The New Backyard DIY Photography Blind, Pond and Waterfall

Last year I wanted to build a small DIY photography blind in my backyard. I had an old play house that my kids used to play in. It worked, but I had to sit sideways and shoot. Not very comfortable. I need something larger and I also wanted to add a small water feature. I got tired of using a clay pot as a bird bath….not very realistic.

Since my knees/legs are fixed straight, I sit on my old wheelchair pad on the grass. Pretty comfortable. I need to hide my legs and tripod though, so building a square box is out of the question. I drew up a set of plans. I went out Home Depot and bought $20 worth of 3/4″ schedule 40 PVC pipe and ‘a few’ fittings. I had an old tarp so I covered it with the PVC frame work using a few spring clamps from my old blind.

Next I constructed my pond and waterfall. Right now it’s about 4 feet square and 3 to 6 inches deep. I’m glad our area is fine dirt/sand because trying to dig a hole without the use of your knees was a challenge. I lined the pond with 3.5 mil plastic and drove out to the foothills to get ‘a few’ rocks.

I found a Waterfall Kit from Zoo Med Laboratories at the local pet store. Its a quiet small submersible pump and I use an extension cord to power it. No, it’s not plugged in 24 hours a day. I just use it when I’m shooting.

It’s still a work in progress. I’ve already widened the pond from 2 feet to 4 feet and I may widen it more. I can add or remove rocks, twigs and logs to suit the occasion. I plan on buying another hummingbird feeder close to the waterfall in hopes to capture a hummingbird while bathing.

So if I can build something like this, I’m sure you can too! I hope I’ve inspired you to build one for yourself. Have fun with it and keep shooting!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s some photos…

My Studio
studio-06

Sitting inside the backyard blind

Sitting inside the backyard blind
Sitting inside the backyard blind

The view
The view

The View

The view
The view

The 3/4″ Schedule-40 PVC Framework

The 3/4" Schedule-40 PVC Framework
The 3/4″ Schedule-40 PVC Framework

Me

Me
Me

The Backyard Pond and Waterfall

The Backyard Pond and Waterfall
The Backyard Pond and Waterfall

The Kitchen You can see the feeders and the old Christmas Tree that has holes drilled in so I can fill it with my Peanut Butter Suet.

The Kitchen
The Kitchen

A hollow log
A hollow log

The Backyard Waterfall

The Backyard Waterfall
The Backyard Waterfall

The Backyard Waterfall
The Backyard Waterfall

The Other End of the Waterfall

The Other End of the Waterfall
The Other End of the Waterfall

The Submersible Pump

The Submersible Pump
The Submersible Pump

A Lincoln’s Sparrow Taking a Bath

A Lincoln's Sparrow Taking a Bath
A Lincoln’s Sparrow Taking a Bath

Mike Matenkosky

Mike is a Central Valley California landscape and nature photographer whose subjects include scenes from Merced County, Yosemite, SeKi, and the eastern Sierra. He is currently living in Atwater, CA.

The text and photographs are © Copyright Mike Matenkosky (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Mike Matenkosky.

10 Comments


  1. That is REALLY cool. Thanx for sharing it with us.

    Reply

  2. What does your wife think of all of this!

    Fantastic setup very jealous!

    Reply

  3. My wife told me to make sure it’s large enough for me to sleep there…just in case!

    Thanks for the comments!

    Reply

  4. Nice and thank you for the ideas.
    I was thinking of making one with pex and having it come out from the garage and into a small pond.
    I would like for a while when I have my bedroom in that part of the house but the neighbors may grow tired of it.
    I guess like you I will only turn on for a a while. The blind idea is really nice. I was going to put a tarp attached by velcro to the front of my back portico and shoot through a hole.

    Reply

  5. very nice, Mike. I need to take photos of my setup and I definitely need a peanut butter tree

    Reply

  6. This is looking great, Mike! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, and your birds, with us. Keep up the great work!

    Reply

  7. Last summer I was sitting in the back yard thinking of a way to do something like this now ya gave me a idea that looks really great Thank you Very nice setup you got there.

    Reply

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