12 Different Water Features For Swimming Pools
If you’re looking to add a bit of flair to the centerpiece of your backyard, consider how a water feature could spruce up your swimming pool.
These features allow you to customize your pool to whatever theme or aesthetic you’re most excited about showing off.
If you’re in the process of installing an in-ground pool or you’re thinking of ways to upgrade an existing one, a pool water feature may be just what you need!
What are swimming pool water features?
Pool water features are additional decorative elements using the water in your pool. There are a number of options when it comes to adding a pool water feature.
Maybe you want a gusher or some deck jets for a bold touch of elegance. Or maybe you want something more subtle, like a scupper pouring out under a cozy fire bowl.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular water features to find out which one is right for you!
Image credit: USAfirebowls.com
Scuppers are slots or spouts from a ledge or wall above your pool. The water flows out from them at a curve with a lovely trickling sound and can add to other features such as fire bowls.
Scuppers and fire bowls pair wonderfully together as both add a calming visual of the fire along with the gentle sound of the water.
Scuppers also pair well with raised spa features, such as a hot tub or a whirl pool by adding a nice visual to the low wall.
See our article on pool scuppers for more info.
Image credit: usafirebowls.com
Sheer descents are sometimes considered a type of waterfall, but are distinct in that the water appears to be a thin sheet of glass.
They look great with poolside raised flower beds and can even have LED lights to give them some color.
The sheer descent waterfall is different from other waterfalls because it has a smooth flow that continuously pours into the pool.
Sheer descent waterfalls provide both visual and sound effects to enhance your pool’s beauty and therapeutic value.
Image credit: landwaterdesign.blogspot.com
This feature is usually mounted on a wall or overhang so that the water can fall vertically down into the pool.
Depending on how the water flows, it can look like a clear sheet of water or a curtain of trickling rain.
Rain curtains are great for pools that are partially covered by awnings or pergola roofs.
Image credit: huedecors.com
Waterfalls can give your pool a natural, outdoorsy look. They can be made with faux rocks or real stones to resemble a naturally occurring water fall.
Waterfalls can be customized for however many levels you’d like the water to fall through, how wide or tall you’d like the waterfall to be, and what color rocks or boulders you’d like it to be made out of.
Waterfalls create a lot of ambiance with their serene look and their “babbling brook” sound.
Image credit: poolonomics.com
Fountains are one of the most varied pool features available. There are a ton of styles to choose from.
One option is a floating fountain, which can be anchored in the center of your pool or wherever you would like it. The fountain itself floats above the water and shoots it upwards and outwards.
There are a variety of ways the water can look as it cascades down depending on the fountain. Floating in the center of your pool gives it a 360 degree quality where it will look the same at every angle.
Image credit: poolsbydesignaz.com
Another popular type is the spillover fountain, where water “spills” from one source down into a lower one.
Spillover spas are a popular version of this feature in which water from your whirlpool or hot tub overflows into the pool. This helps the spa and the pool look more connected.
Image credit: platinumpools.com
Also known as bubblers, gushers are small jets on the bottom of the pool that shoot streams of water towards the surface.
The water will bubble or gush up above the surface.
The height of the gusher depends on the force of the jet, but most are adjustable.
Like floating fountains, gushers are a 360 degree water feature that look great from any angle, especially if they are placed in the center of your pool.
Image credit: homestratosphere.com
A sconce is a decorative spout mounted to the pool walls where narrow streams of water flow out of.
Sconces come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and themes, but animal faces and urns are some of the most popular varieties.
Image credit: sunplay.com
Also called deck jets and laminar jets, these dramatic and exciting features shoot narrow, arching streams of water into your pool.
Depending on your preference, you can have short pencil jets that only stretch past a couple of feet, or long ones that reach all the way across your pool.
You can also add LED lights to color the entire stream.
Image credit: thespruce.com
Mist and fog features are great for pools in hotter climates because it can reduce the temperature by up to 30 degrees.
Mist features pair great with waterfalls because they mimic the natural effect of fog rising up from the bottom of waterfalls in the wild.
Image credit: allbackyardideas.com
Statuaries are a kind of fountain that are similar to sconces in that they can resemble characters, animals, and other figures.
But rather than being a spout mounted to the wall, statuaries are entire statues with water flowing out of them.
Popular varieties are urns pouring out into the pool, animals, birds, fish, and dolphins.
Image credit: articles.bluehaven.com
Grottos are one of the more elaborate pool features that can really spice up your pool parties.
They are additions to waterfall features that include a small cave that guests can sit in, usually with the waterfall flowing over the entrance for a privacy and playful effect.
Can you add water features to an existing pool?
Some water features will be easier to install than others, such as floating fountains or pencil jets.
More complicated ones such as rain curtains and spillover spas may require some extra renovation as they depend on additional features–an overhang or awning for the former and the existence of a spa for the latter–but they’re still doable!
How much do pool water features cost?
This is a highly personalized question. It all depends on which feature you’re interested in, how much renovation or installation will need to be done, and how small or expansive you’d like it to be.
It can be hard to generalize a cost for such an individualized project, but we can take a look at some very general figures.
Scuppers themselves only cost a couple hundred dollars on average, but the installation can reach into the thousands depending on how many you want and where you want it to be placed.
Rain curtains are on the higher end, sometimes costing as much as $9,000. If you don’t already have a structure over the pool for the rain curtain to flow from, the installation price will increase with the renovation costs.
Waterfall pool features can cost anywhere from $750 to $15,000. The price will vary depending on whether you want standard rock or faux rocks, how big you want the waterfall to be, where you want to place it, and how much installation work is needed.
Fountains can only cost a few hundred dollars on the low end, or $8,000 or more on the high end. There are so many different styles of fountains and they all vary in price depending on the type, the size, and the installation.
Sheer descents’ costs depend on how elaborate you’d like the project to be. It can easily become a five-figure endeavor when you’re installing large feature walls, but it can be as low as only a few thousand dollars for a basic feature. We offer 12 inch and 18 inch sheer descents for sale here.
Gushers run about $500, but installation costs can be a bit over $1,000.
Sconces cost a couple to a few hundred dollars individually, but the installation can reach into the thousands.
Pencil Jets can be as low as $500 to $1,000 for simpler projects, but the project can get as high as $15,000 depending on what custom features you have in mind and how elaborate you want your setup to be.
Misting systems usually cost a little over $2,000 to install. More elaborate projects may cost a bit over $3,000.
Spillover spas can run between $6,000 and $17,000 to install, but the cost may be lower if you already have a spa that you want to convert into a spillover.
Statuaries vary in price depending on what kind of statue you want, how big you want it to be, and how much work will go into installing them. Most projects range between $2,500 to $4,000.
Grottos are one of the more elaborate pool features and typically start at around $10,000. Grottos with more seating room or with more custom features can climb to about $40,000.
All in all, your pool is unique to your home. There’s no one-size-fits-all for pool water features. It all comes down to your own individual desires and what aesthetic you’re going for. If you’re putting in an in-ground pool or hoping to add a personal touch to the one you have, talk to your contractor about the kind of water features you have in mind to see which ones are compatible with your budget.
Most importantly, you want the water features you decide on to reflect your family’s style.
Whether you have a gentle scupper under a cozy fire bowl or an exciting, colorful pencil jet shooting across your pool, you want all your visitors to know that this is the look you dreamed up yourself. No one else’s pool will look quite like yours!