How to Design an Outdoor Waterfall
Deciding on a design layout and excavating an outdoor waterfall is important before installing it.
Once you've placed the stone in the pond, rinse it down using the garden hose and then use a sump pump to remove the muddy water (Image 1). If you are working with several people or have a small stream to build, you can begin filling the pond while you start work on the stream or waterfall (Image 2).
The stream begins with a first waterfall at the top filter. To create the design for the stream, decide on the placement of the next waterfall, and connect the two points with spray paint. Repeat this step until you reach the waterfall entrance point at the stream. Create a stream that varies in width and depth before landing in the pond. The placement of stones will affect the sound and rush of the stream water.
Dig out the stream and use the displaced earth to build up the sides. That will help direct the water in the direction you want it to go.
After digging out the stream, install an underlayment and a liner. If the stream is very long or you have a sharp angle, overlap two different pieces of underlayment and liner. It is best to place the liner where there’s a change in elevation such as at a waterfall to prevent leaks.
Overlap the underlayment and then liner it like shingles on a roof, with the liner at the higher elevation overlapping the lower liner. Secure the overlap with the stones at the waterfall and you’ll follow with waterfall foam to secure the liners and seal the overlap joint and waterfall. This is also the time to connect the liner to the top filter.
Build the waterfalls beginning with the top waterfall. Follow instructions for your specific filter, but here are a couple of guidelines for building natural-looking waterfalls:
-Use larger stones to frame the sides of the waterfall; this is an excellent place to put your favorite stones; where they’ll be highlighted by the waterfall.
-Don’t stack smaller flat rocks together to create the waterfall; use large, irregular stones to build the waterfall.
-Tilt the stones forward so the water moves off the rock, not behind it.
-Experiment with the types of waterfalls that you have: play with sheeting effects, splashing effects, and the width and depth of the waterfall. Different waterfalls have different sounds.
While building the waterfalls, begin lining the stream with stones. Once you have the larger stones placed for the waterfalls and the stream sides, fill in the stream bed with the gravel.
Repeat this process until you have completed the stream and waterfalls. This is also a time where you can incorporate things like driftwood to give your waterfall a unique and natural look.