November 2, 2009
Backyard Waterfall Design
Before designing a backyard waterfall you should inspect some natural basin at the top of the fall, area around, sides, and bottom of a fall. Observe how the water spills over and around the rocks, and how far it falls. Visit public or private places that have waterfalls, fountains, ponds, streams. Look at pictures and photos. Ask designers to show you waterfalls that they have completed.
When you have collected designs and ideas, join it into your plan, note others. The design of your waterfall should be visible now. A formal design can have geometric forms, such as a straight canal, stepped falls, or a wall that water drip over. The best building materials for formal design include cut stones, slabs, tile, glass, metal, and acrylic. The backyard can include ground grass, trees and shrubs.
An informal or realistic design usually includes a single fall way, surrounded by a rocks and plants. Or you can choose for multiple-cataract waterfall, where more than one stream flows over the fall way. The plumbing for this design utilized a manifold behind the falls that divides the pipeline from the pump into two or more lines. Each line has its own valve to adjust how much water flows over each part of the waterfall and through the rock face and between rocks at the top of the waterfall.
Waterways can have a basins, small pools or pond linked by cascades or a stream. As water overflow a pool, it either drops directly into a pond or spills onto stones and into a stream. When two or more basins are connected by waterfall, design each lower basin larger than the one above it.
As the water circulates in a waterway, it is pumped from lowest basin to fill the upper to overflowing. The lowest basin should be enough that when water is pumped out of it to the upper basin, the drop in volume won’t be noticeable.
If you design a waterfall with pond, create the waterfall on the distant site of the main approach to the pond. Plan on a buffer of flat rocks between waves and quiet waters where water plants grow.
Waterfalls look natural when the site on a slope. If your backyard is level, build different levels in order to make waterfall appear natural. When you dig the hole, save the dirt and use it for create shelves, waterway, or planting areas around the waterfall.
A 10 by 15 foot pool is enough water to provide a waterfall about 2 feet high. Falls higher than 3 feet should be reserved for large pond with powerful pumps.
Limit your height to1 to2 feet to keep it realistic looking and reduce water loss as it splashes outside of the waterfall. Low height also allows you to use a less powerful pump. This saves money when buying a pump, and energy when pump is working.
Any one a waterfall must be lined to prevent water loss. Choose from preformed plastic and fiberglass units or flexible liners, which vary of sizes, forms, and structures.
Preformed units come in several forms, including pools, tiers, single cascades, and joining section for a waterway, allowing various setups.
Flexible liners under waterway allow unlimited designing.
Choose rocks for your waterfall, which should be in scale with the pond or pool. In natural setting, water ways over, between, and around rocks. The water will drop, break, and splash depending on how you set rocks above or below the edge of a falls or a stream. The setting of rocks provides the attribute of natural waterfall, and ensures its success. The size and form of each rock manipulate the way of falls. Try some arrangements of rocks before setting upon a complete. Placed at the base of a fall, a large rock forces the water that strikes it to bubble. Large waterfalls call for rock work in scale with water feature.
The straight rock over which water flows before falling is named “spillway rock”. It should extend beyond the rocks under it. The farther it extends the greater the sound of falling water, because space behind falling water intensifies its sound. The extension of a spillway also prevents weeping down the rock face of the waterfall.
Homeowners could design the backyard using their own imagination and desire.