Monday, February 23, 2009

Building waterfall

I have been toying with the ideal of a water feature in the backyard for some time now. When we had the sprinklers put in I had the contractor set up a separate zone for a water feature and had him run the electrical and water lines. I did all this just in case I was ever motivated to put the water feature in. I think in the back of my mind it was something that sounded nice but at the same time sounded like a lot of work.

Not sure what motivated me to start on this water feature. It is not as if I didn’t have other projects to work on. The north side of the house still needs to have some walls built and flower beds put in. Oh now I remember, a good friend of ours gave us an outdoor fireplace last fall for our birthdays. It is one of the square metal ones you can get from one of the big box stores. The fireplace is a great gift, don’t get me wrong. But right now my back and muscles don’t think so.
My ideal was to create a flat place it the backyard and on one end have the fireplace and the other a waterfall. So how hard could it be to dig a hole fill it with water and put a pump in it? Oh my head is spinning from all the reading and looking at pictures on line. I think the best site I have found so far is According to her website she has several years of building ponds for a living. She seems straight forward on what you need for your pond and how to build one.
Now let’s talk about the waterfall/pond design. I thought I would get some ideals offline or borrow ideal from others who have posted pictures of there handy work. I guess it depends why you are building your pond as to how it will look. This brings me to the only thing Scott said about the pond “make it look natural”! Most pictures I came across didn’t look natural to me and maybe they weren’t built to look that way. If you look at a waterfall in the woods you have a low place where the water collects and runs downhill. The waterfall is created when the water washes the dirt off a rock and drops down from there. I have the hill for the water to run down. Sounds simple enough but that lead me to the next problem. How do I make where the water starts to flow look natural. I was thinking that well I could just happen to have a natural bubbling spring at the top of my hill where the water comes from. Not sure that people would buy this. The springs I have seen are at the bottom of the hill.
Then there is the question of what pump to buy? Do I need a skimmer or a preshaped plastic waterfall? How many gallons of water will the pond and waterfall take? Do I want fish and will I feed them or let them find there own food?I will leave you with a before picture and what my progress has been so far. Look for another post to come for the finished project


Andrea's Garden said...

Hi Cliff, thanks for stopping by my blog. Guess what, just a little snow left, but the ground is frozen. It'll take a little more time before we can even do some serious work. I see you are thinking about water in your yard. Have you thought about a waterfall going into a pond? You got enough space for it. Personally, I would get professional help. Seeing my neighbor messing around with his so many times due to false calculations, I would spend the money on someone helping me with these questions. But that's me ... ;-) It will be interesting to see it done. Greetings! Andrea

Sylvana said...

I want a waterfall too, but the work and the design have stopped me. I am looking forward to seeing your progress - -and hopefully some inspiration!

Bob said...

Looks like your keeping busy in the garden. Will love to see the finished product landscaped. So far it look great.
All the beat to you and yours, BOB

Wayne said...

I put in a pond in my yard. More of a semi-formal one. I have a link on the side bar of my blog showing the detailed work constructing it.
I discovered the size of the pump is determined by how much water your pumping per minute, and the number of uphill feet your lifting it. From the looks of your hill, your gonna need a big pump!

Jamie and Randy said...

Jan, the (PondLady) is a very dear friend of mine. You can contact her thru our garden club at She will be more than happy to help you with any questions you may have. She monitors the site continuously so she'll answer immediately. Tell her Randy and Jamie sent you. I'm 99% sure she is the creator of the water feature at St.Louis cathedral in New Orleans. She most definitely knows what she's talking about. :-)

Jan Goldfield said...

Hi Cliff. It's pretty easy to build a waterfall. I have an article on on how to do it. Thanks for the compliment. I did indeed build ponds for about 20 years until my retirement after Katrina. And feel free to join us at We have bunches of fun there.

Phillip said...

Wow, you have pretty much an empty slate to work with. That looks like a perfect spot for a waterfall. I made a small one two years ago and I've tweaked it several times. I'm still not totally pleased with the way the water flows but it looks okay considering I'm a complete novice when it comes to that sort of thing. I can't wait to see what you do with it.