A Few Tips & Tricks on Backyard Waterfall Installation

Interested in a backyard waterfall? 

We all have been awed by the soothing sounds and serenity of waterfall, always stopping and gazing when out we come across such wonders of nature. The effects of these all-too-fleeting moments have a positive impact, one that we would love to experience even at home. Do not have to hike, cycle, or drive to a tranquil location to enjoy such pleasures; build your rippling brook in your garden which you can in a few days (over the weekends).

If you take a close look at most backyard waterfalls you will find them riddled with stones and gravel; these can act as filters and they are what you need to set up an artificial stream that comes devoid of too much filtering and cleaning maintenance. You also will need an underground sump or similar installed at the lower end of your waterway that will catch the filtered water and pump it back upstream. Keep in mind that the water will evaporate over time, and thus the need to replace it occasionally.

Pond-Less Waterfall Construction
What follows in the information given below is a step-by-step guide on how to construct and maintain a waterfall in your garden in no time at all. We cover everything from what you need, knowing the ideal size of the stream, and prepping the setup location to the various stages of the construction project. Something worth an early mention is that you will have to get the expensive kits; instead, you will build the water system with various components that are readily available and will design something that best fits your outdoor space.

The steps given below will guide you on what to do so that you can do the project successfully. Keep in mind that it may be some heavy work but doable. You will need some digging tools and a wheelbarrow to move the dirt, gravel, and boulders.

Step 1: Select A Location for your waterfall or pondless waterfall 

Pick your favorite space in your yard and then sit there as you visualize having a waterfall and stream running in your garden. While at it, visualize the ideal spot to install such a water feature. Doing this will help you plan accordingly as you also account for various things that include:

• Foundation

Is the soil loss or compact; if the former, then you will have to a bit of excavation. If the ground is solid and difficult to dig, you can opt to set up the stream above ground with a base made of stone.

• Slope

For the water to flow with ease, you should ensure there is a gradual slope of a drop of around 2 inches for every 10ft of the length of the steam. If you are thinking of working with a tall waterfall, then make the grade steeper, it will make the water move faster and produce a heavier sound if that is what you aim to achieve.

• Size

The size of the stream you wish to install will determine the amount of water to have in the upper pool and the lower basin when the pump is not running. To avoid getting things wrong, strive to achieve five gallons per a linear foot of flowing water with the stream measuring around 3 inches deep and 2 and a half feet wide. We prefer working with our upper pool structure that has a capacity of 240 gallons and the lower basin holding 40 gallons. The two can support a stream requiring 75 gallons of water.

• Sound

A waterfall that is around 2 – 4 inches high is ideal if you are looking for something that generates enough noise. If you desire more noise, then you should get a waterfall that is 10inches or more in height.

• Location

It is pointless to install a waterfall that is not visible from the main area of your yard be it the patio or deck or even the living room. If you wish to enjoy the relaxing sounds of the flowing waters, then consider setting up the features close to your house. It can be near the bedroom if you wish to take in the sounds when in bed. Also, take into account proximity to a power source more so for the pump installed at the lower end of the stream. You also have to ensure that the spot you pick is one that you can reach with a garden hose for those moments when you need to add water.

For instance, you have an S-shaped stream next to your patio in your perennial garden and include a waterfall with sections of varied heights. Also, vary the width of the stream at is transitions from the waterfall to the lower basin so that you achieve something that looks natural.

Stone Stacked On Pallets


Step 2: Order Stone

Quarries, Gravel, Sand, and Rocks, you should think along those lines when searching for stones to use for your new water feature. You can search online as well as in the Yellow Pages. If you find contacts, get in touch with the suppliers to inquire about the kind of stones available (the size, quality, texture, and color) and prices as you also schedule to visit the supplier to see if what they have it exactly what you want. You can even get some suppliers to deliver the product based on stone type and size sorted in bags which means you will not have to worry about having boulder and piles of gravel and sand on your driveway.

For gravel, go for stones that are around 3/4 to 2 inches in size, and you will require around half a ton per ten feet of stream. The upper and lower pools will need around one to one and a half ton.

For the boulders, go for rocks that are around 6 to 24 inches in size that you will use to line the banks of the stream working with approximately 3/4 ton per ten feet of stream. You will also need bigger boulders of 12 to 24 inches in size to the upper and lower basins.

When buying the boulders, do not go for limestone because it can encourage the growth of algae. And if you are thinking of working with colorful rocks, be ready to dig a bit deeper into your pockets.

Quick Note: Before ripping the ground open to pave way for the water feature, call 811 to have all the underground utilities in your yard marked.

Tractor Excavating A Pond And Stream In Backyard


Step 3: Map the stream and start excavating

Once your gravel, sand, and rocks arrive, you can begin mapping out the design and them draw it on the site with spray paint.

You can start with the upper half of the water feature where you will have the waterfall; it should be done above the ground. Carve is lower half to about 15feet as you excavate the soil. Remember to work smart instead of hard so that you dig with ease without making your muscles too sore.

After you are done with the upper pool proceed to work on the lower basin which will have the sump pump and much of the stone and gravels surrounding it; dig a hole that is 6 inches deeper than the ground height and around 2 feet wider in diameter at the top than the base. It should be comparatively wider than the stream.

When done with the upper pool and stretching out the stream leading to the lower basin, build a ring of rocks around the upper and lower basin foundation as well as the banks of the stream. Have the tall stones with their flat side facing upwards to allow the next layer of rocks that will be placed on top to fit securely. If you need to pack the gravel and dirt tightly, use a rubber mallet so that you avoid breaking the stones.

Step 4: Complete the lower basin first

When done with the first phase, you should check for sharp objects in the lower pool and the end of the stream before you spread a liner or underlayment. You should have the correct measures of the area so that you avoid making excessive cuts resulting in wastage of the underlayment.

Ensure the liner is a perfect fit and have it tucked in all corners; give it an extension of about two feet out of the pool. Original content source: koipros.com – You can then proceed to install the pump as well as the water line and ensure it runs up to the upper pool. You can then add around two layers of gravel and stones around the basin.

Step 5: Dig out or build the drop

If you have flat grounds, then you need to build up the waterfall above ground and ensure you target to achieve a streambed depth. If you have a sloppy yard, then dig down to the approximate drop depth. You will then start from the base of the stream carving a streambed of 2 to 3.5 feet wide and a 6 to 8 inches deep, as you dig the slope moving upwards to reach the streambed depth target at the waterfall drop where you will then dig out a shallow pool that will slow the flow of falling water.

For the waterfall built above ground, you may need to add a row of stones for the waterfall, ensure the stones are level and are of about 6 inches. Make a mixture of gravel and dirt and compact it on the inside and exterior of the upper pool rocks before you tamp down the area as well as the streambed.

Team Of Guys Laying A Pond Liner After Re-Bar Was Laid


Step 6: Spread the liner and position waterfall stones

The underlayment and liner should be spread running from the lower basin to the upper pool and a bit of slack allowed at the base of the waterfall so that the boulders do not stretch and rip it apart. You then proceed to place the huge boulders decoratively at either side of the waterfall having a rubber liner attached at the base of each rock to prevent it from tearing the underlayment.

To create above-ground stream edges that are stable, fill the back of the edging stones with a mixture of dirt and small gravel then compact it using a rubber mallet. You can then proceed to lay an underlayment in the upper pool ensuring that it tucks in at all corners and has an allowance of 2 feet. You can overlap the top liner with the one underneath so that you avoid having to tape the underlayment and then add a layer of gravel and stones on top, spreading around the upper pool.

Step 7: Add spill stones and foam the gaps

The next phase will see you introduce flat spill stones. You will need to use black expanding foam sealant made for the waterfall, natural pools, and ponds. Apply the sealant to the underside of the stones so that they can adhere to the rubber underlayment. Fill any gaps with small stones so that water can be forced to flow only over the waterfall. Apply the sealant on all side of the spill stones so that you achieve a complete seal and allow it to dry for around thirty minutes.

You then pull your garden hose and run the water allowing it to flow down the stream to the lower basin. Check for leaks (water trails) underneath and along the spill stone edges so that you can add more foam sealant; do this until the water only flows over the spill stones.

Step 8: Add gravel and clean the stream

The last stages of the construction will involve the placement of steppingstones in the stream; they should be in the middle so that people and animals can cross over. Take note of any exposed liner and cover with a layer or gravel.

Spray the entire stream with water until the water level is above the gravel in the lower pool. When the basin is filled up, get the pump running, and the connect water line directed away from the stream. Keep the hosing down the steam until you see the water coming from the water line connected to the pump is clear; only then will you direct the water line up to the upper pool. Ensure that you surely lay it so that it stays hidden as you also check for any visible rubber liner that you need to trim and cover.

When all is done, and everything is running seamlessly and looks breath-taking, you can pull up a chair with a cold beer or beverage in hand as you sit down and relax so that you can taking in the soothing sounds of your new garden waterfall and stream.

Additional Tip: Make sure that you know the various tools you need for the project and have them lined up; make sure you know how to use each so that you can save time and avoid injuries and frustrations..

If you have any questions or want to hire a professional pond service please contact us (714) 613-0123


529 W Blueridge Ave #F110 Orange, CA 92865

(714) 613-0123


Original Content Source: www.koipros.com

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