Building a Pondless Waterfall
In today's safety conscious world, the pond building community is starting to notice some innovative trends in pond construction. In response to obvious dangers, higher insurance rates, home owner association restrictions, and local zoning laws concerning typical ponds and waterfalls, pond builders have developed the pondless waterfall attraction. With the pondless waterfall, owners are still rewarded with the relaxing sounds of rushing water and increased home values; but they offer fewer restrictions, fewer hassles, and almost no danger of drowning.
A pondless waterfall is built in generally the same way as any other pond or water garden with a few basic differences. The most obvious difference is the lack of an open body of water. Instead, the pond basin is filled with decorative rocks or other filler material. This leaves no danger of young children drowning and no need for a fence. But it does leave the concern of placing the pump. Rather than simply placing the pump in the pond water, it is housed in one of the newest innovations in water features, a pump vault. This vault acts as a large sieve which allows water to reach the pump, but keeps filler material out.
Start building your pondless waterfall by picking your site and excavating it, as you would any other water feature. Lining your pond with underlayment and sand is perhaps even more important in a pondless waterfall than a traditional water feature. It will reduce the chances that your liner springs a leak, so that you can avoid the unpleasant task of removing the rocks and filler material to patch a hole. Once you've taken the proper precautions against leaks, line your feature with a sturdy pond liner. Now, decide where you would like to place your pump vault and install your tubing to your waterfall. You will want the vault's lid to rise to a point several inches below the surface of the water, so keep your pump vault's dimensions in mind when beginning the project. After your vault is situated, install your pump and begin filling the pond basin with rocks. Be sure that the rocks are larger than the openings to the pump vault and are appealing to the eye. Fill the pond basin completely with the rock, even 1-3 inches over the lid of the pump vault. This will hide your vault, but allow you to access the pump without too much trouble. Fill the pond with water to a level slightly above the rock, and be sure that enough water covers the rock to prevent excessive splashing when the water feature is in operation. Start your feature and enjoy the wonderful sounds of running water.
You may be surprised that although you cannot put fish in a pondless waterfall feature, plants are a welcome addition. Simply clear out enough rock to submerge aquatic planter baskets and begin planting. Customize your feature with plants and large rocks just as you would any other water garden. Surprise your guests with a mesmerizing and safe pondless waterfall in your yard.