Water in motion engages our senses; It’s beautiful to look at, relaxing to hear, thrilling to touch, and restorative to our bodies and spirits. A swimming pool with a water feature or waterfall is a water-on-water experience that serves as a focal point and lures you into its environment. Just like other elements of your property, you want to choose water features that complement your home’s and pool’s architectural style. They should also fit within your budget and personal taste.

Think about proportion and scale when selecting a pool or spa water feature, making sure that a fountain or fixture is not too monumental for the size of your pool and yard. If it’s an existing pool, is the shape geometric or freeform? Rocks, real or faux, look best with curvilinear, naturalistic-shaped pools, while more simple architectural features enhance a modern or rectangular shape. Unless it is a very basic water feature, hire a pool builder, electrician, plumber, or pool technician to install a fountain or waterfall. 

Types of Water Features

Learn the different kinds of water features before shopping and consult a professional to make sure it’s logistically possible to install certain types; some just may not work with your pool, while others may create a water world beyond your imagination. The main types of features include:

  • Fountain: A wide range of styles are available, from spillovers to floating
  • Waterfall: Often built with rocks or boulders (real and faux) as part of naturalistic pool design, waterfalls are one of the most popular water features when paired with swimming pools. 
  • Water wall: Just like it sounds, a waterfall spills out from a horizontal spout placed on a tiled or decorative wall near the pool.
  • Rain curtain: A narrow and often wide sheet or curtain of water usually mounted on a wall, pergola roof, or overhang, that falls into the pool.
  • Scupper: Similar to a sconce, a scupper is a slot or spout that is attached to a wall or pedestal. Water flow styles include chute, trough, and sheet. 
  • Sheer descent: Appearing like a thin sheet of glass, this type of waterfall drops or forms an arc as it flows away from the pool wall. The opening of a sheer descent can range from half a foot to several feet wide. It is usually mounted flush with a top surface.
  • Sconce: A decorative element attached to pool walls out of which pour narrow streams of water. Sconces can be shapes, architectural pieces, urns, vessels, or characters, like animals.
  • Bubblers: Aka gushers, are small jets in the floor of a shallow surface of the pool that shoot streams of water that gurgle and bubble up; heights of the streams can be adjusted. 
  • Spillover spa: An integrated custom-designed spa that is raised above the pool, serving as a sort of utilitarian water feature as it spills or trickles into the swimming pool.
  • Deck jets: Often called a laminar or pencil jet, this type of water feature is installed into pool decking and shoots a narrow, arching stream of water into the pool. For additional fun and drama, deck jets can be illuminated with color-changing LED lights.
  • Mist: Fog and misting systems are designed to create a curtain of mist and can reduce temperatures by as much as 30°.
  • Statuary: Similar to a sconce in that a statue is usually figural–animal, fish, bird, or person. Water usually bubbles out or shoots a stream.

Source: The Spruce