A waterfall makes a wonderful focal point for any landscaping project, it also adds excellent audio relaxation with the gurgling sound of rushing water. The layout of your waterfall will determine the level of sound and the type of feel and impact it has on its surroundings. You can build your own waterfall with this step-by-step process and make it unique using the tips here to decide the proper sizes and shapes for the design.
Plan first and create a layout in the area you want your waterfall. Consider the incline for the stream carefully. The distance the water “falls” creates the ambiance of a waterfall, both in looks and in sound. The higher the fall, the louder the water and the stronger the sound. However, a tall fall also produces a more spectacular visual appeal and more opportunities for places to create levels and directional changes using large boulders or slabs or stone.
Use a hose to line the area for the bottom reservoir, the path you want the water to fall, and roughly the area the top of the fall will be. If the area you want your waterfall is already sloped, or even sharply inclined, you have some added benefits, but if it’s perfectly flat, you can still achieve the desired results.
Order ½ ton of ¾ to 2-inch gravel per 10 foot of ‘stream’ area where the fall is. In addition you need 1 to 2 tons for the upper and lower basins. Purchase 6-inch to 2-foot field boulders to line the stream and hold the water in the containment area both in the basins and the stream. Buy ¾ tons for each 10 feet of stream, and an additional 3 to 4 tons for the basins.
Before you dig call! Call your local 811, or your local JULIE utility service and have any underground utilities marked so you know for sure that there is nothing you can hit when digging your waterfall.
Use white (or any light contrasting color) spray paint to outline the area where the hose lays, then remove hose. Dig with the shovel to uncover the area for the stream, and dig out the lower containment basin at least two feet deep. Larger pools make appealing ponds, but are based on your available space, desired water use, and if you will use a weir or not. A weir acts like a containment area inside your basin to hold water specifically to be recycled through the waterfall so you don’t have to use an entire pond and always have the appropriate pressure.
Dig another trench alongside the basin and stream up to the top basin area for the water hose, this will be covered and hidden after the water delivery hose is laid.
Drill a hole into the weir, or other basin side to accommodate the pump and hose. Follow the directions on the pump system you select to attach the water intake hose and attach the hose to the weir, or outer basin.
Run the water hose alongside the stream bed in the trench up to the upper basin area.
Lay plastic pond liner in the stream area, and down into the lower basin. Line with boulders to hold in place. Place other boulders in strategic areas of the stream to create additional levels for the water to flow over. Line the stream and the lower basin with gravel.
Build the upper basin with boulders. Use pond sealant to secure the boulders to the liner below and to each other. Leave a gap to insert the water hose in the rear of the upper basin and seal it so no water can leak out. Provide a lip at the front of the upper basin that is an inch below the waterline so water can spill into the waterfall stream.
Backfill the water hose trench with dirt and cover with sod. Fill the lower basin with water and start the pump.