Tips on Waterfall Construction and Natural Waterfall Rock Placement

Question: I’m building and in the middle of a waterfall construction project, do you have any advice on where to place the landscaping rocks to create the best look and most natural waterfall rock placement. Jim, Miami, FL.

Answer: It’s easy to get things going pretty fast in a waterfall construction project only to have the brakes come on when the rocks come in.

When creating the look of a natural waterfall, rock placement can become a real test of your design skill.

As in most art forms, which include landscape projects look at your focal point, which will most likely be the largest rocks in the landscape you want to feature.

It’s not just size of the rocks or boulders but also their shape, texture, and relationship to other elements in the waterfall. Make your waterfall an extension and expression of you.

Place rocks in an interesting pattern for their visual effect but also the audio effect as water splashes over them and into the pond.

Natural Landscape – Not Perfect

Nature doesn’t work in a balance where things are always grouped in two’s. Visualize the placement of your waterfall elements in a triangle pattern.

When placing objects try to space them out on three sides, giving randomness to the landscape and not "perfect balance." But don’t go overboard!

Don’t place all the large stones and boulders on one side and tall landscape trees on the other. It doesn’t look natural and it isn’t good design.

When placing rocks or plants in the landscape — stop — step back — give the waterfall a good look, analyze what you’re doing. Ask yourself if it looks like it flows. Is it a little heavy on one side? Does it look natural or man-made?


From experience I can tell you stepping back every so often will save you countless hours of reworking the design in progress, instead of waiting until the end.

Just as in nature, it takes time. The goal isn’t to lay as many rocks as possible but to create natural look. Breaking you waterfall construction site into sections can help you evaluate areas as you move forward.

There are no rules but try to make each area of you waterfall interesting to look at from many vantage points.

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