Garden wall water feature ideas: 11 designs to boost the sensory appeal of your plot

Our edit of garden wall water feature ideas will soon get you inspired for one of your own, whatever your backyard's style

garden wall water feature ideas
(Image credit: Tom Howard Garden Design)

Garden wall water feature ideas are some of our favorite ways to bring water into a plot. Particularly well-suited to contemporary spaces, they always feel stylish and provide a spectacular and soothing focal point.

The other great thing about this style of water feature is that it doesn't take up much floor space, so is ideal for less-than-large backyards. It's also a great way to transform otherwise blank retaining wall ideas (or, for that matter, normal garden walls), bringing movement and intriguing reflections to the scene.

It's no wonder they are becoming increasingly popular in garden design. And, once you've perused through this mix of ideas, you may even want one for yourself.

11 garden wall water feature ideas to boost your outdoor space

There is a garden wall water feature idea to suit every style of plot – our edit showcases some of our very favorite looks.

1. Create a focal point for your dining zone

outdoor living space with wall water feature by Consilium Hortus

A stylish scheme designed by Consilium Hortus

(Image credit: Consilium Hortus/Michelle Foulser)

A smart wall water feature can be a fabulous addition to your outdoor dining ideas as it will instantly elevate the view and the ambiance.

This garden uses a matching material for both the water feature and the nearby grill station for a harmonious result. 'We used the feature as a focal point to be viewed out of the client's new kitchen doors and to also anchor the design centrally with the kitchen and pergola either side,' explains Samuel Moore, director of garden design company Consilium Hortus.

2. Add intrigue with a mirrored water wall

water wall in garden

These types of water features are perfect for smaller plots

(Image credit: Francisco Martinez/Alamy Stock Photo)

Mirrored water walls are another stylish option. Try placing one in a courtyard and it will bounce the light around while tricking the eye into making a small garden look bigger. We especially love how this one has been surrounded by plenty of luscious planting which softens the scene. 

While it is possible to make water walls freestanding – allowing water to flow down the front and back faces – it is preferable to support, hang, or brace them on an existing wall, as advises David Harber. This way, your garden wall gets a chic makeover, too.

3. Bring playful stepping stones to the scene

stepping stone over stream with wall water feature in garden designed by Tom Howard

A beautiful garden designed by Tom Howard

(Image credit: Tom Howard Garden Design)

Extending your garden wall water feature ideas to flow into a rill across your backyard is a beautiful and modern approach. And, it's an effective way to define zones – such as a patio from a lawn. 

Stick to materials in a pared-down color palette, such as this cool gray scheme, then pick garden furniture to match for a cohesive and contemporary result. Adding stepping stone ideas into the mix will add a playful touch.

4. Embrace Corten steel

small pond with wall water feature

A petite pond can still create an impact

(Image credit: NEIL HEPWORTH/Alamy Stock Photo)

Corten steel has been a must-have garden material for a while now – popping up in edging, planters, and privacy screens in all sorts of landscaping schemes. It's to no surprise: the warm, rusted patina offers instant character, and it's super durable, too.

Here, Corten steel has been used for a small garden pond idea, made complete by a fuss-free yet elegant water blade. The result is a beautiful focal point for any patio space.

5. Use a contrasting backdrop for a striking effect

modern wall water feature in garden designed by Tom Howard

We love this modern look from garden designer Tom Howard

(Image credit: Tom Howard Garden Design)

Make your garden wall water feature ideas even more stand-out by opting for a backdrop that contrasts with the surroundings. This gray, textural stone really draws the eye and looks striking against the warmer hues.

The simple cascade of water sets a clean and considered tone as it falls into a neat pool, while nearby plants add a pop of bright greenery. If you're a fan of modern garden ideas, this is a perfect look to recreate.

6. Combine a retaining wall with a naturalistic waterfall

rockery waterfall in garden

Take inspiration from the natural landscape

(Image credit: R Ann Kautzky/Alamy Stock Photo)

Fancy a wilder approach? Consider bringing pond ideas with waterfalls into your backyard. It's a beautiful way to soften the appearance of retaining walls and recreate the essence of a natural landscape right on your own doorstep.

You could even extend the pond into a meandering stream that journeys throughout your plot. Add plenty of flowers and shrubs for extra color and life – doing so will encourage more wildlife to your garden, too. 

7. Make the most of your garden's levels

levelled garden with pergola and wall water feature

Add a water feature to a terraced plot

(Image credit: KeyWorded/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you have an awkward, sloping plot, you'll need some good tiered garden ideas to make the most of it. And this can provide a wonderful opportunity for wall water features.

This retaining wall water feature uses a much more structured approach than the waterfall design above, but that doesn't mean to say we don't love it, too. The contrast of natural stone and red brick adds to the eye-catching effect, while soft tufts of ornamental grasses frame it beautifully on either side. 

It's a fabulous way to mark the boundary of a pergola-covered seating space.

8. Opt for a simple spout

OASE spout in wall as garden water feature

This design is from OASE

(Image credit: OASE)

Keep it simple yet chic with a wall spout. Designs like these can be mounted on even narrower walls, and instantly add interest as they emit a smooth flow of water. 

Opt for a neat row of three along one side of your garden pond, or install one on either side of a more dramatic water feature for a balanced look. For extra appeal after dark, look for options with integrated LED lighting.

9. Double up for an eye-catching focal point

wall water feature

Colorful plants soften this scene

(Image credit: Joe/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you'd like something a little more unusual when it comes to your garden wall water feature ideas, a look like this will certainly turn heads.

The water flowing from the simple, metal piping creates a soothing view, while the concrete backdrop adds to the industrial-chic style. The purple foliage of heucheras along the top complements the set-up nicely.

10. Introduce plenty of planting

wall water feature with planting by Consilium Hortus

The Bounce Back Garden, designed by Consilium Hortus at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival 2021

(Image credit: Consilium Hortus/Michelle Foulser)

Here's another example that demonstrates how flowerbed ideas can be combined with a water feature for a stunning display. 

In this garden, the jewel-like blooms and lime-green grasses add a fresh and wild look. This works particularly well against the sleek wall installation, offering an appealing visual contrast in textures and tones.

Another factor that we love in this scene is the black-dyed pool. It's a modern approach and helps the planting colors to pop even more.

11. Integrate your water feature into a raised bed

double water feature in raised timber bed

Elevate a built-in planter

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Give your timber raised beds a whole new look with an integrated water feature. It's a great option for small spaces that need a little bit more pizzazz.

Fill the bed itself with structural foliage, or perhaps billowing blooms – whatever suits your style. Meanwhile, small, carefully-positioned spotlights will show off the soothing water cascades as night falls. 

Pair with decking ideas in a matching hue for a pulled-together look.

What are the benefits of a garden wall water feature?

Good garden wall water feature ideas have more benefits than one. 'For me, it's adding a focal point but also sound,' says garden designer Tom Howard. 'The sound of running water is incredibly calming. The reflective qualities of water features also add another dimension to the garden and can set off plants and complement hard landscaping.'

Samuel Moore agrees, saying how the sound can help to drown out the noise of neighboring roads. They also offer ambiance and movement to a design, he adds.

For these reasons, they're a lovely addition to sensory garden ideas.

modern wall water feature in paved space designed by Tom Howard

A modern patio, featuring a garden wall water feature, designed by Tom Howard

(Image credit: Tom Howard Garden Design)

How do garden wall water features work?

'This sort of water feature is fairly simple in theory,' says Tom Howard. He explains how they entail a trough in the ground, either formed using concrete (blocks and rendered) or from fabricated metal. 'A pump is placed in the water and a spiral hose feeds the water to the water blade,' he says. 

'All of the pipework is hidden behind the stone cladding, which is installed on a cement board with a wooden framework.'

water feature fountain from stone wall

This water blade features a subtle purple glow

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

How do you maintain a garden wall water feature?

These types of water features generally have a filter installed on the pump, explains Tom Howard. However, leaves and other debris will need clearing periodically. 

You can also use special water feature cleaning products to keep the water sparkling. Tom says how there are many eco and pet-friendly types available and you simply add them to the water once a week or so – whatever it says on the packet instructions.

Samuel Moore of Consilium Hortus adds that designs with reservoirs may need topping up from time to time as a result of evaporation on hot days or wind catching the water. 'The other thing to keep in mind is the color of the decorative stones,' he adds – that is if you're using them in your design. White ones will need cleaning at some point to keep them white; use dark stones if this is an issue.

In terms of water walls, 'if installed correctly, with a suitable filtration and softening package, then maintenance required is minimal,' says David Harber. 

'Typically, this would consist of draining the piece a few times a year, removing any debris, and refilling with fresh water. In areas of hard water or high salt content, the tank will need to be drained down more frequently as the concentration of salts in the water increases over time.'

Our dedicated guide has more tips on how to keep a water feature clean.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!