Build a Pool Rock Waterfall in Four Steps

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
2x4-inch pieces of wood (as needed) for base supports and braces
Sheets of 3/4-inch plywood (as needed) for base walls
Nail gun
Heavy pond liner
Electric stapler
Waterproof sealant
Foam, boat dock
Real and fake stones
Type S mortar
Latex paint

Adding a rock waterfall to your existing pool is a great way to create an interesting focal point as well as increase the value of your property. The steps that follow will show you how to create your own waterfall easily and with minimal supplies.

Step 1 – Build a Base

The first thing your project needs is a sturdy base. Measure the width of the pool side where you want the waterfall to sit; then, decide how many levels you want the structure to be to determine the dimensions of your frame. For a higher fountain with more than one layer, it’s recommended to use wood.

Trim your 2x4 pieces of wood to the height that you need to use as legs, and then cut more for braces that will provide support. Cut the plywood to the dimensions you need to make shelves and water reservoirs as well as the sides and affix the pieces to the 2x4s. Make smaller pieces of 2x4s and secure them to divert the water toward the lips of the waterfall. You will also need to create a casing for the tubes to hide inside the waterfall.

When the structure is completed, move it in place at the edge of the pool and test that it sits level. Once you are satisfied, begin stapling the heavy pool liner over the wood until you can't see it.

Step 2 - Modify the Pool Pump

There is no need to purchase a separate pump as the pool will feed the fountain with some modification. Turn the pool pump off first. Attach a T-connector to the existing tubing, followed by a tube to the pump and another that will feed the waterfall. Have the tubing run to the second layer of the waterfall (if you have one) and secure. Place waterproof sealant around the tubes and joints to prevent leaking.

Step 3 - Form the Rock Structure

Now you can start giving the fountain character. Cut and place the dock Styrofoam around the wood base, shaping the pieces as you see fit to create the look you want. It can be useful to draft up a plan in advance for your overall look, so you can take some of the guess work out of these cuts.

When you're finished with the Styrofoam, start laying the real stone. Only use real stone to create the lip of the waterfall, as the water will destroy the Styrofoam over time. Fill out the rest of the structure with fake stones you can either purchase from your local home improvement store or make yourself.

Once you are satisfied with the overall form, wrap it with the metal lathe and then begin layering on the mortar. Build up the mortar however you want it and use your tools to create textures, pits, raises, and other elements. On the final level you can create cracks and grooves for realism.

Step 4 - Finish

Your waterfall’s finish is pretty much just dull concrete at the moment, so when the mortar is dry, you may paint the structure with textured latex exterior paint to give it a realistic look, but several layers will be needed for best results. After this point, you can add planters to make the rock fountain have more life as well as take attention off of noticeable pumps, tubes, etc.

When the paint is dry, turn the pool pump on. If everything is working properly, the waterfall will fill with water and then the water will trickle into the pool.