The Cost Of Backyard Waterfall Installation: What You Need To Know

Waterfall feature installed by Grass Roots

Are you thinking about adding a backyard waterfall to your outdoor space? Are you wondering how much it costs to get a backyard waterfall installation? If so, you are in the right place!

A backyard waterfall is a beautiful addition to any home. The sound of cascading water is soothing, and the sight of a waterfall can add a touch of rustic charm to your outdoor space. But before you start planning your dream oasis, it’s important to be aware of the cost associated with installing a backyard waterfall.

In this blog post, we will discuss the average cost of backyard waterfall installation nationally and in the greater Detroit area, including what factors come into play when calculating the total cost. By the end of this blog post, you will have a good idea of how much you can expect to pay for a backyard waterfall so you can budget for your new backyard addition accordingly.

Keep reading to learn about backyard waterfall costs!

The Cost Of Backyard Waterfall Installation

Per professional waterfall installers Just Add Water, the cost to install a pondless waterfall starts at $4,500 and can go as high as $150,000. The wide price range is due to the many factors, including size, complexity, and whether you opt to get a pondless waterfall or incorporate it into a larger water feature like a pond.

For example, a water feature with a 10 to 20-foot long stream, 3 to 5 waterfalls, and a total drop of 2 to 4 feet will typically run you between $10,000 and $20,000. Slightly more complex features will run between $40,000 and $60,000, and premium waterfall features can get as high as $150,000.

Before we dive into the specific factors that can increase the cost of a backyard waterfall, let’s take a moment to look at the average cost of backyard waterfalls in Detroit and the surrounding areas, including Ann Arbor.

Backyard Waterfall Costs In Detroit

Custom backyard waterfall

According to HomeAdvisor, a waterfall with a pool or pond in the Detroit area can run as little as $450 for a small DIY kit to as much as $18,000 for a large grotto-style installation with extra features such as customized lighting. On the other hand, a small, basic pondless waterfall–which flows into a reservoir under the ground instead of a pond–typically costs $1,500 to $5,000 plus.

One caveat to keep in mind with HomeAdvisor’s cost data is that it tends to skew toward the low-end because that is the type of waterfall installation that most people get. In other words, the waterfall installations that Home Advisor is basing their cost averages on tend to be smaller and of lower quality than what a custom waterfall contractor would build for you.

High-End Backyard Waterfall Costs

Unlike DIY waterfall kits and other types of low-end waterfall installations, we at Grass Roots Pond & Garden pride ourselves on building all of our custom pondless waterfall installations by hand and using only premium materials and components.

We have three tiers of pondless waterfall installations: basic, average, and high-end:

Basic Waterfall Cost: $8,000+

Our basic backyard waterfall installations start at $8,000 and include an 18-inch high waterfall with a 6-foot stream. This level of water feature also includes rocks, stones, and all the appropriate plumbing–including a high-quality Aquascape pump (more on that later).

Average Waterfall Cost: $15,000+

Our average-sized backyard waterfall installation includes a 24-inch waterfall with a 15-foot-long stream. Again, this also includes rocks and stones, as well as all the appropriate plumbing and pump.

High-End Waterfall Cost: $30,000+

Our highest tier of outdoor waterfall installation includes a 3-foot-high waterfall with a 26-foot stream. This also includes a custom rock and stone installation with all the appropriate plumbing to keep the water flowing.

Cost Factors

Beautiful waterfall feature constructed by Grass Roots

Here are some key factors that will affect the cost of installing a backyard waterfall:


The size of your backyard waterfall is one factor that will determine how much it will cost. Generally speaking, larger outdoor waterfalls tend to cost more than smaller ones because they require more materials and labor.

And while there are many other variables that can change the cost of a waterfall, the following breakdown of waterfall costs by size may help you get a better sense of how size can impact the cost:

  • Less than 3 square feet: $100-$1,000
  • Less than 12 square feet: $250-$10,000
  • Greater than 12 square feet: $1,000-$20,000


What type of design do you want for your waterfall? Do you prefer a natural look or a more modern one? Natural waterfalls typically have several levels and give off a rustic vibe, whereas modern ones tend to feature fewer levels with clean lines and sharp edges.

The complexity of your backyard waterfall design will affect the cost. If you choose a simple design, it will be less expensive than a more complex one. For example, if you want multiple levels or cascading streams in your waterfall design, it will likely be more expensive than if you stick with a single waterfall drop.

Some designs are simple and straightforward, while others may require custom masonry work. This will affect both the amount of labor needed as well as the number of materials used.  


There are many different types of waterfalls, including pre-formed and custom-built.

Pre-formed waterfalls: Pre-formed or readymade waterfalls are less expensive than custom-built ones because they require less labor to install. Pre-formed waterfalls are usually what you get if you purchase a waterfall kit for a DIY installation. They are typically made out of rigid plastic. This type of waterfall can cost as little as $100.

Custom-built waterfalls: Custom-built waterfalls can be designed to fit any space and can be made from a variety of materials. This type of waterfall includes anything built by a water feature contractor and the prices vary depending on your customization options. Custom-built waterfalls usually fall into one of the three major types of backyard waterfalls: pondless waterfalls, pool waterfalls, or pond waterfalls.

Pondless waterfalls: Also known as dry or disappearing waterfalls, these are designed to look like a normal waterfall without the need for a body of water beneath it. This is a low-maintenance option perfect for those not wanting to deal with the cleaning and care that comes along with having an actual pond in their backyard. Pondless waterfalls are available in varying sizes but are especially ideal for small spaces.

A pondless waterfall recirculates the water, using a pump underground and rocks and gravel to filter it before sending it back up to create the surprisingly realistic effect of flowing water on your property. Keeping in mind that there are many other factors that can push the total cost higher, the average cost of these features typically ranges from $100-$5,000, according to Fixr.

Pool waterfalls: As the name suggests, this type of waterfall is designed so the water flow is directed into a backyard pool. According to Fixr, this type of waterfall can cost anywhere from $250 to $15,000.

Pond waterfalls: These types of outdoor waterfalls are designed to flow into a pond. Again, depending on your specific situation, this waterfall can cost anywhere from $250 to $20,000, according to Fixr.

Who You Hire

Who you hire to install your waterfall can make all the difference in terms of both quality and price. Professional contractors who specialize in building these features will typically charge more than someone who does not have specialized experience or training in the area.

Always make sure that any contractor you hire is licensed and insured in order to protect yourself from potential issues down the line. You should also ask for references from past clients before making any commitments. 

If you want a high-end waterfall, you will need to hire a professional in order to get the premium appearance and functionality of that level of waterfall. And if you’re interested in building your own waterfall, be sure to check out our guide to building a pondless waterfall.

Where You Live

The cost of installing a waterfall can vary depending on where you live due to local labor rates, material costs, and other factors such as the availability of contractors in your area. Generally speaking, you will pay more for a custom waterfall installation in an urban area than you would in a rural area.

The cost of labor will also vary from city to city. If you live in a city with a higher cost of living, then you can expect to pay more for the labor required to install a backyard water feature.


The brand of waterfall components used–such as the pumps, pipes, and reservoir–will also impact the final cost of a backyard waterfall. Higher-end brands tend to offer better quality materials but they also come at a higher price point than generic brands or knockoffs might offer.

Some water feature installers will use low-end components that may cost less upfront but won’t last as long, causing headaches for the homeowner down the line. Here at Grass Roots Pond & Garden, we take pride in the fact that we only use high-quality components from Aquascape, the premier manufacturer of pond products.


Backyard waterfall with a lighting upgrade

Upgrading certain aspects of your design can drive up costs as well; for example, adding LED lights or special filters for a koi pond. Adding these upgrades will increase the overall cost of installation.Β Some popular upgrades we commonly install include:

  • Aquatic Plants
  • Driftwood Waterfall
  • LED Lighting
  • Spillway Bowls
  • Container Fountains
  • Autofill Features
  • Water Bowls
  • Bubbling Urns
  • Landscaping
  • Streams
  • Additional Waterfalls
  • Statues
  • Premium Rocks/Filters
  • Mystery/Hidden Waterfalls

Rock Choice

The type of rock that is used in constructing your waterfall will also have an impact on its overall cost since different rocks have different prices associated with them depending on availability and rarity, among other factors.

For instance, river rocks are usually much cheaper than polished stones since they are easier to find and don’t require additional processing after being quarried from their source location.

Let Grass Roots Pond & Garden Build Your Backyard Waterfall Oasis

Backyard waterfalls offer homeowners an escape from their daily lives while adding beauty and value to their homes at the same time. As we discussed above, there are many factors that come into play when determining how much it’ll cost, including size, complexity, type, who you hire, where you live, brand selection, upgrades added on top of basic installation requirements, and rock choice. Taking all these into account will help you make an informed decision about what your project might cost.

If you’re ready to take the plunge on creating your own backyard getaway–or just have questions about the potential cost and process–please don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form! We look forward to helping bring your dream space to life.