Water Features as Terrarium Inspiration

This collection of photos will give you ideas and reference points for terraria water features, such as waterfalls, drip walls, streams, and ponds.

There are some tips at the end of the post which will help you create more artistic and interesting designs.

Key Elements in This Collection

  • Waterfalls
  • Drip walls
  • Rock arrangements
  • Bodies of water
  • Textures and patterns
  • Visual flow and composition
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Tips for Water Feature Designs

When creating water features in terrariums, paludariums, and other designs, pay particular attention to the following:

Primary or Secondary?

Should the water feature be the primary focus of the design, or should it be an added feature?

Try to put a focus on one aspect of the design, instead of making everything equally important.

If you want the water feature to be king, make it big and make it dramatic.

If the water feature is meant to be a secondary or minor feature, then make sure the rest of the design would look good even without it.

Overall composition and visual flow

Try to think of the entire design as a whole.

How does the water movement, shape, size, and so on interact with the other elements in the design?

Creating interest and depth.

Vary the water depth, angle, speed, path, and so on, to:

  • keep the viewer’s interest and encourage exploration
  • create varying micro-environments suitable for different types of plants
  • make the composition more dynamic and exciting
  • make everything look more natural

Forethought about plant and moss placement

As you’re planning the water feature, try to envision the plantings that you’ll make.

With regard to the plants, think about things such as:

  • Type of plants and their cultural requirements
  • Size of the plants
  • Growth habit
  • Texture and color

Technical Considerations

There are many important things you need to plan for when making water features.

Below is a summarized list of some of those factors:

  • Water filtration
    • External, internal, or none (manual water changes)
  • Pumps and plumbing
    • External, internal, or none
    • Bulkhead and hole position
    • Sump size and location
    • Pump size, flow, and head (max pumping height)
    • Plumbing size vs. water volume and speed
  • Maintenance
    • Cleaning the water areas and glass
    • Maintaining the pump and other equipment
    • Ease of access to these items in the finished build
  • Water depth
    • Hardscape and substrate shape, slope, etc.
    • Bulkhead height
  • Splashing and dripping
    • Containing the water inside the tank
    • Moisture management
    • Water travel over time (wetness tends to spread)
  • Substrate
    • Rocks, wood, gravel, and others that can stand being wet
    • Avoid typical soil or substrates if they will be constantly wet

You might be interested in my 10 Gallon Drip Wall tank video series.