Successful Garden Fountains and Waterfalls Need a Good Water Pump

The sparkling water of an ornamental fountain or the murmur of a waterfall can bring magic to a garden, but the success of garden water features involving moving water depends ultimately on the pump. A suitable water pump can also help to keep an ordinary pool or pond clear and healthy for fish ponds and aquatic plants.

Choosing a suitable pump from the bewildering selection available is, therefore, most important. Here are some of the things to consider.

Pond Pump Applications

Submersible pond pumps may be used to operate garden fountains, streams or waterfalls, to filter garden ponds, to power free standing patio water features, or for self-contained indoor water ornaments.

Pump Capacity

This may be expressed as a measure of water flow (litres or gallons per hour), and/or “head”, the maximum height to which the pump will raise water.

For fountains, the head is the more significant measure, as it tells you how high the pump will throw water above the surface of the pond.

For a small ornamental fountain, a pump like Hozelock’s Cascade 450 (450 litres per hour) or Cascade 700, is quite sufficient to give a jet of water up to 60-75cm.

When building waterfalls, a much larger flow is needed. This will vary according to the height of the waterfall, the width of the channel and the volume of water crossing the fall.

As a guide, a pump like the Blagdon Amphibious P2000 pump (2000 litres per hour) is needed for even a small waterfall. 1500 liters per hour should be considered an absolute minimum, but it’s always better to install a pump with over-capacity and control the flow.

At the other extreme, a pump like the Hozelock Cascade 7000 with a 7000 litres (1310 gals) per hour flow will power a substantial waterfall.

The capacity for pumps intended primarily for filtration will depend on the size of the pool and its use, eg as a fish pond for pond plants, or for plain water.

Power Supply

Most pumps depend on a high voltage mains electricity supply. High voltage electricity near water poses a high risk unless properly installed, and wiring and installation should only be carried out by a competent electrician.

Some manufacturers like Hozelock and Lotus also offer a limited selection of low voltage pond pumps. These are safer for the DIY enthusiast to handle.

There are also an increasing number of solar powered pool pumps. However, these are naturally weather-dependent and only available for small capacity pumps. Some are entirely self-contained, others, like the Oase Nautilus Solar range, must be connected to a separate solar panel.


Any pump will help to aerate your pond, but a pump can also keep your pond clean and healthy if combined with filters to remove solid particles, and UV filters to destroy algae.

This used to be a complicated business, requiring separate filters, tubing, and connections installed alongside the pond.

Now several manufacturers produce fairly simple pump/filter kits, and the Hozelock Easyclear range actually combines the pump with solid and UV filters in a single compact unit.


Pumps are the vital component in creating many different water features. Most pumps come with a range of fittings for various uses, fountains etc.

For fountains, make sure that the fittings include a fountainhead which produces the effect you want, and that the head is firmly mounted on a tube of suitable length for the depth of your pool.

Installation and Maintenance

All pumps require periodic maintenance. Always consider the need for this when installing your pump.

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