Pool waterfall ideas: 10 stunning designs to elevate your backyard swimming pool

Pool waterfall ideas add character, style, and a soothing sound – we've rounded up our favorite looks to inspire you

pool waterfall ideas
(Image credit: TerryJ/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Planning a pool? Be sure to put some pool waterfall ideas on your list. Whether big or small, simple or elaborate, it's a reliable way to bring an extra sense of pizzazz to the scene.

You can introduce cascading water from naturalistic landscapes or sleek metal arches, across the entrance of a grotto, or to merge one pool to the next. There is a waterfall to suit any pool idea. And not only do they look spectacular, adding extra height and movement to the space, but they also provide other benefits – the soothing sound, for instance.

If you're installing a brand new pool or looking to give yours an update with one of these features, the first step is to find the right design for you. To help you get inspired, we've brought together lots of gorgeous pool waterfall ideas for you to peruse, and perhaps recreate.

10 ways to turn your plot into a paradise with pool waterfall ideas

You'll find all sorts of looks in our edit of pool waterfall ideas, to suit all styles of plots.

1. Install a trio of waterfalls into your wall

trio of waterfalls in pool

A simple yet effective style

(Image credit: moodboard/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

A well-known tip when it comes to all things design is going for odd numbers rather than even; it's more pleasing to the eye. And by looking at this trio of waterfalls, we'd have to agree that it certainly makes a stunning statement.

Cascading directly from the raised wall, it's a clean and considered pool landscaping idea – perfect for those who prefer a more contemporary style. The potted plants neatly positioned above each offer additional color and form, drawing the eye around the space and to the elegant palms beyond.

2. Merge your hot tub with your pool using a spillway

swimming pool with hot tub and waterfall

Elevate your home spa experience

(Image credit: DougBennett/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

If you've been considering hot tub ideas for your backyard, then here's a beautiful set-up to inspire you.

Positioning the tub near the pool makes it easy to get from one to the other. Plus, it provides the wonderful opportunity for a waterfall feature in-between. All you need is a slightly lowered lip on one edge.

It's the perfect addition if you're after a soothing, spa-like scene. But why stop there? This pool also includes a more naturalistic waterfall to one side, too, which offers a beautiful focal point with its mixture of rocks and nearby plants.

3. Mark the entrance of a grotto

swimming pool waterfall with fire pit

Give your backyard a sense of adventure and discovery

(Image credit: TerryJ/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Grottos are a super fun feature to add to a pool and are loved by all ages. Journeying through a wall of water to reach a calming, cave-like nook will evoke a sense of playful adventure in anyone. And these structures look fantastic too.

For an even more impressive display, dot fire bowls nearby – you'll feel as if you're in your own private jungle-like paradise in no time.

4. Go for streamlined styles

waterfall by pool and pool house

An elegant approach

(Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future)

If you prefer a more pared-down approach when it comes to pool waterfall ideas, maybe something like this would be a better match for your plot. Sleek and structural, metal styles like this are a popular option for adding just a little more excitement and interest to even the simplest of pools. 

Pair with an elegant pool house, some of the best garden furniture, and smart paving or decking underfoot and you'll have a scene that's ready for relaxation in style.

5. Take inspiration from nature

swimming pool with waterfall

Transform your pool with rock waterfalls

(Image credit: TerryJ/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Get back to nature with a rockery-style waterfall like this one. It's a gorgeous look that will instantly soothe the senses.

Be sure to opt for an organic, freeform shape for the pool itself, and add plenty of plants around the edge. And, with the addition of pool lights, the scene will continue to impress even once the sun sets.

If you like the idea of a more organic approach, you may even choose to opt for a natural pool instead. These designs have zero chemicals, lots of aquatic plants, and look fabulous all year-round.

6. Go for a contemporary design

modern waterfall with pool

Complement a modern backyard with a structural waterfall

(Image credit: TerryJ/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

This look is at the other end of the spectrum compared to the more naturalistic design above, but that's not to say that we don't love it. Again, the rule of three applies, this time with a neat row of scuppers protruding from a stylish mosaic wall.

Here, it adds an eye-catching focal point that is enhanced by the height. But, it could also double up as a handy screen if you're looking to add a bit more privacy to your pool.

The paving idea here has caught our attention, too – it's a great way to mix up the textures for a modern effect.

7. Combine a waterfall with a raised planter

outdoor pool with waterfall designed by Polytherm

A contemporary pool designed by Polytherm

(Image credit: Polytherm)

If you look closely at this pool, you'll notice how the waterfall has been built into a smart raised bed topped with lots of greenery. This is a lovely way to bring more color and life into the space and offers a degree of shelter, too. Plus, it will attract more pollinators to your plot, particularly if you fill it with bee-friendly plants.

We also like the mirrored detail which adds an intriguing element to hold your interest. Meanwhile, the bold red furniture adds a fun color pop to the scene.

8. Add a slide

swimming pool with waterfall and slide

Up the fun factor

(Image credit: contrastaddict/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Looking for a pool feature that fits with your family garden ideas? A slide is a great option. This rustic design complements the surrounding landscape and will provide hours of fun, and of course, it doubles up as a waterfall too, in its own sort of way.

A smaller waterfall sits alongside for good measure, adding to the visual appeal. And we love how the theme extends around the pool with the use of boulders overlapping the edges.

9. Double up the effect

swimming pool waterfall

The perfect base for a pool party to remember

(Image credit: slobo/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

This scene has plenty to impress. With the addition of multiple levels, pools, and waterfalls, plus a backdrop of trees, you can create a space that's reminiscent of a peaceful mountain lagoon – all in the comfort of your own backyard.

There are lots of different zones to explore, and it's ideal for a pool party – your guests will never want to leave!

Looking for more pool design ideas? Our guide has lots more inspiration and advice.

10. Add bridges and fountains to the scene

swimming pool with waterfalls and pergola nearby

A slice of paradise, right on your doorstep

(Image credit: Danita Delimont/Alamy Stock Photo)

This pool and the surrounding pool patio ideas offer a Mediterranean vibe with the warm-toned stone, luscious planting, and wooden pergola adorned with foliage.

A gentle waterfall and fountain add bags of appeal to the hot tub, while a second waterfall – a spillway – allows it to merge into the larger pool below. We adore the stone bridge detail here too, which defines a tranquil seating space and makes it a real destination spot.

What are the different types of pool waterfalls?

Just as there are many swimming pool shapes to choose from, there is also a good variety of pool waterfall ideas to consider.

These include rock waterfalls, rain waterfalls, cascade waterfalls, curtain waterfalls, and water walls, as says Stewart Vernon, Co-Founder and COO of America's Swimming Pool Company (ASP). One of the main differences between these is how the water appears. For instance, rain waterfalls fall in a more relaxed, natural way – just like rain from the sky – while curtain waterfalls offer a seamless sheet of water that falls from a ledge. 

You can also have spillways between bodies of water, bubbling fountains, or even jets that arc across areas of your pool. There's a real chance to get creative when it comes to choosing the best waterfall for you.

If you need a hand, Stewart recommends hiring a professional to discuss your preferences and design. They can then install the perfect waterfall for you and your family to make new memories around.

swimming pool with waterfall

Combine different types of waterfalls to layer up the visual interest

(Image credit: Elena Elisseeva/Alamy Stock Photo)

How do pool waterfalls benefit a pool?

'Aside from the obvious aesthetic appeal, pool waterfalls help to enhance your pool's filtration and act as a noise barrier,' explains Stewart Vernon.

'Adding a waterfall helps aid the circulation of water which prevents sediments from settling into your pool's foundation. Meanwhile, this constant movement creates purifying negative ions that can help absorb more oxygen, sanitize the pool, and prevent algae from forming.' Because of this, it's a great tool to help with pool maintenance.

'Waterfalls also add an element of white noise to your pool space, helping transform your backyard into a relaxing oasis,' Stewart adds. 'Installing a pool waterfall can even add value to your home, considering its aesthetic appeal.'

swimming pool with waterfalls

An elegant cascading waterfall perfectly suits this space

(Image credit: Dan Forer/The Image Bank Unreleased/Getty Images)

How do pool waterfalls work?

'Waterfalls are installed by adding powered pumps that pull water upwards to the pool's surface,' says Stewart Vernon. 

'The pump uses surrounding air to push water through the pipes and this air forces pool water to rise through the spout. This functions to primarily circulate water throughout the swimming pool.'

waterfall trio in swimming pool

Lighting will add to the magical effect at nighttime

(Image credit: Jrstock/Alamy Stock Photo)

What is the average cost to install a pool waterfall?

'The ballpark cost of adding a waterfall to your pool depends on the size and materials needed, as well as the intricacies of the design, but this type of project on average ranges between $1,000 and $10,000,' says Stewart. That's around £755–£7,553.

The cheapest way to achieve a pool waterfall is by purchasing and installing a kit. These tend to cost around $450 to $3,400 (the equivalent of £340–£2,568), according to HomeAdvisor.com. These include all the materials you need to complete the DIY project, which should take one to two days to complete.

On the other hand, custom grottos and faux rock features are on the high end of the scale when it comes to costs. Compare quotes from a few select pool companies to get the best price.

You can find more info on landscaping costs in our feature.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

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.