A water feature is a great way to create a soothing and relaxing environment in your yard or outdoor living space.
Many people are installing koi ponds, water fountains, pondless water features, and waterfalls. However, not everybody has the space to build a large-scale tranquil water feature like these.
That’s where pondless waterfall basins are a perfect choice. You can build pondless waterfalls in many large- or small-scale formats to fit the space you have.
What is a Pondless Waterfall Water Feature?
A pondless waterfall is a water feature that has a self-sustaining water supply without the need for a body of water. Normal koi and backyard ponds have a basin at the end of the waterfall or stream. A really huge benefit of the pondless waterfall is how low-maintenance it is!
A pondless waterfall is also a great option because it costs slightly less money to build. These small water features require minimal labor and materials.
A pondless waterfall feature is a simple structure comprised of the following components.
1. Pondless Waterfall Basin
The pondless waterfall basin is the most important part of the water feature. The basin is the water source located at the base of the waterfall. Although the illusion of this water fountain makes it seem like this is the end of the water’s journey, it’s really just the beginning.
The basin is dug out of the ground to the necessary width and depth specifications before adding water and other crucial components. Homeowners usually camouflage the basin or cover it with rocks, gravel, and potentially aquatic plants.
2. Pondless Waterfall Basin Liner
The waterfall basin liner is simply a rubber “fabric” laid into the basin once it has been dug out. Similar to liners for pools or ponds, the design of the basin liner prevents water from seeping into the soil underneath.
If the water soaks into the ground underneath your water feature, you’re going to have to replenish it constantly. The basin liner also helps keep the water clean as well as the other components within the pondless waterfall basin compared to using clay or other natural material.
3. Pump Vault
The pump vault does pretty much what it sounds like; it houses the water pump and keeps it safe and stationary. The pump vault’s location is in the waterfall basin.
Without the pump vault, the pump would be free-floating. This creates difficulty when cleaning, removing, and replacing the water pump. The pump vault also ensures that no gravel, rocks, or debris gets stuck in the water pump, resulting in damage.
4. Water Pump and Water Fountain
The water pump is the device that keeps the water in motion. Housed within the pump vault, the water pump circulates water from the basin to the top of the waterfall.
You must have the correct water pump for the size of your waterfall. If the pump isn’t strong enough for the amount of water your water fountain requires, it will burn out and need replacement. Check with a professional to ensure that your water pump is adequate for the size of the waterfall you’re hoping to build.
5. Basin Matrix Blocks
Basin Matrix Blocks are heavy-duty blocks that sit in the waterfall basin. They are very porous and are designed to substitute gravel in the basin while allowing free water flow.
Before matrix blocks, the basin required much more gravel, which reduced the water’s ability to flow and decreased the amount of water that could sit in the basin. Less water leads to quicker evaporation which, in turn, leads to constant refilling.
The basin matrix blocks hold the pump vault in place while increasing water volume by allowing water to flow through them, making for a far more efficient system.
The piping is the key to the pondless waterfall’s magic. The piping carries the water from the pump up to the top of the waterfall. Usually buried or otherwise hidden out of sight, the piping is crucial to achieving the waterfall effect.
7. Water Spillway
The water spillway is the component that releases the water at the top of the waterfall. It is usually covered or disguised to give the waterfall a more natural appearance. Spillways come in an array of sizes to suit the pondless waterfall basin and water pump size.
The professional consensus for your spillway is that for every inch of the spillway, you should allow for a minimum of 100 gallons per hour to flow through it. A ten-inch spillway would have a requirement of at least 1,000 gallons of water per hour.
8. Waterfall Liner
The waterfall liner covers the area where the water cascades. It keeps the water clean and prevents absorption and evaporation. It’s best to measure out the length of surface the water will be traveling and add a bit more to the liner so that it will hang into the basin. This will direct the water better and prevent splashing.
9. Rocks and Gravel
The fun part of designing a water feature is decorating it! Place rocks and gravel in and around the waterfall basin liner and the waterfall liner to disguise the liner for a natural look while keeping the liners in place.
Make sure that your stones and gravel aren’t blocking the water’s pathway too much. This may cause the pondless waterfall to appear unnatural and cause water splattering outside of the stream.
How to Calculate Your Pondless Waterfall Basin Size
If you’re building a pondless waterfall, a properly sized basin is crucial. If you’re using a pondless waterfall kit, it should include the dimensions and measurements. If you’re starting from scratch, you just need some basic math:
- Calculate the water in the stream: Measure the length, width, and depth of the stream and put them into this formula: L x W x (0.25 x D of stream) x 7.48.
- Calculate the basin’s requirements: The basin should hold 2.5 times the stream. Simply multiply the resulting number of the above formula by 2.5 to calculate the pondless waterfall basin size. Be sure to account for rocks and gravel in the basin.
At Gradex, we specialize in bringing your outdoor dreams to life! From a plan for construction to the final walk-through, we can help you design and install the pondless water basin of your dreams. Fill out a form on our contact page to get started, today!