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Designing a Natural Waterfall
     
Click here for tip on waterfalls.

No stream would be complete without a waterfall. The most important thing to remember is that the water goes over the rock, not underneath it. This is easy to do by sealing the rock to the liner using (black) expanding foam sealant.

Decide how many waterfalls you want and pick out a piece of flagstone for each location. Before installing the liner, adjust the soil so that the rock will fit snug. After each waterfall location is prepared, remove the flagstones and put the liner down. Place a bead of expanding foam sealant on the liner (see illustration 1) then replace the rocks, packing additional dirt around them. The bead of expanding foam sealant should be 2" wide and 1" high. If you use a large rock, instead of flagstone, the installation is similar to illustration 1 but the expanding foam sealant should be applied behind the rock (see illustration 2).

It is not necessary to have a perfect seal, but most of the water should go over the falls. Some pond builders use concrete but it does not bond to the liner and takes 24 hours or more to dry. Using the expanding foam sealant, you can usually run water after 30 minutes. Concrete will also alter the pH of your pond. The waterfall stones should be level from side to side to ensure that the water will flow across the entire face of the rock. A slight tilt forward will encourage the water to project further and form a sheet, but too much water will look unnatural. If the water flow needs to be changed after the installation is complete, move a few rocks to redirect the water. This change can be made permanent by turning the water off for a few days or until the rocks are dry, then foaming the dry rocks in place.

To insure the stability of the flagstone forming the waterfall, large and very stable rocks should be used for support. Building from the bottom up, place rocks under the flagstone as though you were building a rock retaining wall. Carefully stand on the front of the flagstone to test its stability.

Now that the waterfall is almost completed, you need to foam in a rock on each side of the flagstone to ensure that the water is directed down the middle of the waterfall instead of around the edges.

Before you add all of the remaining stones to cover the liner, fill the pond with water and start the pump. As the pond starts to fill, look along both edges, the entire length of the stream, for any water flowing out. If the water is leaking out the side or is close to the top, add soil under the liner so the edge of the stream is 2" to 4" above the water flowing down the stream. Make sure each waterfall is full and meets your expectations.

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