The 3 Different Types Of Water Features Perfect For Backyards

The only Master Aquascape Certified Contractors in Iowa

The 3 Different Types Of Water Features Perfect For Backyards

These Are The Low-Maintenance Water Features Our Clients In Des Moines Choose Between Or Combine

It’s a great idea to explore your options for backyard water features! Not everyone wants the same look for their home.

In this post, you can find out what the different types of water features for backyards are. You can also find out what makes them low-maintenance, their pros and cons, and see pictures of projects clients have had us do.

Fantastic Idea!

“I have one every so often,” smiles Adam.

Angela laughs. “Don’t get too full of yourself, sir. Sure, getting one of the different types of water features for our backyard is a good idea. But, it doesn’t mean you can go and get a big head.”

Adam chuckles, rolling his eyes. “Fine, fine, you’re right. But, you really like the idea, right? The low-maintenance part’s pretty attractive.”

Angela nods excitedly. “It sounds fun and unique! I’m not sure about the low-maintenance part though. Or how much it costs to build and maintain a koi pond.”

Adam shrugs. “I don’t know enough to be able to tell you anything.” Angela frowns then gets her phone out. “Then we can turn to Google for answers! We can at least find pros and cons.”

“While we’re doing this, let’s see if we can find any pictures of projects near us,” suggests Adam. “Maybe we’ll find something really good and someone who can create what we want.”

Here’s what the couple discovers:

The 3 Different Types Of Water Features

The three different types of water features for backyards are koi ponds, pondless, and fountains. Pondless water features include streams and waterfalls. Fountains come in a wide array of styles and sizes. Depending on who builds them, and how, they can be low-maintenance and beautiful.

You can combine these three features in any way, such as putting fountains near the top of a stream that waterfalls into a koi pond.

What Makes A Water Feature Low-Maintenance

Each of the different types of water features has a certain level of maintenance.

For koi ponds, you’ll only have a few minutes of cleaning per week. This is usually just clearing the skimmer baskets of debris.

You’ll need a pond contractor for the deeper koi pond maintenance processes. These are deeper cleanings that ready your water feature for the season. Koi ponds need at least one per year.

This is only possible if, like us, you build ecosystem koi ponds. They’re built to mimic a natural pond, including the natural filters. They keep themselves clean and clear so you don’t have to!

Pondless water features have even less maintenance. There’s less water and they’re easier to clean. They might need one bigger cleaning per year.

Fountains are easy to clean unless they get really dirty. Then it might take a contractor’s fountain cleaning process to restore it to its original condition.

Koi Ponds For Backyards

A question people frequently ask us is what exactly our koi ponds are.

A koi pond is a body of water that houses koi fish. You can find koi ponds in the backyards of homes all across the world. We build ecosystem koi ponds for our clients in and around Des Moines. You can make them a small water feature or a big one.


  • Ecosystem koi ponds are set up so that they basically care for themselves. This means less work and more enjoyment for you
  • Bring the relaxing sight and sound of running water to your home
  • Drown out some of that road or other noise
  • Have a beautiful and unique feature for your home
  • Entertaining for kids and pets (we can make pet and child-friendly features)


  • You need to do a few minutes of maintenance a week. You also need to hire a professional to clean it at least once per year
  • Algae can form and you’ll need to clean it or hire someone to
  • Usually takes up more space than other water features
  • More costly to build
*Koi fish are optional and are handled completely by the client.

Pondless Water Features

You can choose or combine streams and waterfalls.

These water features either have a small basin of water or a gravel bottom. It has water running through it but it doesn’t have the pond part.


  • Smaller than ponds
  • Require even less maintenance
  • Not as costly as a pond
  • Bring the relaxing sight and sound of running water to your home
  • Drown out some of that road or other noise
  • Have a beautiful and unique feature for your home
  • Already entertaining and safe for kids and pets


  • Still needs the occasional maintenance

Fountains For Backyards

There are several different styles and sizes of fountains. A few of them include:

  • Spillway bowls
  • Urns
  • Stacked slate urns
  • Drilled atural rock
  • Basalt columns

And more!


  • Usually the least costly
  • Bring the relaxing sight and sound of running water to your home
  • Drown out some of that road or other noise
  • Have a beautiful and unique feature for your home
  • Easier to maintain



  • Still needs the occasional maintenance

You May Also Like To Read

“These look amazing! I’d love to have one of these small backyard water features for our home,” says Adam. “Maybe we can!” says Angela. “Let’s look for more information on this blog and see what we can do.”

Who We Are

Just Add Water is a locally-owned company that serves the state of Iowa for over 17 years. Our team is very enthusiastic about upgrading the yards and properties for all of our fellow Iowans, and we have the experienced crew to do so!

Quick Links


I’ve worked with Just Add Water for two water features. They have always been good listeners and eager to get the work up to my specs. The Just Add Water Team is very creative and loves what they do! They take on any challenge, find a solution and get it done!

If you are looking for a professional approach to beautify your yard, I highly recommend Chris, Will, and their team for the project!

John Olsen


The crew & office staff at Just Add Water make the perfect team to create a water feature that enhances your life. If you are just looking for advice, or if you need repairs to an existing water feature, or if you want something totally new for your landscape… Just Add Water is the place to go.

They removed our old pond and invented a beautiful fresh look with a pondless system of 3 waterfalls. We’re very pleased and truly impressed with their artistry and sincere demeanor. Give them a chance. You’ll be glad you did!

John Gray


We hired Just Add Water to create a waterfall feature in our backyard. What we didn’t expect was the overwhelming beauty that happened when they were finished! Chris came to our house on a Sunday, no less, to plan our design, and his crew worked on a Saturday after a long week to do our project.

Amazing, stunning, and much more than we ever dreamed! Professional, and over-the-top design, you won’t be disappointed!!

Joan Campbell