How to build a water-wise waterfall

The delightful sight, sound and feel of water, so refreshing and desirable when heat and drought dominate. These elements can easily be integrated into a water wise garden without being incongruous- when done on a modest scale. Yet a serene setting with a trickling sound of water is to some very Zen. A garden is a very personal aspect of the homeowner. It's as personal as the clothes you wear. The way you dress your garden is a statement. So why not build a waterfall that will transform it into a beckoning room. Some might think filling a small pond or pool with gallons of water is wasteful, yet next to an entire landscape that is integrated efficiently and is filled with water greedy plants, it compares most favorably. Plant your water feature with water lilies and other aquatic plants for interest and to cut down on surface evaporation. Water circulation is the key.

There are a few things you should consider prior to starting this project.

Look into the covenants of your neighborhood and make sure you are not looking at a battle with your local neighborhood. Read the town ordinances.
Contact an electrician to place a GFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet near the pond in order to plug your water pump.
Contact your electrical companies to make sure you are not digging up any electrical wiring.
Sit down and design your garden including the plants you will use down to the material you will need to make this happen.

Things you will need:

Rocks (preferably more flat than not)
A sump pump.
Stiff pond liner.
Carpenter's level.
Tubing (preferably black) to run from the pump to the pot that will cascade into the stones.
A large planter or ceramic pot to hide the tubing.

Once you have an idea of where you want your waterfall to be (closer to your windows or patio the better you will enjoy it) make sure the area is cleared out of any weeds branches or unnecessary rocks. Make sure it's a level area if you need you can use the sand in order to level the ground. Dig a hole (depth will depend on the depth of your pond liner) where you will be placing your pond liner and make sure the area around this pond has manageable room for your aquatic plants. If you cannot eye the dimension then place the pond liner in the area and score the soil around it about 2 to 3 feet away with your shovel.

Now you have your hole dug up to the right size, get your rocks largest to smallest ready. Start building a wall on one side of your pond. Start from large to smaller in order to have the trickling effect. As I have mentioned the flatter the rocks the easier they will stabilize. (You may need to perfect this with some shims) Make sure you have room behind these rocks in order for your sump pump to be well hidden. You should have extra rocks (either large and flat or small and round) to lie around your pond liner in order to hide the unsightly plastic. This will give your pond/waterfall an accent. The height you want for this waterfall is up to you however, make sure there is a slight slant, with your flat rocks in order to form a continuous chute down into your pond. Now you can place your tubing inside you planter in order for the water to spill onto the rocks. Make sure you measure the amount of tubing you are going to use and then cut off any extra tubing. I have seen ceramic pots that could not be used for plants due to cracks as the accent to a waterfall. You can place it at the edge of your cascading rocks with the tubing well hidden inside.

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