Waterfall Landscape Design Ideas Rock Garden Waterfalls

Stunning waterfall landscape design pictures and tips to inspire you in landscaping around your rock garden waterfall. Discover which plants are best to use around a rock water garden.

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Plants for Landscaping Waterfalls

Palm Trees

Tropical landscape designs and water features belong together like Hibiscus flowers and Hawaiian islands and no plant better represents the tropics than the palm.

If your rock water garden is in zones 9-11, tropical landscaping is almost certainly what you have in mind. The biggest problem gardeners in these zones will face when landscaping with palm trees is in deciding which palms they wish to plant.

If you live above zone 9, there is no need to be left out of the fun.

One of the cold hardy palm trees may be just what you long for.

The image above depicts the rock garden waterfall at the Ormond Memorial Garden in Ormond Beach, Florida. The palm creeping down its side is Serenoa repens, a low-growing tree featuring an unusual mostly subterranean trunk.

I included this picture to show how little soil most palms need. Palms typically have small root systems that allow them to grow in little pockets of earth. This characteristic also makes them good container plants.

The palm here is Phoenix robelenii, the Pygmy date palm. This dwarf date will only reach about 8 feet at maturity. This makes it 1 of the best palms to plant near a small water rock garden or waterfall.

If you want a multi-trunked tree, it should have them when you buy it as a tree with a single trunk will usually not form additional trunks later.

Buy a Pygmy Date Palm Medium Multi Stem
from: Real Palm Trees

Waterfall landscape design with Queen palms.

The Queen palms used at the back of this waterfall landscape design will be much taller than the dwarf dates above when they mature.

The Queen palm is also 1 of the fastest growing palm trees. Even so, it will take many years to reach its ultimate height of 40-50 feet.

If you want the tropical island effect that only large palms can create this year, visit Real Palm Trees. They offer the largest selection of palm tree types in sizes from 3 feet to 50 feet in height at discount prices.

You can have the palms you need to complete your fantasy waterfall landscape design delivered to your door.

Keep your eyes peeled for shipping specials as you browse the site; they often run them. In fact, if you don’t see 1, call them. They will work something out with you.

Banana Plants

In this Swimming pool landscape bananas team up with palms and split-leaved Philodendrons to provide lush greenery. Purple queen adds a punch of color.

You are spoiled for choice with this plant.

There are dwarf banana varieties which range in height from 3 to 8 feet. A standard banana will grow 12-20 feet tall.

You can have plants that produce delectable fruit or plant an ornamental variety with gorgeous red markings on its leaves.

Last, but not least, are plantains. Plantains are starchy bananas which are eaten cooked in the Caribbean. The plants are identical to a tall banana plant.

In zones 9-11, you can plant bananas in the ground around your water garden. The plants will die to the ground after a freeze and reemerge from the underground corms the following spring.

In colder zones, you can either plant cold hardy bananas like Musa ‘Basjoo’ or keep the plants in tubs and winter them in a frost-free shed or garage.

To save money, you can purchase small plants or corms. Bananas are fast growers but will still require several months of warm weather to reach their mature size.

If you want big, lush plants that will give you immediate tropical ambiance, order them here.


This small but lushly-planted waterfall landscape design at Longwood Gardens in PA, features bromeliads and different varieties of elephant ears.

The pond that the water spills into is filled with river rock.

Bromeliads are easy-to-care-for, exotic looking plants that bloom in vibrant colors. They are available in many sizes and colors. Some cultivars flower inside the “cup” formed by the leaves. These are best planted where people will be sure to look down into the cups.

Others send up a tall inflorescense, the height and color of which should be taken into account when you draw up your water garden landscape plan.

You can see pictures of bromeliads in bloom here.

Annual Plants

Here, sun-worshiping annual plants highlight an Arizona waterfall landscape design.

Emerald green grass and colorful annuals are a match made in botanical heaven.

Green is the dominant color in this planting scheme. A shrub with variegated leaves provides some interest but low-growing annuals provide the primary color accent.

The annuals will only look their best for about 3 months so they are not a low maintenance option.

The plants will need to be changed out frequently but this is half the fun!

You can change the color scheme and experiment with plants of different types and heights.

The gardener here has used purple and white with just a tiny bit of pink mixed in but imagine how this waterfall landscape design would change if white French marigolds were used. Or bi-colored China pinks.

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