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7 Steps For How To Build A Stream In Your Backyard

Let’s paint a little picture. You’re sitting in your backyard on a beautiful summer day, the sun is shining down on you and the birds are chirping.

There’s only one thing missing. The sweet sound of running water. So that’s it, it’s decided.

You want to build a stream in your backyard. You run inside and put on your workwear, grab a spade and attempt to get started!

And then you realise. You know nothing about building a stream. Well, look no further!

Read on to find out how to build a stream in your backyard in 7 simple steps! 

Design Your Stream 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

The first step to making your dream a reality is to design your stream. Here are some factors that are important when designing your stream: 

  • Decide on the ideal location for your stream. Ideally, the stream would be best located somewhere that is easily visible from inside your house, as well as from the area that you like to sit in your garden.
  • Decide how big or how small you want it to be. Be realistic about the size as the bigger the stream, the bigger the initial job and the maintenance of the stream is. 
  • If you want your stream to have a small waterfall, you may require a slope. This can be built up yourself using rocks or soil but it is easier if it is an already existent slope!

Draw Out The Boundary

Next, it is important to mark the boundary of the stream out in your yard. In order to do this, you can use gardeners’ pegs.

You could also use rope or string, or spray paint.

Usually, you would have a small pool of water at the top of your stream, leading down to a pond at the bottom of the stream.

Dig Out The Stream 

After this, you are ready to start the digging! This is probably the hardest part of the job as it requires some hot work.

7 Steps For How To Build A Stream In Your Backyard

You need to ensure that your stream is deep enough so that the pump you have chosen will be covered by the water.

Usually somewhere in between 6 and 12 inches is a good depth to go for.

If you want your stream to include a waterfall, you’ll need to have this depth. 

You need to make sure that you are creating a safe stream. If children are going to be in your garden, ensure that you put up appropriate fences to prevent any danger.

Ensure you supervise children in your garden at all times!

Lay Down Your Pond Liner

In order to line your stream, it is best to use a flexible pond liner.

This is durable and long lasting so can withstand the weather and rocks falling into it.

It is also flexible to work with the shape of your specific pond.

First, line the stream with a protective underlay to ensure that if the lining gets a puncture, the water won’t seep through.

It also prevents the liner from being punctured by existing rocks on the bottom of the stream.

Then, line the stream that you have dug out with one sheet of the pond liner and use rocks (see also ‘Why Pond Rocks Will Make You Love Your Pond Even More?‘)to hold the liner in place. This will also look decorative. 

Add Your Filter 

You will need to purchase a pump that is suitable for the size and depth of your stream.

This pump will be submersed at the bottom of your stream and works to pump the water up to the top of the waterfall.

Depending on the size of your stream, you will have to choose between a low powered, or a high powered pump.

The tubing can be led up to become the spout of the waterfall, or you can connect it to an external waterfall to create a more finished look.

Add Some Rocks To The Stream 

7 Steps For How To Build A Stream In Your Backyard

Adding rocks to the stream is a great way to manipulate the sound of the stream, as it runs over the rocks it changes the pitch of the water, making it much more enjoyable to sit and listen to the running water.

Adding rocks also makes the stream look more authentic and less man-made.

Another great way to make your stream look natural and fit in with the garden is to add stepping stones leading from one side of the stream to the other.

You could even add a small bridge depending on the size of your project!

Add Any Other Additions 

Finally, you can make any finishing touches that are needed to make your stream look complete.

Some people like to use the soil from the stream to build-up the sides of the stream so that the water won’t run out of the stream, and dirt won’t easily run in, causing dirty water and contamination.

Plants are also a fantastic addition to your project. Planting a range of different plants make the stream look more natural and blend into the landscape.

Grasses look great by the side of a stream, as do shrubs. If your pond is big enough, lily pads (see also ‘How Do You Get Rid Of Lily Pads From Your Pond Naturally?‘) look beautiful!

Plants also attract wildlife to your backyard. These shrubs attract wildlife such as frogs, dragonflies or birds. 

Final Thoughts 

Now you have all the information you need to build a stream in your backyard.

This is a great DIY project, which shouldn’t take you longer than a weekend to complete.

From the first time the thought enters your mind, it really isn’t that difficult to make possible, and before you know it, you’ll be sitting in your chair in the sunshine listening to the wonderful sounds of running water trickling through your backyard.

The bees and the dragonflies will be flying in and out of your garden.

So, once you’re done, invite your friends over for a BBQ and show off your manmade stream!

Before you know it, all your friends and neighbours will be asking you to build them a stream in their backyard!

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


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