It really does seem that humans are just hard wired for waterfalls – a visit to the natural falls is often the highlight of any outdoors trip, and artificial waterfalls can be the difference between a regular experience or something completely unforgettable, whether it’s inside a restaurant, front yard, or installed next to a nice backyard pool!

If you have been considering adding a waterfall to your in-ground pool, or are curious about the process, this should help you understand if you want one, what to expect, and what to think twice about before committing.

An artificial waterfall usually connects to a swimming pool and is sometimes called a grotto. Usually the terms are interchangeable, and these waterfalls share several common features:

  • A pool waterfall starts above the pool’s waterline
  • Water flows over the “fall” into the powered pumps
  • Functional waterfalls will need some regular extra maintenance

Pool waterfalls are very versatile, and offer lots of customization between the shape, size, design, and material construction. Some builders can install a waterfall from molded concrete, but it is usually made with a material like brinks, rocks, or other artificial materials. These waterfalls use powered pumps to pull water to the top, which is called the spillway, and allow for it to pour down. Some waterfalls are built around the ground level, making the artificial waterfall part of the pool structure itself. Others are designed to look down over the pool instead, or be used from raised walls.

Despite how they are designed, all artificial waterfalls require pumps to pull water upwards against gravity. They can be integrated into other places, such as tanning ledges or spas as well. Should you opt for an integrated waterfall, you may lose some of the aesthetics, but you will find they are often more functional than stone waterfalls. 

What Are The Pros Of Pool Waterfalls?

Here are some of the most important benefits to a waterfall:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Therapeutic sounds
  • Ability to block background noises when in operation
  • Water circulation, offering cooling effects and improved filtration
  • Increased play area when properly designed
  • Added value to home

The active noises of a waterfall help to muffle the less enjoyable background noises, like traffic or the chirping of birds. If you’re a person prone to overthinking, the simple sound of moving water may help you tap into your brain a bit better! Not only does the pump moving water cause it to cool off, but it also keeps gunk and things like algae from growing in your pool. Because a waterfall can be connected to your filtering system, it can add extra circulation to help keep your pool clean and clear.

Falling water from the waterfall helps to oxygenate your pool, which removes harmful particles and limits the growth of algae. Although it isn’t a replacement for a primary system, it can help to extend the lifespan of your pool overall and reduce chemical usage. Larger pool waterfall installations may even have the opportunities to install entertainment features, like unique lighting or sound systems. Just remember, the more features you pack in, the more expensive it will be overall!

How Expensive Are Waterfalls?

In general, a simple cascade-style waterfall can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 based on the size and location. Cascade waterfalls are the type to create a strip of falling water, and they don’t often include any kind of decorative structure. That said, if you are set on a grotto-style waterfall, the cost will increase by about 15% and may come with additional operation costs due to pump installations. For an elevated waterfall to overlook the pool, you may expect to spend no less than $5,000. The sky’s the limit with your design options, and you can construct about anything you can imagine!