Disappearing Waterfalls & Fountains
What is a Disappearing or Pond-less Water Feature and How to Build One
Disappearing Waterfalls & Fountains
it may be desirable to have a waterfall or a fountain without
the pond. Someone with small children or someone who only wants
a water display without fish or plants may prefer this approach
to having an open pond. What is visible is an area of water worn
pebbles with the fountain or waterfall
disappearing into them. The pump and water are below the pebbles
eliminating the danger of open waters.
The process is fairly simple. A reservoir is constructed either by digging in the ground or building up with a lumber or masonry structure. Depending on the size and length of the waterfall a shallow basin may be sufficient. You only need to build the reservoir large enough to hold sufficient water to keep the pump below water when the system is running. Unless you install an automatic water supply you may want the system to hold a little more than necessary to allow for evaporation. Most water basins for fountains are about one foot deep while those for waterfalls should be one and one half to two feet deep. This is because a waterfall generally uses more water within the system and the evaporation is greater.
After the reservoir is dug, you will then line it with underlayment and rubber pond liner just like a regular pond. The pond can’t just be filled with rocks. It needs a void space for the pump and easy access to service the pump. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.
option is to use a heavy-duty
plastic grate that will support the weight of a layer of pebbles
and anyone who might walk onto the pebbles. For most fountains
a four-foot by four-foot reservoir works well. Plastic grates
are usually sold two feet by eight feet or two feet by four feet.
These can be easily cut A
can be used with this type of set up. The sound will be different
water falling back onto stone instead of water but the visual
effect will be the same. A decorative spitter such a pair of cranes can be used as well.
Another popular option is to use attractive ceramic urns. One
or more of these could be used. A nice orientation is an urn tilted
on its side with water filling the urn and then overflowing to
the unseen pond. This also produces a nice sound with a large
volume of water spilling out. An urn can be placed level with
the water overflowing evenly around the rim (see video at left).
If the urn does not have a hole in the bottom then it will be
necessary to drill out the bottom with a glass or concrete drill
bit. Rubber tubing is run through the hole and epoxy putty can
be used to seal around the tubing. The pump and tubing is added
after the pond and grate structure is finished. After hooking
up your urn or fountain to complete your fountain just cover with
a decorative gravel allowing the gravel to spill outside the reservoir
to provide the finished shape.The
other option for constructing your reservoir is to use a waterfall
well. A waterfall well is a strong plastic container with
mesh openings to allow the water to enter freely into the chamber
while offering support against the pressure of the stone. It also
comes with a secure cover to allow easy access to the pump. This
option will work better for large volumes of water such as large
fountains or waterfalls. After the reservoir is dug and lined
pond liner place the pump vault on the rubber liner. Cut out
an exit hole for the plumbing size that you are using and
run the pipe or tubing. Fill the remainder of the pond with stone
(irregular stone the approximate size of oranges is preferred)
up to the top. A more decorative smaller stone can be used on
top. Don’t use small gravel as a fill stone as it will not allow
free movement of the water through the stone to the pump vault.with a circular saw or hand saw to fit
the excavation. Place concrete block, or even a double layer of
brick for small water features, every foot or so over the bottom
of the reservoir to support the grate Cut out a square of the grate large enough to be able to get the
pump in and out.
constructing a stream with a disappearing waterfall purchase enough
waterfall pond liner to line the length of your stream plus enough
to overhang into the pond before placing your stone. Run your
plumbing to the top of the waterfall and hook up a waterfall tank
to fit the size of your project. You will most likely want all
of the water running over your waterfall and stream to flow over
stone placed in the stream instead of running under the stone.
Use mortar or waterfall foam to seal any stone to the liner at
the waterfall areas. Finish placing stone to fill the reservoir,
add plants if desired, plug up the pump and enjoy.