohabitate with your fish.


Outdoor Shower

An outdoor shower can combine the best decorative elements of a water feature with highly functional design elements. Whether you’ve got dirty pets you want to wash, are thinking about setting up a showering area for your pool, or just want to enjoy the liberating experience of showering outside in the right weather, a DIY shower can be a multi-purpose utility. However, with a more complicated project like this, you’ll want to learn more about the logistics and technical know-how needed to build an outdoor shower.

A Birdbath

As one of the most popular water features for backyards, birdbaths can be an appealing addition to almost any locale. You can provide a helping hand to nature while enticing birds to visit you. And you can find more than a few types of birdbaths to incorporate into your backyard – from elaborate fountain designs that serve as an attractive focal point to simpler models intended to fit subtly against the backdrop of your garden or shrubbery.

A Water Wall

If you want to create a distinct sense of space for an area, you’ll find putting up walls is one of the best ways to achieve that effect. A water wall can give you that sense of separation while providing natural accents to a landscape –going above and beyond what you’d get from a regular wall. Water walls can either be free-standing or built against an existing fence or wall.

In order to achieve its breathtaking cascading effect, a water wall uses a water pump at the base that helps it to ascend, then trickle down. For homeowners who are decorating a smaller space, like those considering water features for a deck, this can be a particularly effective addition.

A Small Pool

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While it won’t be the size of an Olympic pool, putting together your own small swimming area is less challenging than you might think. Even if you won’t have enough space to swim laps, a small pool is all you need to cool off during a warm summer day. For those who live in areas that receive cold weather, adding a hot tub in lieu of a small pool can also be a relaxing backyard water feature. In either case, a well-placed wading pool or hot tub can be a welcome highlight of your backyard.

A Fountain

For an upscale backyard look, fountains can provide a wellspring of good ideas. Fountains are capable of adding visual interest to your backyard but are often best used to help create a focal point within a space. The best backyard fountain ideas usually manage to incorporate a focal point that you can build around. For instance, your fountain might be surrounded by tastefully arranged plants, or it might sit alongside one of your more frequented garden paths.

A Hanging Water Fountain

While some patio fountain ideas require more preparation than others, those with a little more prep time can be some of the most rewarding. A well-executed hanging water fountain allows you to save the space a typical fountain would take up while still allowing you to enjoy a stunning water feature in a smaller space. Although hanging fountains are a great way to make use of finite square footage, you’ll need to carefully plan how the water is routed.

A Waterfall

Waterfalls are perhaps the ultimate natural water feature. Combining the soothing energy of water with the energy of a falling stream, a tastefully appointed waterfall can be both visually and aurally pleasing. And creating a waterfall is not much more complicated than creating a stream; you’ll simply need to be mindful of the need to create changes in elevation along its path. That makes building a waterfall ideal for backyards with hills or gentle slopes.

A Splash Pad for the Kids

Splash pads are usually seen in parks, but building your own can add an element of fun to your backyard. Splash pads are considered kid-safe because of their lack of standing water. And just about the only sticking point is ensuring that you plan the splash pad around a surface that doesn’t become too slippery when wet. If your kids love running through sprinklers, they’ll love splash pads.

Turn Your Backyard into an Oasis with Outdoor Water Features

Suffice to say, water features can add to your yard in more than a few ways, you just need to find the right one for your particular environment. If you’re interested in exploring your options, start by finding a retailer to see how your ideas can fit into your budget. And if you’re thinking about planning a larger project, you may want to find a builder to help you bring your larger, more ambitious vision to life!