Pool Waterfalls Design Guide

Waterfalls are a great feature addition to any swimming pool and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Below, I’ll walk through the main pros and cons of having a waterfall in your pool design, the types of waterfalls you can install, give you some design inspiration, and offer some advice on how to get started if you want to have a waterfall feature in your next swimming pool.

Main Benefits

Outside of the obvious ambiance, there are a number of benefits of having a waterfall feature in your pool.

Water Circulation

Waterfalls help keep water moving throughout your pool, which helps keep your water clean. Working in tandem with your pool pump, the additional airflow and circulation helps evenly distribute chemicals throughout your pool and move water through your filtration system.

Temperature Regulation

If you live in an especially hot climate, waterfalls are almost a necessity in your pool. The constant moving water introduces more oxygen which helps cool down the average water temperature in your pool, helping you stay relaxed in the baking hot sun.

Sound Blocking

The calming rush of water flowing through your waterfall acts as a natural noise barrier to other sounds around you. Whether your neighbors are too loud on the weekends, you live near a busy street, or you simply want some privacy from potential eavesdroppers, a waterfall can help drown out the noise and create a very calming environment.

Aesthetics

Waterfalls are simply beautiful structures when built appropriately. The variety in design concepts, materials you can use, and where you place the waterfall in your pool structure are nearly endless. A good waterfall can help your pool stand out among everyone else. Personally, I’m a fan of using natural stone to construct waterfalls – it blends in with the surrounding landscape very well.

Watch Outs

Here are some of the potential drawbacks of waterfalls that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Additional Maintenance

As with any additional water features that you add to your pool, a waterfall adds more maintenance tasks to your regular to-do list. If you are using stone, calcium and mineral deposits can build up at the base of the rocks that you’ll want to clean out regularly. Watch out for chemical erosion of stones as well.

Installation Cost

Waterfalls obviously add additional cost to your initial pool design and installation. Depending on the materials you use and design complexity, adding a waterfall could cost you anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 on top of the cost for the rest of the pool.

Okay, let’s get into some design concepts.

Pool Waterfall Design Ideas

This is a pool I built a few years ago. I love the natural stone that leads from the spa area to the main portion of the pool. It blends really well with the surrounding landscaping.

Here is a smaller, different style waterfall on a pool I built years ago. It trickles off some large boulders at the back of the pool to give it a natural spring sound and feel.

This pool builder took a very elaborate approach to their waterfall, designing it into a foot bridge across the pool and a small grotto area under some large boulders. Image courtesy of NextLuxury.com.

This extravagant Spanish style home took a tiered approach to their waterfall feature, falling into subsequent pools down to their patio. Thanks to Premier Pools and Spas for the photo.

Here is an example of a large rock waterfall with massive boulders holding up the structure. I really like the stairs leading up behind the water feature, which likely ends at a secret lounging area. Image courtesy of thesynergists.org.

This pool designer combined a waterfall feature with a tiled water wall (also known as an infinity wall). They have two waterfalls – one in the lower pool and one in the upper pool. Image courtesy of 24hplans.com.

A popular combination for large pool designs is a waterfall and slide together. This pool also has a small grotto area underneath the waterfall and extends the waterfall along the entire back wall. Image courtesy of designingidea.com.

I love the natural look of this waterfall feature, which backs up to a lot of green landscaping.

Installing a Waterfall In Your Pool

Waterfalls are really tough to “bolt on” to an existing pool design or do it yourself. If you want one, make sure to discuss it with your pool builder during the initial design phase of your pool installation. Make sure to discuss with them your preferences on:

  • Materials: Natural stone, polished granite, or something else?
  • Size: Do you want a massive water feature or simply an accent to your pool?
  • Location: Should it be a central feature or an “escape” in your corner of your structure?

Building a New Pool?

If you’re still looking for the right builder, we partner with HomeAdvisor who curates the best pool builders across the country to help you find the right person for the job. All you have to do is fill out their quick HomeAdvisor quote form and they’ll be in touch with their recommendations based on your location and preferences.


Questions? Shoot us a note and we’ll be happy to help.

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