In over my head, building a huge waterfall. Need pointers.


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@GBBUDD I totally agree... The rocks I get delivered next Friday at ~4' tall so I'll be able to create a few taller drops while using smaller rocks near them to keep it from being a straight line.

Based on this does my pump seem more in line with what I will need?

@combatwombat based on your notes about gph for width of falls. It seems like at a given level (roughly laid out) I should have less than 50" of falls. Which I think is fine. if there is 1-3 falls per "level" that nets out to some great falls.

I am going to track down a few more aquablox to increase my reservoir size as much as my wife will let me...

Please poke holes in the plan if you see any.
 
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to wide is impossible that makes things so much easier . instead off thinking waterfall think ponds/ pools right where you have your arrows i would look to make those pools . very wide and somewhat long . like a pond have the shelves on the sides . this will hide the liner as well as contain any plash. as well as limit the water in motion. then build upward from there
 
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I'm excited to see how this turns out! Unlike many people, you took the critique offered and used it to your advantage - that's a great quality to have. You'll end up with a project you'll enjoy and be proud of for years to come!

As for extending the reservoir - remember that what's underground can look different from what's above ground. You can encase your aquablox in liner and put dirt over the top for planting or grass or mulch for a path. You can control how much of the "pondless" part is exposed.
 
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I'm excited to see how this turns out! Unlike many people, you took the critique offered and used it to your advantage - that's a great quality to have. You'll end up with a project you'll enjoy and be proud of for years to come!

As for extending the reservoir - remember that what's underground can look different from what's above ground. You can encase your aquablox in liner and put dirt over the top for planting or grass or mulch for a path. You can control how much of the "pondless" part is exposed.
@Lisak1 Thanks for the kind words. I have known it was wrong since late last year. So its been nice to figure out a better plan.
 
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heres 12000 gph granted its just pouring out no real structure but it should give you what your looking at AT ZERO HEAD https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/going-for-it-phase-one-12-000-gallon-pond.22563/page-12
Thanks @GBBUDD this is helpful. On one hand it seems like enough water, on the other it seems like I might need more. I spent my lunch break today watching this video
and at 21:10 Jaak talks about a second pump pumping water into a lower pool to increase the volume at that level. Is that what you are more or less recommending I do?
 
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That's one way to do it. a stream starts somewhere and increases as it travels if that the look you like then yes . here is the other version they have two pumping areas though admittedly will make for a bigger challenge having a pump vault half way up the hill.
 
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There's no wrong answers only end results that you'll like to look at.
i just made a falls to my bog and i wanted the water to bounce on rocks my flaw was not having clear channels while it look great from the patio it takes a horrible picture but i don't have the distance to chanel the water mine is more falls . Some day it may change but i doubt it. like i said its only the pictures that aren't as i wanted
 
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After seeing the video today about adding a pump it got me thinking .

It would be great to have more volume as the system comes down to the bottom. Can I put two pump vaults in the reservoir and send the water up either side?

I am wondering about adding 6-10 aquablox taking my reservoir up past 600gals.

Then get a smaller pump to do the left side.

Again, lame drawing…

Or, should I build it how I am planning, save room for second pump and hose… but try it out with the single pump first.

I know you can’t make decisions for me, just looking for insight.
 

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One week from Rock delivery. It can't come fast enough.

I have 4 questions that I am working through as I plan this out:
  1. Aquablox arrangement
  2. Where should my pump vault be positioned
  3. Should I Bib liner over the reservoir?
  4. Will the pump suck the reservoir dry?
1. So first on the matter of aquablox arrangement. Right now I have them on end and stacked to keep the pondless footprint smaller. I am thinking about making it bigger and adding more block to increase my reservoir. Is it ok to stack them? Is it ok for them to be stacked on end? It seems like if I stack them the water level inside will be very low which would give me the disappearing waterfall look. I am not totally opposed to that, but it would be nice to have a pond-ish area at the bottom. Lastly, if I stack them will they be less sturdy holding rocks?

2. Where should the pump vault be positioned? It seems like it will be better to have it farther away from the final falls and it needs to be sitting a tad lower than the bottom of the aquablox. When I watch all the aquascape videos the pump vault is always ~4" lower. So onto the questions: is the best place for the pump to be positioned, farther away from the falls? If I stack the aquablox the pump and vault will be deeper underwater making access pretty hard. Is this going to be a problem for maintenance?

3. Watching a bunch of Aquascape videos when they build these smaller systems, they bib liner the reservoir so that you get pooling. I could do this but need to make sure to account for that in my calc for Water in motion correct? With the height and other issues, I am going to run into, is getting pooling at the bottom a pipedream?

4. This one has been bugging me for a bit. Will the pump suck the reservoir dry? If I have 8k gph, then I have about ~130 gpm. At my current reservoir size (370gal) this would give me just short of 3 minutes before its dry. If I added another pump it would go even faster. Seems like I need to do 2 things: 1. increase the size of my reservoir and 2: somehow minimize water in motion while getting great falls and pooling areas (which is going to be hard). It seems like I should increase the reservoir and bib liner the pools to keep 1" of water not 4" of water... Since the total height is so high pooling will really only be visible at the bottom few drops anyway.

I know I am asking hard questions to answer and often the answer depends on something else. Looking for as much info as I can and I'll improvise while I am at it.
 
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Is it ok to stack them?
Yes. It's fine to stack them.

Is it ok for them to be stacked on end?
Clarify what you mean by "on end." Aquablocks are only strong in two orientations where the the inner support panels are being compressed. If you're saying that you have the longest dimension of the blocks vertical, I would not recommend installing them like that.

It seems like if I stack them the water level inside will be very low
The orientation doesn't change the volume of the reservoir or how much water in motion you have, so it shouldn't make much difference. You typically cover the blocks w/ large cobble so any time the water level in the reservoir is below the top of the blocks, it's going to look "pondless."

Lastly, if I stack them will they be less sturdy holding rocks?
Not as long as they are stacked in the proper orientation. At least not from a practical standpoint. Just make sure you get a good, compacted backfill around them once installed.

Do keep in mind that your static head is determined by the elevation change from water level in the reservoir to the top of the falls. If you calculate your head based on a full reservoir, but your reservoir is 6' deep and almost empty, then you'll have 6' of extra head for your pump to overcome. You'll know water level is getting low when you notice the waterfall looking weak. You can avoid this by installing an autofill.

Where should the pump vault be positioned?
Wherever you want it, really. And where it's easiest to disguise.

When I watch all the aquascape videos the pump vault is always ~4" lower.
I think that's a pump protection thing. Ensures the pump always has access to 100% of the water in the reservoir. But I would probably install the pump up 6" and leave the bottom as a settling area for the crud that will end up there. Don't know the solids handling capability of your pump. Maybe it can handle it.

If I stack the aquablox the pump and vault will be deeper underwater making access pretty hard. Is this going to be a problem for maintenance?
Maybe a little harder? I wouldn't worry about it. I would make the pipe coming out of the pump rigid pvc and put a union right at the top of the vault so you can just unscrew the union and lift the pump out for service.

Watching a bunch of Aquascape videos when they build these smaller systems, they bib liner the reservoir so that you get pooling. I could do this but need to make sure to account for that in my calc for Water in motion correct?
A bib liner doesn't really change the amount of water in motion you're dealing with. If anything, if might reduce it a bit if you install it with a lip all the way around to permanently capture some pooling water.

If I have 8k gph, then I have about ~130 gpm. At my current reservoir size (370gal) this would give me just short of 3 minutes before its dry. If I added another pump it would go even faster.
That's only true if 100% of the water you're pumping somehow escapes the liner. The amount of time you have before running dry while pumping is nice to know, but doesn't really mean much. The only things that really matter are:

1. How much water is in the system.
2. How big the reservoir is.
3. That #2 is sufficiently more than #1.

1. increase the size of my reservoir and 2: somehow minimize water in motion
Either or both of those things will increase the margin of "trouble free operation" you have to work with, so good to pursue.
 
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Yes. It's fine to stack them.


Clarify what you mean by "on end." Aquablocks are only strong in two orientations where the the inner support panels are being compressed. If you're saying that you have the longest dimension of the blocks vertical, I would not recommend installing them like that.


The orientation doesn't change the volume of the reservoir or how much water in motion you have, so it shouldn't make much difference. You typically cover the blocks w/ large cobble so any time the water level in the reservoir is below the top of the blocks, it's going to look "pondless."


Not as long as they are stacked in the proper orientation. At least not from a practical standpoint. Just make sure you get a good, compacted backfill around them once installed.

Do keep in mind that your static head is determined by the elevation change from water level in the reservoir to the top of the falls. If you calculate your head based on a full reservoir, but your reservoir is 6' deep and almost empty, then you'll have 6' of extra head for your pump to overcome. You'll know water level is getting low when you notice the waterfall looking weak. You can avoid this by installing an autofill.


Wherever you want it, really. And where it's easiest to disguise.


I think that's a pump protection thing. Ensures the pump always has access to 100% of the water in the reservoir. But I would probably install the pump up 6" and leave the bottom as a settling area for the crud that will end up there. Don't know the solids handling capability of your pump. Maybe it can handle it.


Maybe a little harder? I wouldn't worry about it. I would make the pipe coming out of the pump rigid pvc and put a union right at the top of the vault so you can just unscrew the union and lift the pump out for service.


A bib liner doesn't really change the amount of water in motion you're dealing with. If anything, if might reduce it a bit if you install it with a lip all the way around to permanently capture some pooling water.


That's only true if 100% of the water you're pumping somehow escapes the liner. The amount of time you have before running dry while pumping is nice to know, but doesn't really mean much. The only things that really matter are:

1. How much water is in the system.
2. How big the reservoir is.
3. That #2 is sufficiently more than #1.


Either or both of those things will increase the margin of "trouble free operation" you have to work with, so good to pursue.
@combatwombat thanks for the responses. I do plan to install an autofill so that should help with some of this. Let next week I'll have a slew of questions as I prepare to re-install the reservoir and the base of the waterfall.
 
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One week from Rock delivery. It can't come fast enough.

I have 4 questions that I am working through as I plan this out:
  1. Aquablox arrangement
    Aqua blocks are designed as mentioned to be placed in one orientation but there are two sides that are the same. The top and bottom PANNELS go from all four corners edge to edge. The sides and the two center walls all support the top panel and all sit on the bottom panel.

    If you don't plan on placing lots of rock on them like just a dusting of 2 inch rock just enough to hide the block it's self then they could support a minimal amount of weight. but best to just use them as designed. there are two sizes 18 inches tall and i believe the others are 12 inches tall they are the same widths and lengths
    But when oriented properly and with proper cover of gravel you can place a parking lot on top of them.
    Say you want to make a resivour half way up the hill and you want the 26 inches deep for a pump and nothing going on top other then a dusting . then i would say it could work but and i have done this to i have zip tied them when i had to cut them to a shape.
  2. Where should my pump vault be positioned {The only note i have to say about the vault is to have the chamber of the vault lower then the blocks so you don't waste water storage by a pump needing to sit in 4 inches of water in order to work }
  3. Should I Bib liner over the reservoir? {That's up to you but lisa would advocate for the water and a bib liner she says it's much easier to remove debris with a net over trying to pull off stuff between the rocks the only disadvantage is as the bib clogs at the over flows it can build up and leak.}
  4. Will the pump suck the reservoir dry?
{lets say you have 25 to 30 gallons of water in the hose. and 150 gallons or even 300 gallons with water in motion then yeah you could run dry with a 360 gallon pump vault and you need to have enough to keep the pump running until the water falls back into the vault. that's the hard part in my eyes not way over sizing to make sure you do have enough . the pros have a good guestimate sorry that's not i }.

1. So first on the matter of aquablox arrangement. Right now I have them on end and stacked to keep the pondless footprint smaller. L= 26.5 W=16 h = 18 WHEN THEY MENTION THE L X W X H stick with it
{ FOR A WATER FALL of any size splash is a concern the bigger the catch the better. One thing i did do was have the water fall into a catch below grade by a foot and stones all around the area particularly in the front to catch the splash and it just falls into the revivor}.

I am thinking about making it bigger and adding more block to increase my reservoir. Is it ok to stack them? { yes } Is it ok for them to be stacked on end? {no} It seems like if I stack them the water level inside will be very low which would give me the disappearing waterfall look. I am not totally opposed to that, but it would be nice to have a pond-ish area at the bottom. Lastly, if I stack them will they be less sturdy holding rocks?
{NO}

2. Where should the pump vault be positioned? It seems like it will be better to have it farther away from the final falls and it needs to be sitting a tad lower than the bottom of the aquablox. When I watch all the aquascape videos the pump vault is always ~4" lower. So onto the questions: is the best place for the pump to be positioned, farther away from the falls? If I stack the aquablox the pump and vault will be deeper underwater making access pretty hard. Is this going to be a problem for maintenance? {it should be as close to the falls as possible less distance less head pressure less water in motion}

3. Watching a bunch of Aquascape videos when they build these smaller systems, they bib liner the reservoir so that you get pooling. I could do this but need to make sure to account for that in my calc for Water in motion correct? With the height and other issues, I am going to run into, is getting pooling at the bottom a pipedream?

4. This one has been bugging me for a bit. Will the pump suck the reservoir dry? If I have 8k gph, then I have about ~130 gpm. At my current reservoir size (370gal) this would give me just short of 3 minutes before its dry. If I added another pump it would go even faster. Seems like I need to do 2 things: 1. increase the size of my reservoir and 2: somehow minimize water in motion{ pools} while getting great falls and pooling areas (which is going to be hard). It seems like I should increase the reservoir and bib liner the pools to keep 1" of water not 4" of water... Since the total height is so high pooling will really only be visible at the bottom few drops anyway. {problem with 1" pool is when the water drops into it from the falls it has nothing to take away the energy a 1" pool will be changed into a splash instead of going into a little deeper water and defused like in 4 to 8" that amount matters not , unless you have not run the pump in some time and the pools dried out> then you would have to add additional water for water in motion to fill and rise above the banks of the pools }

I know I am asking hard questions to answer and often the answer depends on something else. Looking for as much info as I can and I'll improvise while I am at it.
 
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Quick update, I rented an excavator, last weekend, to pull the rocks and get rid of more dirt. I was able to pull everything apart and get rid of some dirt but my guy who takes the dirt had his truck break down. So wound up a bit stalled. I did get 14 tons of boulders delivered successfully and in general things are moving forward.

One thing came up last night, talking to my wife, she was asking if there would be standing water. I told her "no this is pondless"... She wants a pond. So I am working on adjusting the plan to include a pond. This will solve most of the water in motion concerns but adds a whole new set of things I have to consider.

At the moment I am thinking about a 10' x 8' ~3' deep pond. Something that will give me a ton of water but not be so huge that it takes over the yard.

My plan, based on the past videos I have watched is to do a two-tier layout in the pond, have it be smaller in the middle and work its way wider with stone. Then start the waterfall boulders and all that.

More soon.
 
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one word of thought . the rule with ponds is like everything and that's the rule of three, big bigger biggest keep in mind how to add onto or how to increase the size all together with9ugh getting into the water fall . like maybe a peninsula on both sides of the falls where the liner can be worked with overlaps yet not have to move boulders in the falls.

good luck with your project
 
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It's amazing how indecisive people can be at times. but jumping gee wilikas when she says she wants a pond .GUESS WHAT YOUR BUILDING
 
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