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How do I Install a Garden Waterfall?

By Licia Morrow
Updated May 16, 2024
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A garden waterfall can create a beautiful focal point in a garden, as well as provide interest in an otherwise flat landscape. There are two types of garden waterfall that do-it-yourself homeowners can install. The first is a pre-formed cascade unit and the second is a waterfall that flows over a building of natural stone with a waterproof liner.

Pre-formed cascade units are widely available and can be a good choice for a homeowner who wishes to install a garden waterfall in a minimum amount of time. The design work has already been done; therefore, the water tends to flow easily from one area to another. Some designs include falls within the unit; others have small areas for water plants. These units can be made of fiberglass, plastic, cement, or stone, and water flow rates vary widely from system to system.

To install a pre-formed system, it is first important to understand flow rate. Larger flow rates can result in water loss from splashing. In this case it may be necessary to install a liner to catch extra water and direct it back to the pool. It is wise to start at the bottom when installing a series of cascade pools. Set the hose in place to disguise it before positioning the unit. The pump should be placed near the base of the waterfall to avoid excess water circulation in the pool. Set the cascade units into place loosely and run water through to get an idea of the finished affect.

Then, pack the soil foundations firmly and support with cement to affix them in their places. Ensure that there is enough clearance above the water level around the edges to avoid seepage. To finish the overall look of the garden waterfall, disguise the edges of the units with rocks, soil and plants.

A liner-constructed garden waterfall takes a bit more time and expertise to install at the outset, but can be more adaptable and unique than a pre-formed unit. The main goal is to construct a series of cascade units that end in a larger pool at the bottom of the series. Construction should be started at the bottom, with installation of purchased liners moving up to ensure a natural progression of water flow. As with cascade units, put the pump and hose in place, and make a trial run to check for excess leakage.

It is best to put the liners of the garden waterfall into place first, then arrange rocks, checking along the way for possible leakage points. Cementing the liners into place is preferable for a firm placement. The gaps between liner and rock should be filled with cement to ensure an even flow of water. It is important that all water flows smoothly over the lip of each cascade area and does not run back underneath. Complete the look by adding soil, additional rocks, and plants.

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