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How To Create A Custom Waterfall

Creating your own waterfall can give you an interesting focal to your pond while providing an array of other benefits.

09 February 2021

Image result for pond waterfallWaterfall’s can be an incredibly useful tool in your arsenal of aerators, while also providing an amazing aesthetic display and the soothing sound of running water. This accomplishes several things; the aeration can prevent algae growth, it can provide a better environment for your fish, and the sound of running water in a pond help provide a tranquil space for you to relax.

Building a waterfall is not difficult. It’s easy to build, easy to set up and easy to run. A lot of people can even modify their current pump or filter systems to accommodate a waterfall, thereby keeping expenditure to a minimum.

Before you start building a waterfall, we would encourage you to read our blog post entitled All you need to know about Waterfalls. This helps to outline the various types of waterfalls and includes the calculations so you can find the correct pump. Alternatively, you can use our use our Waterfall Calculator.

Benefits of a Waterfall

As previously described, a waterfall has numerous benefits that can help create a healthy pond and soothing environment.

Improved circulation: Adding a waterfall improves the circulation and agitation of the water. This helps to oxygenate the pond, improving the environment for your fish and your plants. You can read more on aeration through our blog posts below:

How to Oxygenate a Pond

Benefits of Aerating your Pond

Improved filtration: A waterfall helps to provide additional filtration. Healthy bacteria will accumulate on the surface of the waterfall, just like it would with the biomedia in your filter. This means the waterfall will replenish the healthy bacteria in your pond, creating a healthier pond with clearer waters.

Relaxation: Having a waterfall provides you with a place where you can relax and unwind. It also helps to create soothing noise which can distract you from the various noises around you.

Wildlife: These waterfalls can also be paired up with a range of live plants, including some ornamental marginals for their aesthetic qualities or some wildlife marginals which attract a variety of wildlife, like butterflies and frogs. Plants are also fantastic at oxygenating your pond and there is a real variety. More of which can be viewed on our Pond Plants blog.

6 Step Process

Below, we have outlined a 6 Step Process to making a waterfall around your pond.

  1. Make sure you are building on a secure, stable foundation. Freshly dug soil may be too lose to build a waterfall on. It’s best to dig out the area you are placing the waterfall and then leave the soil for a few weeks; this allows the rain to naturally compact the ground. Alternatively, you can use a builders tamp to compress the soil.
  2. Leave plenty of slack in the liner. This will decrease the chances of tears and punctures. Always start lining the waterfall from the top to the bottom.
  3. Lay a pond liner and underlay beneath the waterfall. This will prevent water loss and leaking and use a single liner, rather than multiple pieces that have been overlapped.
  4. Use larger rocks if possible, for a more natural aesthetic. You can use boulders for the top of your fall and then smaller rocks below, allowing you to direct the water back to the pond. Where possible, always try to tilt your rocks forward, to help prevent any water loss.
  5. When you have assembled your rocks, run some water through the waterfall. This will allow you to spot any problem areas, for instance any areas where water may be collected as this will become stagnant.
  6. Once you are happy with the waterfall, use the Touch ‘n Foam Expanding Foam (or the Complete Kit) to finish your waterfall. This foam helps to keep your rocks in place while directing water back into the pond. Please take note of the advice below.
    1. While you can use the foam to fill large gaps, it is best to use it in small doses and build the foam up gradually. This provides more structural support and provides a natural looking aesthetic.
    2. The foam works best on dry, clean surfaces.
    3. Directly after applying the foam, you may want to throw some sand or rock debris and throw it on to the foam. These will stick to the foam and disguise it with a natural looking effect.

While not necessary, it is encouraged to use a spillway or an overflow box at the top of your waterfall instead of an open hose. This will fill up via the water supplied from your pump and the water will cascade over the edge, providing a wider, consistent, and more aesthetically pleasing flow.

mega waterfall slate one piece (grey slate finish, with hosetail)Premade Waterfalls

If this is too difficult or expensive, based on the space you have available, you may want to look at a pre-cast waterfall. These can easily be put into position, they normally have a hosetail included and do not require a liner or an underlay. They look realistic and they are still able to bring the soothing sound of moving water, without needing to excavate soil or use a liner and underlay.

Pondless Waterfall | Purely Ponds Fine LandscapesPondless Waterfalls

You may want to look into creating a Pondless Waterfall. These involve creating a small reservoir at the base of your waterfall, where you can situate your pump and push the water up to the top of the waterfall and back. In most cases, you can hide the reservoir so it looks like the water is hiding. These can be inexpensive, while also providing a great focal point for your garden and creating the relaxing noise of flowing water. All without needing to look after a large pond. Please see our blog post on this, entitled Pondless Water Features.

If you need any further assistance, please contact us.

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