Installation of Waterfalls and Streams

Do you want a high drop or a long slow stream?

When many people think of garden ponds the first thing that comes to mind are flowing streams and the sound of splashing waterfalls. These add a natural a look and sound to the water feature that can't be achieved with a fountain. Streams and waterfalls can come in an almost endless variety of shapes and sizes but the construction can be learned by understanding a few key steps. Below we will give an overview of the installation process.

Does your dog love water?

If you have a dog that loves water it is important to have the liner covered with rock to prevent punctures from claws.


Before you begin it is important to plan out how you want the waterfall to look. Is it going to be a series of short steps or one large drop? If so, you need to have a wide enough area that the splashing will run back into the pond. (Even a small amount of splashing can cause you to lose a few inches of water in a day.) What type of rock do you want to use? Is the thickness uniform or are there lots of variations to the shape? Are you going to incorporate a Biofall Filter into the top of the waterfall? If you want to have areas that hold water when shut off, you can dig deeper sections. Widening a section will slow the water running through an area, but if there isn't a little added depth you may not have enough flow to keep spots from being dry. This is one part of the process where you can really let your imagination run wild.

Step 1: Outline

Mark out the shape and width into the area. It is easiest to do this if there is already a hill in place. If there is not you will need to build up artificially with a frame or rock.

Step 2: Digging

Carve out steps into the area. The shape and size of the steps is a matter of how you want the area to look. If the rock you have chosen is thick, you will need each step to be higher to accommodate this. You want to have a good 4-6 inches of height after the rock is in place to accommodate the water flow.

Step 3: Edging

Just as in the pond installation it is important to make sure your surfaces are perfectly level and there is no loose dirt left in the area. The cleaner the edges are, the better the finished product is going to look.

Step 4: Plumbing

Cut a trench into the ground and run the tubing from where it will come out of the pond up to the top of the waterfall. If you are installing a biofall you will have an adapter to attach it to. If not then you want it to run into a header pool of water.

Step 5: Placement

Lay the liner into place. Tuck it into place as best you can. You can use rocks to hold it down in different spots as you work your way from bottom to top.

Step 6: Install Biofall - OPTIONAL

Click here to go to the Filtration - Biofall Filter link If you don't install a biofall, make a pool of water at the top with liner. This will disperse the flow from the hose and give you an even sheet of water flowing over the top.

Step 7: Rock Stacking

This is one of the hardest and most time consuming steps in the process. Start at the bottom and work your way back to the top. Make sure every rock you choose fits into its proper place well. Each rock needs to be stable before you go on to the next. If you can't keep a rock from wobbling, pull it out and find another to go into its place. Make sure the height of the rocks are consistent and that they are level all the way across. DON'T BE AFRAID TO RIP IT ALL APART AND REDO IT!!! If you find that you can't make the rocks fit tightly, or you find that the steps aren't the right height, you will want to pull the liner back and re-carve the dirt. I know this is a lot of work but leaving this done poorly is just asking to have to redo the whole thing in 5 years.

Step 8: Seaming

Use double-sided seam tape to attach the liner where the waterfall meets the pond.

Step 9: Foaming

Once the waterfall is completely built and you are satisfied with the look, it is time to seal the rock with expanding foam. Dampen the rock with a hose. Run a bead of foam into every crack that the water will run down. Run through an entire can before stopping. After 20 minutes, a half-used can is worthless. Do not touch the foam until it is dry. Wait 24 hours to cure.

Step 10: Excess Foam Removal

Once the foam is dry go back and pop off all of the excess that is protruding from the rocks. You can use a knife for this but it is often easier to just pull it off by hand.

Step 11: Turn it on!

It's time to plug in the pump and enjoy your handy work.


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