25 Refreshing Water Feature Ideas for Your Landscape

Make a splash in your garden by adding a water feature. Rippling water and soft sprays will make your backyard seem cooler, while giving it a calming feel. These fountains, bubblers, ponds, and more offer inspiration to match any style, ranging from naturalistic to modern.


Kritsada Panichgul


1. Small Rustic Water Garden

Add some farmhouse chic to your landscape with this simple backyard water feature. A wooden half-barrel pairs well with a weathered water pump as a fountain. Add a few small water plants such as water lettuce if you like.


Laurie Black


2. Subtle Yet Splashy Waterfall

A water feature doesn’t have to be a flashy embellishment in the center of your garden. A fountain with an organic finish like this stone one easily blends in with other outdoor elements. Install it near an outdoor seating area to get the most enjoyment out of it.


Matthew Benson


3. Modern Garden Pool

A narrow pool of water adds a bold element to any landscape. Here, the mostly monochromatic color scheme complements the sleek style of the water feature. Line the pool with repeating clusters of plants such as evergreens and hostas to create a relaxing, symmetrical spectacle.


Brie Williams


4. Romantic Wall Water Feature

Situate a vintage bistro or patio set near an inlaid wall water feature to create a cozy garden nook. Add plants around the fountain that take advantage of the vertical space and make a more inviting scene. It’s the perfect spot to relax with the sounds of splashing water or chat with a friend over coffee.


Kindra Clineff


5. Add a Little Art

Figurines and other sculptures can help set the mood of a formal garden design. As part of an outdoor water feature, they become can’t-miss focal points in the landscape.


Janet Loughrey


6. Natural Waterfall

If traditional fountains aren’t your thing, get back to nature. This waterfall created with large stones mimics what you might find in the wild. Complete the naturalistic look by adding native plants around this rugged water feature.


Kim Cornelison


7. Go with the Flow

If your yard has a natural slope, use it to your advantage. A hillside is the perfect place for adding a waterfall that trickles into a pond. Here, a dense mix of shade-loving plants and a small seating area complete this water feature.


Edmund Barr


8. Go Nontraditional

When you think of a backyard water feature, perhaps a bird bath or tiered fountain comes to mind. Break the mold with unique shapes or water sources like this shallow, half-circle pond. It offers wildlife a source of water while also providing the soothing sounds of splashing water.


Jon Jensen


9. Mixed Materials

Gardens are full of natural elements that can be used to create evocative decor. For example, this small backyard water feature combines several items found in nature: a carved stone basin and a bamboo spigot, accented with weathered wood and smooth rocks.


Kindra Clineff


10. Bring in a Bird Bath

If you’re looking for simple and low maintenance, a bird bath is an easy pick. Attract tons of birds (plus butterflies and other pollinators) by planting seedy flowers and native species nearby. Make sure to situate your bird bath where you can easily watch your winged visitors.


Laurie Black


11. Mix Form with Function

This pond with a covered outdoor seating area beside it provides a peaceful, welcoming vignette. Alternately, a stylish garden shed next to the pond could resemble a miniature lake house while also creating a handy place to stash tools and gear.


Kritsada Panichgul


12. Grow a Water Garden

Expand your repertoire of plants in your yard with a water garden. Beautiful aquatic blooms and fun foliage will be a focal point. Use a tub or a pond as the foundation which can be easily catered to your personal tastes.


Jon Jensen


13. Add a Splash of Color

For small backyards and patios, a simple garden water feature can still be eye-catching. This glazed ceramic dish and bowl hold just enough water to let sunlight glint off the surface. A glass ball in the basin offers a safe perch for insects and other wildlife that stop by for a drink.


Laurie Black


14. Walkway Water Feature

Placing your backyard water feature next to a path or steps makes it easy to admire it whenever you pass by. Here, a small waterfall trickles into a shallow pool. It’s the perfect environment for a few potted plants such as papyrus and canna that like constant moisture.


Ed Gohlich


15. Don’t Forget the Details

Small details can add visual interest to a big, bold water feature. For example, a closer look at this fountain reveals delicate patterns around the simple faucet that can be admired from the nearby seating area.


Ed Gohlich


16. Japanese Garden Inspiration

An above-ground bubbler fountain offers soothing sounds in this tranquil Japanese garden-inspired vignette. Plants with interesting leaves such as Japanese maple, liriope, and clumping bamboo also contribute authenticity to the Zen scene.


Laurie Black


17. Barrel of Joy

A repurposed metal drum makes a simple, sturdy water feature. Water pouring from the spout onto rocks below makes soothing sounds. Placing red, orange, and tan hued plants around it makes a beautiful color echo with the natural rust color of the barrel.


Carson Downing


18. Create a Centerpiece

A focal point helps pull a garden space together, and a water feature makes an especially appealing one. In this backyard, a fountain serves as a stunning centerpiece in a circular bed packed with blooming perennials and groundcovers.


Kritsada Panichgul


19. Figure It Out

Enhance your water garden or pond with a small figurine. You can either use it as a stand alone piece of art, or rig it up to serve as a spout for a stream of water like this fish figurine. Let your personal style show by going with a cute or classy selection, or something in between.


Bob Stefko


20. Work in Whimsy

A unique decoration around the spigot of a fountain can elevate an otherwise simple outdoor water feature. Here, a fish-like creature adds an element of whimsy that draws the eye.


Ed Gohlich


21. Burst with Bubbles

A fountain doesn’t need to have a big splashy spray. A more subtle bubbler also creates a soothing atmosphere as water gurgles and trickles from it. This one’s simple round basin fits in easily among colorful plants.


Sherry Lubic


22. Stream Water Feature

Add graceful lines to your backyard with a gentle stream and walkway. The wooden footpath mimics the curve of the water’s edge to soften the look of the backyard oasis. Create visual interest with a mixture of foliage and flowers such as water lilies.


Jon Jensen


23. Go Vertical

Dress up a blank wall in your backyard with a vertical outdoor water feature. Here, a stone fountain serves as an elegant focal point against a vine-covered trellis.


Janet Loughrey


24. For the Birds

Real birds visiting your outdoor water feature is always a delight, but artificial ones can be equally delightful. This stone pond and fountain would be beautiful enough on its own, but a pair of crane statues truly completes the scene.


Laurie Black


25. A Taste of Modernism

The geometric shapes and moody hues of this outdoor water feature add modern flair to a landscape. A gentle fountain in the center creates ripples as water trickles down the sides. An adjacent concrete planter echoes the shape and tone of the fountain’s base for pleasing continuity.