Pondless Waterfalls - Any Ideas


  #1  
Old 03-20-05, 06:51 PM
L_Cubed
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Pondless Waterfalls - Any Ideas

Anyone have any good advice on pondless waterfalls? They a good idea or bad one? Any design sites with good suggestions?
 
  #2  
Old 03-23-05, 05:04 PM
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I saw a really cool fountain that had no visible pond of water. They burried the pond liner just like ususal, installed the plumbing & pump, then filled the pond with clean river rock. The fountain sprayed up into the air and the water drained down through the stone. They did it as a child proof fountain since you have a water feature without the drowning hazard.
 
  #3  
Old 03-31-05, 08:40 AM
conor
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here is a site that has a kit for building Pondless Waterfalls:
http://www.tjb-inc.com/watergardens_pond_waterfall.asp

If you want the sites and sounds of running water but not the maintenance issues of a full-pond, go with the pondless. They're also great if you have small children around.

Hope this helps,

Conor
 
  #4  
Old 04-03-05, 02:57 PM
John Russell
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Talking Pondless waterfall information and kits

Originally Posted by L_Cubed
Anyone have any good advice on pondless waterfalls? They a good idea or bad one? Any design sites with good suggestions?
For the most information about pondless waterfall systems and kits, go to the Google search engine at www.google.com and do a search on "pondless waterfalls", or "pondless waterfall kits", or "pondless waterfall systems".

You'll find several manufacturers equipment represented by dozens of different web sites. You'll be able to read about all the different systems, compare features, and make the best possible purchasing decisions.

Happy searching!

Sincerely,
John Russell
 
  #5  
Old 04-29-05, 08:46 AM
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Question I need a help, too, but I'm in the middle of building one

Hello from eastern NC! First time poster, but avid DIY watcher. I have all the material for building my pondless waterfall, but I need help determining how big to dig my "basin" that will be filled with stones The pump size is 1600 gph.
I have 9'X28' of liner to the stream/waterfall. I have been building ponds and falls for 20+ years, but I have never built a PONDLESS one. For those that are interested, I have alternatives to AquaScape Design systems, that I will share. They are the Cadillac, but quite pricey. At least to me. I have a pond with falls already, and a converted pump house to wishing well (w/tub and well pump water feature). I'll be glad to share (I'm not selling anything, just offering to fellow pond lovers) with anyone in any way I can help. Barry
 
  #6  
Old 05-03-05, 01:53 PM
John Russell
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Talking pondless basin calculations

Formula for pondless basin size

Hello Barry, and all pondless builders.

The pondless basin is the area at the base of a pondless waterfall, stream, basalt column, or fountain that holds all the water.

To calculate how big the basin needs to be, we need to know that the pondless basin is filled with 80% rock and 20% water. (on average)
Not knowing what type of pump chamber you are using, the following is based on the pump chamber that I am familiar with. These are Pond-Free Pump Chambers and are rated for the flow rates of the pumps that get used inside them. Your size pump would fit the 4K Pump Chamber.

A 4K Pond-Free Pump Chamber requires a basin depth of 2.25 feet
4K Pond-Free Pump Chamber requires 6 cubic feet of water to opperate because its dimensions are roughly 2' x 2' x 2'. Measure your pump chamber to determine how many cubic feet of water it needs.

To caluculate the size of the basin required, you have to determine the total cubic feet of water being used in your waterfalls and stream. Gallons are not required, only cubic feet of water. (FYI, there are 7.48 gallons of water per cubic foot)
To calculate total cubic feet of water in your waterfalls and stream: Multiply Length x Width x Depth

Calculate the waterfall/stream at a depth of 3" deep which equals .25'
Add the total cubic feet of water required for the pump chamber being used - in the case of the 4K Pump Chamber it is 6 cubic feet.
Divide the total cubic feet of water by .2 (Because pondless basin has 20% water and 80% rock) This will give you the total cubic footage the basin needs to be to hold all the water from the waterfalls and stream - remember 80% rock and 20% water.

Divide the total by the pump chamber depth 2.25' for the 4K Pond-Free Pump Chamber. This will give you the total square footage size of the pondless basin at 2.25' deep.

To calculate the dimensions of your total square footage - pick one dimension. It can be any number you like. Divide your total square footage by the your chosen dimension and this will give you your other dimension.


EXAMPLE:
A 15' long pondless stream with multiple 2' wide waterfalls using your pump.

The 4K Pond-Free Pump Chamber uses 6 cubic feet of water itself.
The stream is 15'l x 2'w x .25' d = 7.50 cubic feet of water
Add 6 cubic feet of water for the 4K Pond-Free Pump Chamber to the 7.50 cubic feet of water in your waterfall and stream.

13.50 total cubic feet of water is in the system
Divide 13.50 by .2 (20% water to 80% rock in pondless basin)
67.50 is the total cubic footage of the pondless basin at 20% water and 80% rock.

To get your dimensions of the basin, divide the 67.50 cubic feet by the 2.25' depth of the 4K Pond-Free Pump Chamber to get your total square footage that the basin needs to be at 2.25' deep.

67.50 cubic feet divided by 2.25 feet deep Pump Chamber = 30 total square feet.

30 = the total square footage a 2.25' deep pondless basin needs to be.

To calculate your dimensions within the 30 total square feet, pick one known dimension that you have in you basin location. The following example is using 4',6', and 10' dimensions.

30 square feet divided by 4' = 7.5'. So your dimensions at 2.25' deep would be 4' x 7.5'

30 square feet divided by 6' = 5'. So your dimensions at 2.25' deep would be 6' x 5'.

30 square feet divided by 10' = 3'. So your dimensions at 2.25 deep would be 10' x 3'.

I hope that answers your questions.

I would like to hear about your alternative pondless system.
Sincerely,
John Russell
 

Last edited by John Russell; 05-04-05 at 02:20 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-16-05, 12:40 PM
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Thanks, James

WOW! Thanks for the world of info. I have printed your response out for future reference. I have roughed out a hole of 3x3x2 ft., with a little more depth where the pump will sit. Rather be on the safe side, and I had plenty of room and liner. I am using a small sump well, and some ABS piping in the botton to add additional water space. I have drilled hundred of hose in both, but left enough for it to be substantial enough to support the river rock. I inverted the sump well so the opening is on the bottom, and all the holes are large and plentiful enough to oversupply the pump. The pump has a pre-filter on it also. Also a way to figure it, I understand, is to figure your gallons per minute (gpm) of your pump (inluding allowances for amount of fall and length of pipe to biofalls), and at least double it...My pump pumps around 20.38 gpm, and my basin will hold about 135 gallons minus rock, pump, etc. Using your formula of 80/20 (mine will be a little less rock because of the ABS in the bottom) that would allow about 27 gallons of water. I believe mine will be closer to 50 gal, which allow for 2.5 minutes of flow. Thanks again for all your info. Barry
 
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Old 05-16-05, 12:48 PM
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typo

That's hundreds of holes, no hundred of hose.....oops
 
  #9  
Old 05-21-05, 02:46 PM
John Russell
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Waterfall filter at the top of your pondless system

An alternative to the biofalls filter you are using at the top of your pondless waterfalls is a Hydro Vortex filter. The HV filter has a drain on it, the biofalls filter doesn't. The drain makes cleaning the filter much easier for you. Do a Google search on "Hydro Vortex filters" for a retailer or wholesaler that can serve you.

Good luck!
 
  #10  
Old 06-24-05, 07:58 PM
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I will only tell you what I have and then you ask the questions.

I have a pondless (for the puppies) waterfall with a stream of about
10' and the waterfall is about 3' high. These measurements aren't 100% accurate but close. The pondless is about 2 - 2 1/2' deep.
I also have a drain in case it rains too much.

Hi TECH INFO BELOW:
Because of the height of the waterfall, the pump must be a certain size.
If your waterfall is less than or equal to 3' high I can tell you what I bought that will work for you.


AND I thought this was so sophisticated.................but it ain't.
 
  #11  
Old 07-05-05, 04:53 PM
John Russell
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Pump Size for waterfalls

Hello TTASHA,

Most professional grade submersible pumps are rated at 5 feet of head. (Head means the difference between the highest point of the waterfall and the water level in the basin or pond.) In your case, you have 3' of head with 10' of length. You can be safe to say that for every 10 feet of horizontal pipe distance you have, you can add 1 foot of head to the total. So if you have a 3' rise, and 10' run - that would equal approximatetly 4' of head. So for pumps that are listed at 5' of head - you will be fine.

Here is how we calculate what size pump we want to use when designing waterfalls. For waterfalls coming off of boulders, we want around 200 gallons per hour per inch wide of waterfalls. These types of falls are more "white water" and louder. They are ideal for covering up neighborhood or traffic noises. For waterfalls coming off of cut stone or slate, we want around 100 gallons per hour per inch wide of waterfalls. These types of falls are more clear, or "glass like" and have a softer sound. Typicaly more suited for smaller landscapes.
The reason for such a flow difference is because water coming off of a cut stone or slate that is extending outward has nowhere to go but down. So it falls off easily. When you make your falls out of irregular shaped boulders, you have to push more water to make it "shoot" off of the boulder - otherwise it'll just "hug" the rock and run down the face of the rock and not "fall".

For example, if your waterfalls are 20" wide and constructed with boulders and you want a "white water" effect - you would want a pump of approximately 4,000 gallons per hour. (20" x 200 gph = 4,000 gph) If the same waterfalls where made from slate or cut stone, and you want a more "glass-like" waterfall you would need only a 2,000 gallon per hour pump. (20" x 100 gph = 2,000 gph) If you want something in the middle, split the difference and go with a 3,000 gallon per hour pump. But remember, you can't turn your pump's volume up, you can only turn it down (with a ball valve on the discharge pipe). So if you're unsure, opt for the larger pump and place a ball valve on its discharge pipe. This way, you can partially close the valve for a lower water flow if you like. This will not harm professional grade pumps such as Hydro Dynamax. (Do an internet search to find a retailer of Hydro Dynamax pumps)

So when building waterfalls, you need to consider the height and length to determine the total head pressure on the pump. You need to also consider the width of the falls and what you are building the falls out of, and what look and sound you are trying to create. "White-water" is loud. "Clear-water" is soft. Boulders create "white-water" but need 200 gph per inch wide of falls. Slate or cut stone makes clear or "glass-like" falls and only need 100 gph per inch wide of falls.

I hope I helped.

Sincerely,
John Russell
 

Last edited by John Russell; 08-12-05 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 01-02-07, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by L_Cubed View Post
Anyone have any good advice on pondless waterfalls? They a good idea or bad one? Any design sites with good suggestions?
Dear L_Cubed,

Your question, "They a good idea or bad one?", cannot be properly answered in a couple of sentences. Here is my shocking answer to your supposedly simple question.

I am truly grieved by all these dishonest, shifty, greedy malefactors, posing as experts in the waterfall and pond industry.

I must have misunderstood the rules of this forum; not to use your real name; not to promote your website or products, directly or indirectly... I will discuss this a little later on!

There are now thousands of pond liner installers, posing as expert, deceiving people by holding back an important truth about pond liner construction.

Why? If the truth were reveiled up front, 70% of the people opting for a liner pond would not invest in one.

I have been designing and building water features for over a quarter of a century. Personally constructing well over 1,900 to date. Why am I telling you this? So you will have a reference point to draw your conclusions from, for my statements related to me being an expert in the industry.

The number of unhappy pond liner owners that approach my booth at the trade and water garden shows , is staggering at best. After I listen intently to their personal horror stories, I ask them if the pond installer told them the down side to liner ponds. They have now clue what I am talking about.

They would confess that the installer emphasized the 2 or 5 year warranty on the liner itself against factory defects. However, no mention that they would later refuse to correct serious issues down the road created by burrowing, gnawing, animals such as mice, rats, ground squirrels, gophers, chipmunks or ground hogs. Nor was the possibility of punctures from roots or settling heavy boulders stretching the liner to a point of rupture.

I explain what the options are: Just incase there is more than one leak from more than one possible cause, we will need to take the waterfall completely apart, drain the pond, (relocate the fish) clean up the liner and look for leaks.

One issue is, how do you find a pin hole? I can illustrate using a 36 inch square of pond liner. Have four people take each corner and poke a hole in the liner using a knitting needle. I will then pour a gallon of water onto the liner. You will observe only a drip per second, passing through the hole. However, only one drip per second, translates to 5 GALLONS of water in a twenty four hour time span.

Now I ask the four people to tug on the corners stretching the liner as a couple of heavy rocks would. As the liner is stretched, the hole is also stretched and the water starts drizzling out.

A liner installer and waterfall builder of 19 years has published these statistics: I praise him for his honesty!

1. More than 37% of all waterfalls have serious structural damage within 3 years of it being built.
2. 57% of homeowners say they’re rather unsatisfied with the way their waterfall came out – after the project was completed.
3. Nearly 1 in 3 waterfalls and ponds are leaking water within 9 months of completion.
4. 27% of all outdoor waterfalls and ponds have pumps that are either too strong or too weak – causing unnecessary expenditures down the road.
5. 63% of ‘do It yourselfers’ said they wish they had the proper information from the ‘get go’ or they wished they would have hired someone!

These figures also line up with my personal experience. I thank God I did not jump on the greedy, get-rich-quick-scheme, band wagon, started by the "liner messiah" and all his "disciples." I could have ended up being one of the dozens being sued here in San Diego. Fortunately, I'm an expert witness for the prosecutor , rather than a defendant.
I am delighted to report, that so far, 100% of the plaintiffs have won their cases.

Why am I doing this? To try and restore integrity back to the water feature industry. For the same reason I am writing this article to expose impostors.
Speaking of impostors, I am going to use this name, John Russell. I am safe referring to this name because it is not his real name. For I know it is against the rules of the Forum to use your real name.

John Russell offered "free" information to readers of this category about Pondless waterfalls. What a coincidence. I sent an email to a man by that name, who was boasting on his website, that he ,"...was the one who started the pondless waterfall craze that has spread around the world. I am the first one ever to come up with the pondless waterfall..." That is all I will quote, I am starting to get nauseous.

My email, was to inform him that his statements were not true, about being the first. I included in my email a photo of a pondless waterfall I built back in 1983 (one of many) and included the clients name and address for verification.

I am a freelance writer for several magazines, and have been sharing my concept in articles nation-wide. From pond magazines like "Ponds, to landscape magazines like Better Homes & Gardens or San Diego Home & Garden. He never responded to my email.
He also boasted about being in the number one spot when you google "pondless waterfalls" He implied on his website, that this proved what he was saying was true.

WOW! another incredible coincidence! I know it has to be, because another rule of the forum is, " you are not to give reference to your product or your website..." yet, this unknown author's name is the same name as the owner of the website that contains all these boasts. If you read this far, you have earned this next bit of prose.

Hopefully, this article will not only save you hundreds of dollars but, it will leave you with a positive taste in your mouth. If I repeat a few facts, that is good, some things need repeating...

Pondless Waterfalls: Concrete vs. Pond Liner

The get-rich-quick factor in the pond liner industry has forced up the price of pond liner kits to equal the cost of concrete construction. If you search for the truth about concrete ponds and waterfalls from reading the literature of the greed-driven liner pond industry, you will not find it. Why?

Because if the truth be known, no one in their right mind would invest good, hard-earned money in a pond liner!
The pond liner track record speaks for itself:
More than 37% of all waterfalls have serious structural damage within 3 years of construction.
57% of homeowners say they are rather unsatisfied with the way their waterfall came out after the project was completed.
One in three waterfalls and ponds are leaking water within nine months of completion.
63% of “do-it-yourselfers” say they wished they had the proper information from the “get go” or that they had hired someone.

These statistics are from the pond liner industry itself (Bob Wilder, 48-Hour Waterfall). I can confirm and attest to these figures myself. I have built over 1,900 concrete and rebar waterfalls and ponds over the past 26 years. I have ripped out and replaced dozens of defective liner ponds and replaced them with concrete ones with lifetime warranties.

Pond liner guys will not attach more than a one-year warranty. They make no guarantee against rats, mice, ground squirrels, gophers, tree roots and sharp objects.

Let’s compare apples to lemons … First, let’s talk about apples (concrete waterfalls). We will construct a pondless waterfall that is 20 inches wide at the top by 20 feet long, becoming 24 inches wide at the bottom, to create a spillway 3 feet tall. At the bottom is a catch basin 4 ft. x 6 ft. x 3 ft. deep.

The costs of excavation are as follows:

To dig a waterfall and basin takes two men 4 hours @ $20 per hour = $160. The flexible PVC pipe is 35 ft. @ $1.25 per ft. = $44. Concrete (3500 psi with stealth fiber)): 2 ˝ yards = $250. 20 pieces of 20 ft. x 3/8 inch rebar = $100. One 1/3 HP high efficiency pump, 2800 GPH, 356 watts = $429. One anti-vortex drain = $10. Four 2 x 4 ft. heavy plastic corrugated or galvanized plans to cover the collection basin = $35. Setting the rebar: 3 man-hrs. = $225. Pumping and finishing 2 ˝ yards of concrete: 4 man-hrs. @ $75/hr. = $300. Applying thoro-seal, 1 sack + 1 hour = $43. Rock work + 8 sacks mortar mix: labor - 8 man-hrs. @ $75/hr. = $600.
Mortar: $40.

TOTAL EXCAVATION COST FOR A CONCRETE POND = $2,236.

With this type of construction, no filter is needed. The water in the basin is not exposed to sunlight, so there are no algae. Plus the top layer of rock and the planks are easily removed for cleaning out debris about once a year. If a plastic screen is placed over the planks before the rock layer, cleaning is reduced by 90%.

Now let’s talk about the lemons (the liner folks). The pondless waterfall liner kit advertised by all the disciples of the “liner messiah” on their websites is $1,940 + tax & shipping, or $2,176.

And now for the math: One concrete/rebar construction pondless waterfall completed with high-efficiency pump = $2,236. One pondless liner kit to build a pondless waterfall of the exact same dimensions = $2,176. If I did the math correctly, the completed concrete pondless waterfall costs $60 more than the pondless waterfall liner kit; however, it is still in the box!

Concrete and rebar pondless waterfall has a lifetime warranty. Liner pondless waterfall: 1 yr. warranty on labor, lifetime warranty against factory defect. But there is no warranty whatsoever against holes caused by rats, mice, ground squirrels, gophers, tree roots, sharp objects, etc. Sorry Charlie!

Concrete and rebar pondless waterfalls use a high-efficiency above-ground pump that is easy to service (it has a 3 yr. warranty). The 1/3 HP pump is small, very quiet, and easily hidden behind a couple of rocks or plants next to the falls, or piped to another part of the yard.

The liner pondless waterfall uses a submersible sump pump that is placed in the bottom of the basin, and then buried with hundreds of pounds of rocks. To service this pump (only a 2 ˝ yr. warranty), all the slimy, stinky rocks have to be removed from the basin first.

The concrete and rebar pondless waterfall pump produces 5,800 gallons per hour at only 356 watts (retail $429). The liner pondless waterfall kit comes with a sump pump (they advertise as “the best pump on the market”). It produces 5,700 gal/hour (100 gal. less) at a whopping 911 watts of power (over twice that of the above-ground pump). You will pay $525 more per year for electricity (at $.12/kwh) for that extra 555 watts. Their pump costs $600 retail ($171 more than the above-ground). Oh, did I mention “the best warranty in the industry” is only 2 ˝ years, compared to 3 years for the above-ground?

The concrete and rebar pondless waterfall’s rocks are all mortared in place. So anyone, especially small children, can climb on the rocks without them moving, with possible serious injury resulting. With liner pondless waterfalls, rocks will move and shift on their own without help. After a few months, the ugly liner is exposed in the falls and around the pond.

While building the concrete pondless waterfall, design liberties can be taken, such as altering the length, width or shape of the feature. With a liner pondless waterfall, the parameters have already been set by the manufacturer of the kit.

The concrete pondless waterfall can utilize the large, open basin to install an Aquafill automatic water leveling device. In addition, the basin can be made smaller because the space for water is not taken up by rocks as it is in the liner pondless waterfall basin. The only rock that exists is on top of the galvanized or plastic plank cover.

Wow! Concrete waterfalls are stationary, permanent, lifetime life-expectancy, cheaper to build, cheaper to operate, easier to clean, easy to maintain, longer pump warranty, safer and more natural looking! Apples or lemons? You be the judge!

I am sick and tired of these amateurs giving my life-long profession a bad name by their exaggerated, dishonest and sensational claims – only to be backed up by a nebulous warranty and, at best, shoddy workmanship. My disclaimer: There are professionals installing liners that do take measures to prevent rodent or root attacks by placing a think layer of mortar under and over the liner. I found that if you are going to go to all that extra work and expense, just build it with 3500 psi concrete to begin with! The FallGuy
Happy koi, peace and joy … no koi, no joy.

"Never sell you integrity, it is priceless." dch

Koi Pond or Pondless Waterfall: Where Do I Begin?

1.) Have you thought about A Water Feature?-- Is it true that a water feature will add equity to my home? What about a swimming pool? Doesn't a pond require a lot of upkeep? What is the average cost? Do I need a building permit? Do I have to have fish? ...we travel a lot!

American Society of Landscape Architects
Landscape Architects Identify Trends for 2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --"Sustainable design is bigger than ever and homeowners and commercial building owners alike are looking to utilize outdoor spaces even more. The New Year will bring a number of exciting and creative design solutions from landscape architects.
Homeowners are requesting that landscape architects design complete outdoor rooms, such as kitchens and bars, for entertaining. Water features such as koi ponds, waterfalls, and fountains continue to be popular (with no signs of slowing), according to a new survey of leading members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)."

The American Nurseryman Association reports that "water features are the fastest growing trend in landscaping since 1990 (2007 should break all records.)"

Regionally, in-ground pools will add about 5 percent to the value of a home in the Northeast, about 6 percent in the Midwest, and 7.5 percent in the Southeast and West. In the Southwest, a swimming pool will add nearly 11 percent to the home's value.

If you add a $35,000 pool to a $300,000 house, you will just barely recover your initial expense. However, you still have the high maintenance cost and you have just limited the future buyers of your home to people who want a pool. Therefore, you have actually reduced the equity in your home. On the other hand, everyone loves a beautiful water feature, young and old!

Therefore, increased equity!
Swimming pools require constant attention and maintenance. Unlike ponds, pool owners cannot rely on the nitrogen cycle to lend a hand at keeping the water healthy. This can only be accomplished by due diligence and a myriad of chemicals.

Unlike a pond, the enjoyment of a pool comes from its use; and for most regions of the country, the climate dictates a very short period of time for pool use. Unless you heat your pool, then your dumping more money in your pool.

A pond requires minimal attention compared to swimming pool. Once a properly constructed pond is established with the right proportion of fish, plants and biological elements, a pond will take care of itself, the rest is enjoyment, year round. You do not need to use a pond as you do a pool, it only need to exist for you to enjoy.

2.) What do I do about the safety of my small children or grandchildren? How big should it be? Is this something I can do on my own or do I need professional help building a pond?

Unlike a swimming pool, ponds can be child proofed, with very little expense. A swimming pool, however, requires special self-closing gates with special latches. Another required code requirement is 95-decibel alarms on all exit doors leading to the back yard.
And for your added peace of mind, you can install an unsightly, removable, lightweight fence that cost hundreds of dollars. Then you can continually agonize over whether you, or someone else, forgot to close the fence gate.

A pond, however, can be filled with large boulders, which can be removed later when the children are grown. Or you can construct a pondless waterfall to begin with. Now you still can enjoy the sight and sound of cascading water without the concerns for safety.

An added advantage of a pondless waterfall is that a pondless waterfall costs less to construct and maintain. A pondless waterfall can be added to your front yard, meet all building code requirements, increase curb appeal, and thereby increase the equity and the resale value of your home.

The "size of the water feature" is a relative term. There are many factors that need to be considered. Far more than can be be discussed in the space I have allotted for this article. I will cover it in my next article.

A few questions to ask yourself:

How big is your yard? Where do you spend the majority of your time? What is your budget? How is the size, shape and topography of your yard related to certain limitations regarding the building codes? Will the existing water table affect your water feature? Does your property currently have adequate drainage? Do you have underground utilities? If so, where are they located? What are the local building codes regarding pond depth? Do you need a building permit, or a licensed contractor?
...just to name a few of the topics covered.

Whether you need a professional contractor is another article. What type of access do you have to your property? Do you want large boulders? If so, is there proper clearance for a crane or Bobcat? How do you find a qualified contractor? How do you go about qualifying them? Are they properly licensed? Insured? Bonded? Workmen's compensation? Liability insurance? Hospitalization? References? Background checks and much, much more. Do your homework and proper research prior to commencement, it could save you thousands of dollars.

3.) What is the single most important first step in building a water feature? What about equipment? Should I get koi fish and a turtle? Where should I place my pond and waterfall? All these questions can be addressed with two words: Plan & Design!

First, decide where you spend most of your leisure activity. ...family room, living room, patio etc. Your waterfall and pond should be in close proximity to that location. Not in the far corner of your property. Sound and visualization are two of the major benefits of a waterfall and pond. These decisions are part of the planning process. Once you decide on these issues, the design process begins.

The best way to approach this phase is to consider a digital design. There are companies that can produce an incredible digitally designed, virtual photo of your backyard, by simply providing them with a digital photo of the area you want the water feature located. You may opt to digitally design your own. There are digital design programs that are simple to master on your own for less than a hundred dollars. Just search the web by typing in digitally designed ponds or waterfalls.

The type of equipment you should use is dependent upon the size of your pond. Your budget is another factor. If you have a small budget, you're looking at designing a small pond. In addition, look at the available options for construction materials.

You can buy a rubber liner kit and install it yourself, or have a rubber-liner-kit-installer-guy install it for you. Bottom line, either way, is there is no guarantee against bucked-toothed critters such as mice, rats, ground squirrels, gophers and ground hogs, from burrowing underneath your expensive rubber liner and chewing a hole in it. Concrete (3500psi) and rebar is the best construction method, and if done correctly, will last for generations. Concrete ponds cost only 10 to 20% more to build than liner ponds.

Your pond will require less maintenance if you allow the nitrogen cycle to do all the work. This means you need to do your part by providing the elements needed for the nitrogen cycle to operate. The fish provide the waste which produces nitrates and ammonia. Certain essential bacteria break down the nitrates and ammonia into safe byproducts used by the plants and other organisms.

Once this process is started, with the aid of a biological filter and possibly an ultraviolet light, future maintenance is minimal and routine. An above ground, high efficiency pump produces more water flow at half the energy and less initial cost than a sump pump used with liner ponds. The savings in electrical costs alone could easily pay for the additional cost of professional concrete construction in less three years.

4.) Where do I find the equipment and construction material I need to complete my project? How do I know what size filter, pump or ultraviolet light I need? If I want to have a concrete pond and waterfall shell, Where do I begin?

The internet is the best place to start looking for equipment. Local pond stores are usually higher priced, because of overhead expense. Most of the internet dealers are knowledgeable on sizing pumps, filters and ultraviolet lights to any size pond or waterfall. However, keep in mind, most on line dealers are trying to push pond liners, sump pumps and pond liner-related filters and accessories.

Look for energy efficient pumps first, and those dealers will carry concrete pond related products such as bottom drains, pool type skimmers and pressured, back-flushable biological bead filters. Also, Liner dealers sell the cheap mechanical autofill devices, because of a high profit margin.

Make sure you invest in a reliable electronic autofill system that is less likely to malfunction such as the levelors and aquafill systems. A stuck float could result in the chlorine poisoning death of all your fish and possibly thousands of dollars in flood damage.

If you act as your own project manager, you can get competitive bids from local concrete contractor for pouring your pond and waterfall shell. Also find a stone mason who will build your waterfall using mortar. With liner ponds and waterfalls, the rocks sit on the liner and can easily move when stepped on by adults or children resulting in serious accidents.

Trying to save hundreds up front, could possibly cost you thousands down the road. You get what you pay for.

Happy koi, peace & joy.
The FallGuy
 

Last edited by Clayton Douglas; 01-08-07 at 03:07 PM. Reason: made paragraphs
  #13  
Old 03-28-07, 07:12 AM
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concrete ponds

Fallguy, I have built three liner ponds myself. I didnt have any problems with any of them. However after I sold my house 12 months later the new owners called and said the hugh 25,000 gal pond was leaking. Of course, I couldn't do anything. It had been up for 7 years with no problem. I found out later that their dog had gotten in there and tore the liner with its claws. I have always wanted a concrete pond and i am building a new one at my new house. I will want some advice on doing this.

Also, I will be building a pondless waterfall design. I have one question. Arn't they like a giant undergrave filter to some extent? OK Two questions. And what research has been done cooncerning clogging and slowing the water flow to the vault?
Thanks,
primereef
 
  #14  
Old 04-11-07, 01:46 PM
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..........
Edited.

Non Beneficial Information - Off Topic


For the most part, liners are an economical option for newbies digging their first pond. I am unlikely to sue myself, if the liner fails. If I was going to invest $1000's into a huge pond, I would be more careful about my choices.

Frankly, who doesn't change their small ponds after a year or 2 anyway? So does it really matter if the liner isn't going to last 15 years? If I sell my house tommorow, it won't be much trouble to rip up the liner and fill with dirt for the new homeowner. But if I invest in a solid concrete pond, the expense of both installation, and removal are exponentially higher.

For the OP, there is NO reason not to look at a liner system. If nothing else, use the experience as a stepping stone for a more technical system down the line. Your first car doesn't have to be a BMW to enjoy driving, neither does your water garden.
 

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 05-04-07 at 05:13 PM. Reason: Comments and Remarks Not Needed - Off Topic
  #15  
Old 04-16-07, 05:46 PM
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Edited
Comments and Remarks Not Needed - Off Topic

If a leak exist in a liner it can be more economical to fix it then the concrete pond. I wanted a concrete pond but it is just too hard to install considering I dont work with concrete for a living. If I use a liner it will be a two tier waterfall. One tier will take a 25x30 liner. The other will take a 20 x25 liner. If I was to do this in concrete it would be cost prohibitive.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 05-04-07 at 05:15 PM. Reason: No Beneficial Information Edited
  #16  
Old 05-04-07, 11:56 AM
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Does anybody know where Bob Wilder (48 hour waterfall) is from? I ordered the pondless waterfall guide from his website for $34.97. It was charged on my credit card but I have yet to receive anything and have e-mailed his support address several times and have not heard a word from him. I saw in an earlier post where somebody cited his website and was just wondering if they know anything about him.

Also, we are in the process of building a pondless waterfall in our backyard. We are trying to do it from scratch, not a kit, and would sure welcome any advice or help that anybody has to offer.

Thanks
 
  #17  
Old 05-04-07, 12:07 PM
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Double check your CC statement. Sometimes it will list a phone # along with the vendor name.

If its been more than 30 days since charge, and you haven't gotten it, initate a chargeback w/ your card. They will contact vendor, and if they cannot or will not respond, you are off the hook for the charge.

Also, try GOOGLE for your search. I hear its a pretty good little search engine for website addresses.
 
  #18  
Old 05-04-07, 04:44 PM
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What exactly are you wanting to know? Not too many people respond here except me and groundbeef. I am building a 30,000 gal pondless waterfall. What are you wanting to know?
 
  #19  
Old 05-05-07, 06:17 PM
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The number on the credit card was for paypal and I called them and they can not do anything because supposedly what I was ordering was an electronic guide and they do not cover those. Not really sure what the difference is. I also called my credit card company and they said there was nothing they could do as the charge had already went through. I have done searches on a few different search engines and only came up with his website or a couple of places (like this forum) that had cited him. In the white pages there is a ton of Bob Wilders. If I can't get my money back I would at least like other people to know that his website is a scam and to stay away.

As to what I want, I'm not sure. We are in the process of slowly making one without a kit or directions. That is why I was ordering this guide as it seemed like maybe it explained alot of things. There is also a website with a DVD on how to build pondless waterfalls, but I called them and left a message and haven't heard from them. Needless to say I'm a bit jumpy about ordering blind off the internet. I have also looked in bookstores and have not found anything that explains the process. Do you know of any printed literature out there that explains from start to finish? If not, I guess as we go along I will be back with more specific questions.

Thanks for being so prompt on getting back to me.
 
  #20  
Old 05-06-07, 04:27 PM
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You need to be more agressive with your CC. I had a chargeback for $700 that was 87 days old reversed becasue the company went bankrupt. It is baloney they cant help you because the charge went through.

Call them back and advise them that you ordered something, didn't get it, and cant get vendor to refund your money. The longer you wait the less likely you will get your money back.
 
  #21  
Old 05-15-07, 12:10 PM
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Angry Just another scam

Bender,

I believe the website is just another scam, because I have also fallen into purchasing the same thing myself in the hopes of obtaining useful information to better assist me in building a pondless waterfall. I have not received any information other than a PDF file that contains absolutely nothing on what was offered, and I have not received any response back from them after several attempts on my part to email their so called customer service for a refund. I have since contacted my bank to dispute the charge and informed them of this. I only needed to fill out a form saying that I did not authorize this transaction and the bank will now attempt to contact the owner of the website, and if this can not be done I have been informed that the money that was charged to my credit card, also through PayPal will be credited back to my account.

I usually am very leary of anything that looks too good to be true, and in this case, It appears as if I was taken for a ride in an attempt to gather some inside help towards my project, when all I had to do was just come here. Hopefully I will end up with getting my money back, or at worst, I just had a 34.00 dollar lesson in stupidity, one that I will not repeat anytime soon...
 
  #22  
Old 05-21-07, 08:05 AM
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Scamming and confirming pump and basin sizing

I found your site DIY when I did a search on the scamster by name. Thank goodness for the Power of the web. Thank you for posting your findings so I can avoid what really sounded too good to be true. The tell tale scammer piece was "do it today because you never know when the price will drop ...again."

Meanwhile back on topic...

John Russell apppears to do a thorough job on determining basin sizes, though my back is not so happy, my mind is. I just wanted to make sure I dig the hole once before I fill it with rocks. I DO NOT want to undersize and starve the pump, nor lift rocks out and redig...

Question: Is there any or what is the relationship to the now known basin volume needs to the amount of water flow down the stream into the "holding ponds" and over the falls into the basin? In other words, is the flow going to be affected by the volume of the water in the basin? Or is the only necessary measure to have enough water, no mater how fast you move it?

Q 2 - any insight regarding the benefits of submerged vs above ground pumps?

Background: My pond has a 15 foot cascading stream falling from a yet to be decided biofilter falls/hydro vortex filter (that John recommended earlier) into 2 ponds that waterfall into the pondless pump. I am going for movement and noise in my backyard.

Thanks

Pondsy
 

Last edited by pondsy; 05-21-07 at 08:07 AM. Reason: typos
  #23  
Old 05-21-07, 04:47 PM
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When sizing your pond & pump keep the fish in mind. Koi and goldfish are calm water species. Constantly swimming to fight currents could prove stressfull. I have seen some thin and tired looking fish in beautiful waterfeatures with massive waterfalls and small turbulent ponds.

The volume of flow down your waterfall is independant of the pond catching the water at the bottom so within reason your waterfall can be almost any size in relation to the pond at the bottom. You can design a totally waterfall feature or a calm pond fed by a babbling brook. I think a sense of scale and proportion should be kept in mind.

As far as submersible vs above ground pumps. One big difference is size. Submersibles are generally smaller in size/power where the sky's the limit for above ground pumps. Generally water and electricity do not mix so some design compromises are required to make an electric motor work underwater. A submersible pump is more "happy homeowner friendly". You just connect the hose and plop it in the water. An above ground pump generally involves more construction and plumbing work, but it can be easier to service and maintain over the long run. Do you want to be able to replace or repair the pump without draining the pond and/or going swimming?
 
  #24  
Old 05-22-07, 02:43 AM
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The biggest difference is the cost to ruj the pump. Out of pond pumps a re extremely more energy efficient compared to the same volume flow submersible. Price is better too. The only real advantage to a sub is its user friendliness. If you want alot of volume or waterflow lets say over 2000 gal per hour then an out of pond is more economical.
 
  #25  
Old 10-09-07, 10:14 PM
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Liners vs Concrete

I have to say that the "concrete pond guru" is pretty much right. Pretty much. But not 100%. Liner ponds are not the nightmare he makes them out to be. Nor is concrete the dream material without any problems either.

Liners are the REASON that ponds and pondless waterfalls are the big booming industry that they are now. It's because of liners that one company in Illinois went from one truck and a wheelbarrow 12 years ago to $60 MILLION per year today. And thats just one company, there are MANY new companies with similar stories.

I personally prefer using a vault to store water rather than a liner filled with rocks in a hole for my waterfalls. I still use a liner for the waterway on most SMALL water features with SMALL boulders. THe BIG stuff, is concrete all the way, like a swimming pool essentially.

THe question is, how long do you intend for your pond to last? Less than 5 years? Go liner. 5 - 10 years, it's a toss up. Over 10 years? Concrete.
 
  #26  
Old 11-02-09, 04:09 PM
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Why fill the basin with rock?

I just completed a pondless water feature, with a 25 foot steep stream ending at a 2 or so foot waterfall. My falls drop to half a plastic drum (cut vertically) laying on it's side. This is filled with rock, but is only a small volume. This drains through 3" pipe to a full 55 gallon plastic drum, which is buried in front of it. The pump is in the drum and all is to be covered by a small deck. When finished, you will see none of the barrel, liner or plumbing. The fall will be into a rock pile and disappear. My filter is disguised at the top of the stream. I just got it together, but 55 gallon drum has sufficient capacity to supply the stream, falls and rock basin. My pump is 3200 GPH and my head about 15 feet. All parts are easily accessible for repair and cleaning. I gathered pit run basalt rock in sizes too big to lift, down to double fist size. I cleared a shallow trench about 2 feet wide, and bermed the soil along the sides. I then layed old nylon carpet to protect my liner and 3 ft wide liner over the berm. I then spaced smaller rock in the trench, with larger rock along the top and sides of the berm. With the smaller rock spaced properly, I get lots of water action and noise, but you still do not see the liner unless you are standing right above and looking down. When complete, I will have about $300 in the project, including renting a trencher, running water line and power (in conduit) and a curtain drain around my yard to get rid of excess water from the spring on the hill behind my house. I really enjoy making something appealing and beautiful, using very little in the way of resources. It does not compare with God's creation, but does appeal to most viewer (and listeners)
 
  #27  
Old 11-03-09, 03:36 AM
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Can you post some pictures of your project?
 
  #28  
Old 11-03-09, 07:04 AM
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Sure... when I complete the heavy work

I'll be glad to share a picture, however I have yet to do some of the heavy work. I have to trench from the house to the feature, run water, power and control cable; as well as install a curtain drain for the yard. It will be a mess until that is finished. I also have some landscaping I wish to complete. I hope to have moss on my rocks around the waterfall, a fern and moss "bogg", and some other vegetation (trees are in). IF I remember, I will post a picture "as is", before I start trenching (today, Lord willing). An additional thing I did not mention. I should have been more careful in digging my trench and forming my berm. When I placed the heavy rock on the (unsettled) berm, I created some channels for water to escape. These are not difficult to correct necessarily, but a problem that could have been avoided with additional care.
 
  #29  
Old 11-03-09, 07:59 AM
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I lied.

Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
Can you post some pictures of your project?
I'm still learning my way around the site. First, how do you post a picture? Second, I lied when I said in my first post "I just completed". I got the feature in and running, but the surrounding rockwork, the deck, the source water and power, nor the landscaping is complete.
 
  #30  
Old 11-03-09, 04:13 PM
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Don't worry about not being totally finished. This website is all about the doing so all the little steps along the way. The process of doing the project is interesting and important. Even the failures and screw-ups help all of us learn.

----
Very basically posting pictures is a two step process. First you have to upload your pictures to a photo hosting website like: Photobucket, Webshots, Flickr... Then you put a "picture link" in your posts here and your photos magically appear.
 
  #31  
Old 11-04-09, 09:35 AM
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Okay. Here are a couple of photos of my work in progress. So far my family and I are very pleased with the results. Still a lot of hard work to do.



Water feature in process on Flickr - Photo Sharing!


-----
I posted your picture in the thread to make it easier for others to view - PilotDane
 

Last edited by Pilot Dane; 11-04-09 at 10:36 AM. Reason: posted picture in thread
  #32  
Old 11-04-09, 10:39 AM
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I like your design having a separate pump chamber. You have easy access to pull the pump out in winter or to do any repairs and with the catch basin full of rock you don't have the pool of water for a drowning hazard. You've got the best of both worlds. I also like the rock. It looks very natural in your surroundings.
 
  #33  
Old 11-04-09, 10:52 AM
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I like the dog feature...but you should have water come out of it....or does it already? LOL

Looks like a lot of sweat involved.....
 
  #34  
Old 11-07-09, 07:13 AM
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Pondless waterfall

:dogrun

Hi downhiller,

Are you referring to my puppy pond? If so I can tell you it has a 3 foot wide waterfall that is three feet high and about 13'
long and the water runs down the waterfall.

I just bought a new pump for it because I was using sump pumps for all three waterfalls and I found out that was a big, big expensive mistake. The OLD pumps were each 750 watt -
the new ones range from 250 to 100 WATT.

Imagine the savings in electric. I now have five 750 watt 4500gph at 5' sump pumps (2 still in the boxes). Anyone wanna buy cheap sump pumps?
 
  #35  
Old 11-07-09, 11:56 AM
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Sump pumps are NOT the best!

I sure hear you regarding sump pumps for water features. What I ended up with was a submersible pump designed for a water feature. It cost me about $85. It is designed to use either way, but I tried above ground, only to find it had unstoppable leaks. It is rated at 3200 GPH, and I have about a 15 ft. head. I end up with a decent flow, though you can never (rarely?) have too much. My pump burns about 250 watts. I'll post more as the project progresses. I'm disappointed that my captions did not download to this site with the picture. Click on the Flickr link to see all. Incidentally, Rusty dog does spray but generally in appropriate places.
Let's see some pictures of your creations, and some descriptions of "how to".
 
  #36  
Old 11-10-09, 10:08 AM
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The Rusty dog I was referring to is in my picture. Let's see some pictures of your creations... any of you out there. If I ever get out in the yard again (rain here for weeks) I hope to finish my 'disguise' enough to warrant another picture or two. I am still at the challenging part of my build... but there are still rewards.
 
 

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