Installing a disappearing waterfall in your backyard or garden will give you a delightful, relatively low maintenance water feature that has distinct advantages over ponds not only in terms of cost, convenience, and safety, but also in the amount of work you have to put in. You'll find that a waterfall is much less work and quite a bit more fun. If you have little kids and are concerned about safety, and if you prefer not to deal with fish and or water plants, you'll find a waterfall is much better than a pond in many ways.
1. Less hassles. Waterfalls run automatically, with a fill valve that keeps it going and keeps the water level full. If the valve gets clogged, you can blow out the clog or suck it out with a vacuum. Water design trends have shifted from ponds to waterfalls because owners didn't like constantly cleaning out the leaves and other trash, killing mosquitoes, or getting rid of algae. Waterfalls have none of these problems and are a lot less work.
2. Lower Costs. A pond pretty much operates continuously, all day, all night, and all year. A waterfall can be turned on and off, so you can use it as much or as little as you prefer. You can even use a timer because you don't have to worry about keeping fish healthy. You can shut a waterfall down as much as you like and even use them for catching and/or storing rainwater and runoff for future use. Waterfalls also usually cost a lot less to build than a ponds.
3. Space Efficiency. You can fit a waterfall pretty much anywhere you like and make it as big or as small as you need. It's just a matter of providing enough space to allow for the well that collects the water and returns it to the apex of the waterfall.
4. Safer with Less Liability. Little kids and others might get wet, but they are not likely to drown in a waterfall. That is not the case with a pond. You will find that insurance costs are much lower because of the reduced liability, which is just as important to homeowners as it is with schools or businesses. Still, always exercise caution when children are around water of any depth and never leave your child unattended around water.
5. Flexibility. If you want to change the waterfall's configuration at a later date or even convert it into a pond, you can easily do so. The only issue is whether or not you will have enough room. That is something to take into account when designing the waterfall. Another great thing about waterfalls is that they allow you to build in rocks, vegetation, motion, and the sounds and features of a water garden habitat without the work and other issues associated with a pond. It’s a lot more manageable to have the water flow into a closed basin, fountain or pot, plus it keeps the water from stagnating. You will also get most of the advantages of a pond in terms of attracting dragonflies, amphibians, and birds. You'll be able to have as much or as little animal life as you want.
A waterfall is really a win/win proposition, giving you the peaceful nature of a water feature without the problems and work that accompany a pond.