1st time pondless waterfall build

Discussion in 'DIY - Do It Yourself' started by baboiler, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. baboiler

    baboiler

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    Hello all. I am hoping to build a pondless waterfall this summer. I have a couple other landscape tasks to finish first but I have been lurking here for a couple weeks looking for info & inspiration. I found both by the way! I have a couple initial questions as I try to plan this out. First I can give you a quick & dirty idea of what we are after and my area we have to work with.
    The area: A down hill slope in the backyard. Fairly steep at the top. Maybe a 40 degree angle transitioning into a 25-30 degree near the bottom. It will be near the house.The stream within 6 feet and the basin may be closer. From the bottom of the hill to the top is around 6 feet vertically. The area the stream/waterfall will run thru is probably 10 feet wide.
    What we are after: Slightly winding shallow stream with at least 2 falls.Probably no more than a foot wide. I would like for it to run the length of the hill as much as possible. At the top of hill is our deck & at the bottom a small concrete pad for our walkout.We will like to have veiws from both locations as best possible.We want to enjoy the sounds of the falls without it being to much for the area.
    Now here are a couple concerns/questions that I would love to hear some responces to. I am a bit concerned about drainage since the basin will sit next to my walkout.In the event of some heavy rain there may be some overflow issue's I am sure. I have an drainage tile within about 15 feet that I could tap into.This leads to the first real project question I have.I should have added to the "Wants" area info on our budget. It is small so I guess that makes it easy to overlook! No way the treasury department is going to go for a waterfall kit purchase.So I have readily available some 55gallon hard plastic drums I can use for basin. I thought I could place it at the correct depth to allow an overflow adapter to be added that I can run to my drainage tile. I can't believe in all the web surfing I have done in the last 2 weeks I have not seen this done. That in turn has lead to concerns about it not being a good idea. I see alot - if not most use a liner with rock or milk crates (which I like better) to create the basin. I could do this in my area but I can't see how I could implement an overflow safeguard.I feel pretty strongly about having some type of overflow removal plan.Also not sure if 50 gallons is enough water??
    I will stop hear for now.I apologize for the long post.I could probably fill the site with everything that has been running thru my head! If this should be in another area of the forum please let me know and I'll move it.I look forward to any responses.
    Thanks-baboiler
    baboiler, Apr 9, 2012
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  2. baboiler

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    Glad you joined.

    Post some pictures of your area, it really helps to understand what you are dealing with. You can have a liner basin, have the edge higher than the surrounding area, have a pipe plumbed into the side about 2 inches lower or at what ever level you want your water to be at. Have that line go to your drainage tile or even just out into the yard if that is possible.

    For the meandering stream, I made mine on a slope, we dug in switchbacks, with small waterfalls (6) on the way down, that drop into small ponds, finally into our large pond. One large waterfall at the top of the stream coming off the deck from the deck pond. We have our stream on a timer, just run it when we want to hear the water, or freshed the stream and stream ponds. (wipe out mosquitoes also lol) We don't run it if we are not around, don't want to take the chance of it blocking and draining the pond.

    Those are my ideas at this point, now need coffee............
    addy1, Apr 9, 2012
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  3. baboiler

    sissy sissy

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    Where you put the catch basin for pondless you could always put in some drainage pipe for runoff ,just like with a pond ,most of us have a runoff so our ponds do not overflow when there is heavy rains .Water gets so high then runs into pipe and out where ever you choose it to go .Pick the best spot for your drainage pipe that it cannot be seen and get good run off that does not bother any thing .Like addy said that is the easiest way and it could always go to a flower bed to water it and hide it better in a nice batch of plants .
    sissy, Apr 9, 2012
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  4. baboiler

    taherrmann4

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    Youncould also create a dry stream bed for your overflow area. This is what I have done, it goes about 10' and then goes into my drain pipes which take it to the other side of the yard.

    Now to the waterfall. I created mine off a hill that is about 6' vertical and maybe a 45 degree angle not really sure though. The creek is about 10-15' long and has several falls. You can look at my signature for the links to my pond.
    taherrmann4, Apr 10, 2012
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  5. baboiler

    Waterbug

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    I've installed several pondless features and I would not worry even a little bit about drainage. I'd want run off going into the pond...free water. Sounds like this area wouldn't be getting any more water than it's currently getting, so the pond would make no difference.

    I don't know what the crate thing is...to create dead space for water? I wouldn't do that. Someone walks on it and it could collapse hurting them. Since you can get 55 gal drums I'd use those instead.

    It depends on the size of your pump, but from the stream size I don't think a 55 gal reservoir is enough. I'd make the reservoir in the 400 to 500 gal range. Liner and then set a 55 drum (one with lid) inside, on the liner. Some holes in the drum for water to flow in. Pump inside the drum setting on top of some bricks maybe 12" up off the bottom. Fill with river rock and top with whatever rock you wanted on top.

    I also put a float valve in the drum. The valve is supplied with water from a sprinkler valve on a timer. Float valve fail sometimes so the timer is a backup. Normally I set it for just a 2 or 3 minutes a day and that's always been enough.
    Waterbug, Apr 10, 2012
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  6. baboiler

    baboiler

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    Thank you for the replies! Here are a couple pics of the area I have to work with. yard2.jpg yard3.jpg

    The Deck is getting reworked but will still have the same size footprint.
    baboiler, Apr 10, 2012
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  7. baboiler

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Nice slope, looks like the first 20 feet of mine, mine is even steeper, hard to even walk up it. It makes a great stream bed.
    addy1, Apr 10, 2012
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  8. baboiler

    sissy sissy

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    I can see why your concerned as I see sliding glass doors and concrete slab ,you sure don't want any surprise water coming inside .You can use plastic pallets ontop of the barrel .I got a couple from the dollar store here free .They are sturdy and I used them for under the dog house and also on the top of my under ground rain collection tank .The gutters go into the tank and also the ground water that flows around the area .I walk on it all the time and even drive my ride on mower over it .I always thought they would make great tops for pondless water fall .I have some stones on one side of it but grass grows up to the other side ..Gutter pipe extentions are under the ground there .
    sissy, Apr 10, 2012
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  9. baboiler

    baboiler

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    Well now I have a little concern about 50 gallons being enough. It seems like I came across a calculator for figuring amount of water needed taking into account length - width and depth of the given stream and falls. I know it would suck to get it built and find out I don't have enough water capacity.I may have to concider something else. Being a bit limited at the base of my hill a barrel was the best solution - so I thought anyway. I have seen people build a pit from concrete blocks but now we are getting into serious work & more $$. Well I have a patio to finish first so I guess there is time to think about it.Thanks to all!
    baboiler, Apr 13, 2012
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  10. baboiler

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    milkcrates are plenty strong enough...try busting out the bottom of one...my freinds had his for atleast 10 -12 years. they go in the hole upside down. you only need to dig out the center out to fit the crates.
    koiguy1969, Apr 13, 2012
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  11. baboiler

    Waterbug

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    I think it depends on the milk crate and who's standing on it.
    Waterbug, Apr 13, 2012
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  12. baboiler

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    waterbug...that may be true...but i am right at 7' tall, and lets just say 'a bit over 300 lbs'. so, if i can stand on them, most people can!!
    koiguy1969, Apr 18, 2012
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  13. baboiler

    sissy sissy

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    You can use those big plastic pallets and most stores will give you them .I have several my self and put the dogs dog house on top of one and then used the other for his front porch .You can easly cut them with a circular saw .I have a big one now and planning on using it for a bridge ,it is 6 ft. wide by 8 ft long and was used to ship roofing shingles .
    sissy, Apr 18, 2012
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  14. baboiler

    baboiler

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    I may have come up with something. It was suggested I check out one of those hard plastic/rubber stock tanks used for watering livestock. I can get one that is 75 gallons for $70. The shape will be a little easier to dig also. I can plumb my overflow toward the top. I'll have to find a way to build the grate over the top for the stone. Do I need to use some type of filter material under the rocks above the grate? If so what type of stuff can I use??
    baboiler, Apr 18, 2012
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  15. baboiler

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    [​IMG] baboiler
    Will be neat to see some photo's of you building your waterfall!
    j.w, Apr 18, 2012
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  16. baboiler

    koiguy1969 GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!

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    i use one of the 70 gallon rubbermade stocktanks for my filter. theyre polyetholene. or "structural foam". it'll last ya a long time.
    koiguy1969, Apr 18, 2012
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  17. baboiler

    ponddigger

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    hi all.here is how i build the basin on a pondless waterfall.i use a13 in plastic pipe with holes in it,then i fill with 2 in round stones. jack

    Attached Files:

    ponddigger, Apr 18, 2012
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  18. baboiler

    ponddigger

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    hi 2 photo

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    ponddigger, Apr 18, 2012
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  19. baboiler

    sissy sissy

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    I wonder if you could use a sump pump vault also they come in all sizes .I am using one for my bio filter now and it works great and they come with lids also .
    sissy, Apr 18, 2012
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  20. baboiler

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    PD what are those hoses coming out of the hole and please post more info on how it is finished. So pump goes down in the hole and then does it attach to a fountain or ? Sure looks easy so far anyways!
    j.w, Apr 19, 2012
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