First timer waterfall construction is leaking


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I built a waterfall last spring in our backyard. I am definitely a first timer but like to tinker with different things and thought I would give it a try.

As I don't have a natural slope in my yard I built up a mound in the corner using some old bricks and earth from digging the pond. We installed a liner underneath everything and placed rocks. I used black spray foam to seal as best possible and curled the liner up on the sides (covering with smaller rocks). The areas circled in yellow in the picture are small basins that catch the water from the fall above. A neighbour gave us a pump and weir and the picture attached is from when I first plugged everything in (hence the dirty water).

We ran the system all summer and it worked well but after about a month I noticed I was losing water. Specifically the areas circled in red in the picture would be quite wet. I unplugged the pump for a couple of days to see if the water level went down and it did not...so it can't be the plastic pond itself. I thought it might be the hose, so I dug it up and replace it with new hose. Unfortunately it still continued to leak and into the fall I was losing about 1/4 of the pond volume a day. I eventually unplugged it and left it alone. My thinking now is due to low water pressure the water is leaking backwards from the weir and soaking into the earth.

The waterfall is about 4 feet high. The weir is 8" wide. The pond is about 32" deep. I was just looking at the pump my neighbour gave me and it is only 792 GPH which I am pretty sure is too low for this waterfall. Would getting a larger pump force the water from the weir at a higher volume and avoid the backspill into the garden? Should I change the way the water is exiting at the top of the falls to prevent leakage from there? I do have video of the waterfall but am unsure how to post it here.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
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j.w

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@Canucklehead
We don't see the pictures. I made sure to put liner under my waterfall so if any leaks it would you flow into the pond at a slight slant.
 

brokensword

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you should have liner shaped like a bowl around EVERYTHING waterfall-centric. This way, even if your weir/filter/basin leaks, it'll still go back into the pond. I'm assuming this liner is a separate piece from your pond liner? If so, if the edge hanging over the pond is too low (i.e. distance between pond surface and waterfall liner) there might be wicking backwards (and up) the pond liner and under the waterfall liner, then to ground. Best to have at least 6" overlap height. You might (probably will) have to re-do the waterfall, first to make sure your liner IS bowl shaped and all enclosing, and to guarantee it's high enough. When using the foam, it's made to direct water where you want it, NOT to seal any seams/gaps, etc. It is not waterproof and in time, will degrade. If it were mine, I'd unstack the stone and making sure my liner is correct, run the waterfall sans rock. This will allow you to see it's action and any leakage/spray, etc. I'd actually stack the rocks back and observe each layer/rock's effect. You should see the water going in the direction you want. If not, unstack that portion and restack. I bet I rebuilt MY waterfall at least 7 times in 10 years, not necessarily for leaks but for esthetics, for maintenance, until I finally tweaked it for success.
 
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Sorry guys, attached is the picture. I appreciate the feedback so far.

The pond itself is a plastic pre-formed one. There is one liner that runs from the top of the waterfall all the way down into the pond with all of the rocks stacked on top of it. The liner overhangs the edge of the pond by a good 5 inches.
 

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Interesting set up looks like you have sections of very large concrete along with your boulders and baseballs. My question is do you know about wicking ?
Also it doesn't look like your design follows the rule of the character stones being out infront of the falls and this way the splashing is limited from going outside Containment
 
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The picture doesn't really show it well. It is actually Armor stone, not concrete and I bought a few slabs last year to try to make the waterfall part. Water does stay contained to the falls area, it is just the very top section where I am finding the soil to be damp and I believe it might be wicking from up there. I will double check the liner up there is still in place once it warms up a bit more up here. I guess I am still wondering if I have a powerful enough pump for the volume of water I am driving.
 

addy1

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Check for leaves, plants, dirt it all can clog the water fall area and cause a leak. I am constantly pulling stuff out of the water fall that decides to grow there ow the flows out. Same with the stream, maybe not constantly, but I know where to look if It get a bit of a leak.
 
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Good advice.
I will reiterate.
Your liner has to be under everything, including the weir and well up behind it.
The liner should have a good exaggerated concave shape to it so that any water that gets under or around the rocks will have only one way to go...back to the pond.
You can't rely on any type of adhesive, it has to flow naturally.
The rocks are there to make it look good. The shape of the liner is key.
Don't feel bad, a waterfall is not usually a one time deal. When I had one, I rebuilt it a few times until I got it right.
 
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If you're having trouble with the weir, you don't have to use it. You can accomplish the same in many other ways.
Your hose positioned under a rock. A piece of PVC with holes drilled in it, sort of a log shaped shower. Some people heat the end of a PVC pipe then smash it to form a sort of oval or flattened nozzle. So many ideas.
 

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