Pondless Waterfall help on a Lake home

Old 09-11-10, 12:02 PM
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Pondless Waterfall help on a Lake home

First I live on a lake so I have a constant water source. There is a large now empty garden bed on one side of the property with a downhill gentle slope to the lake. Maybe 60 feet from top to bottom. I could go as much as 10 feet wide or more. I cleard Ivy and trees so I have a blank slate.

I know I need a liner and a pump and a lot of rocks, but I do not understand where the water termanates at the top in order to create a few different spillways. What are the componants that capture the water and are they multi-drop from one tube connector. Say I want 7 total waterfalls, is that 7 total spillways all connected to one tube?

I know I can do this myself but I am having trouble understanding how water is distributed to several falls. Does each falls have a spillway and is it all fed from one spillway up top?
Thanks for any pointers

Maybe I need a good do it yourself book to help me understand the componants
Old 09-11-10, 06:13 PM
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The nice thing about doing it yourself is that it can be whatever you want. You can have seven waterfalls in a row fed by one source at the top or seven separate waterfalls, each with it's own source. Or, you can do a combination of both.

First decide what you want then figure out how to make it happen. Look at your hill and think of what would look best. One stream with a series of waterfalls along it's length is probably the easiest to plumb but creating several separate streams is not that difficult.
Old 09-12-10, 05:10 AM
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Think of your lake as a large reservoir. You could pump to a mini-reservoir at or near the top of your slope. However, by referring to your idea as ‘pondless’, your probably headed in direction of installing a series of outlet pipes that distribute water to each ‘spillway’. Each ‘spillway’ could be designed differently with large boulders allowing the water to cascade over them creating waterfalls. There are many design possibilities . . . two ‘spillways’ merging back together or ‘spillways’ branching off.

Some other issues to consider:

Water Volume & Velocity. The term ‘waterfall’ can have a vastly different meaning between two people. It could be a small stream of water going over a ledge a few inches high to fast movement of large volumes of water. Visualizing what you’re trying to do may help you rough out construction and operational cost projections before going to far in your conceptual design.

Electricity Costs. Similar to you, I considered adding a waterfall feature near my pump station on a 3 acre lake. I already had 3 irrigation pumps consisting of a 7-1/2 hp, 5 hp, and 1-1/2 hp with largest pump used for drip and next largest for overhead irrigation to cool down plants during the hot summer months. The kWh charge for these two pumps (7-1/2 hp: 1-1.5 hrs. per day, 5 hp: 0.5 hrs. per day) was roughly $30/month. If I was running one of these large pumps many hrs. a day, my electrical bill would likely run several times the cost of electricity to my home (e.g., several hundred $ per month). My only point is that after doing a conceptual design of your water feature, you may want to do a conceptual design of what equipment will be needed to get a rough idea of whether this fits within your operational budget should cost be a consideration . . . water volume/velocity and operational time (24/7 vs. selective use) will drive the outcome. Otherwise, you may spend an inordinate amount of time doing a detailed design of a beautiful waterscape that you later discover doesn’t fit your budget.

Boulders. Buying large boulders can get expensive fast. Much will depend upon your location as to whether the rock is available nearby. Otherwise, transportation can be more expensive than the rock itself, and may require earth moving equipment to off load heavy rocks from the transport truck. Here, our main choice is limestone rock (a/k/a cap rock) or smaller rock transported in from other states. Cap rock is porous and has an ongoing maintenance problem due to black/green mold or algae growing on it. Again, depending on what scale you’re envisioning for your waterfalls, factor in the cost of boulders before taking your conceptual idea to far as that may be the greatest construction cost associated w/ your project.

Design Options. Having a clean slate to work from, you have many different options. You should do some reading by either getting some books or obtaining web info Disappearing pondless waterfalls. At a landscape tradeshow, I met the owner of a company who only does waterscapes for high-end residential and commercial sites. While I picked-up some good tips by talking w/ him, he offered to stop by my property to evaluate two different ideas . . . a ‘waterfall’ feature on the lake or a 500’ long flow way near edge of my property that holds shallow water during the wet season but goes dry for 4-6 months a year. His point of view was interesting in regards to the lake. He cited how much of their work is to create waterscapes having a natural tropical look, and he was of the opinion to (i) leave a passive, natural look that already existed at the lake and to install a lake fountain as it would add aesthetic value as well as better oxygenate the lake Aeration for Lakes & Ponds - Lake Fountains, and (ii) work w/ the flow way by engineering a retention structure at the far end to hold water throughout the yr., and create a waterscape at the front end to re-circulate water under a bridge and back to a tame looking rock waterfall, cascading over natural rock and boulders.
Old 10-23-10, 03:22 PM
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Need to know water volume - height of waterfalls- required flow

Hi JackVa1
I would suggest you do a google search on a term such as 'calculate waterfall pump' and this should bring you to a number of good sites that will give you the formula to calculate your required pump. The higher your waterfall is from the top of the pond surface, the larger the pump you will need.
To simplify the concept- image you have one large pump taking water from the pond or basin to the top of your waterfall. It is now up to you to create the seven spillways that you talk of, using gravity as the means of transport for the water to reach these spillways.
You will do that during your waterfall construction, create channels and roadways for the water to reach the spillways by firstly, making sure your network of spillways naturally slope back toward the pond or water basin, and create roadways by placing rocks etc to channel to water to the spillway. When you think you are finished making the channels, run your garden hose from the top of the waterfall to get an idea of how the flow will travel, and make adjustments where necessary- before you install the pump.

A word of advice- you should run 2 pumps for this- one to just turn over and oxygenate your water when you are not looking at or listening to your waterfall.
They can be very noisy at night and may bring some complaints from neighbours.
(The gushing waterfall - not the pump)
And a large one for the waterfall when you are utilising it. This will also save you in energy costs as they are power hungry.
You may even find you need 2 large pumps, depending on the height and volume required to power your waterfall. Most people choose a pump that is too small for the job, and end up disappointed with the flow rate. If you want a gushing cascade you will need a powerful pump, if you want a modest stream, or a trickle, a smaller pump will do.
You still need to use a formula- which takes into account, the height of the waterfall, how many metres of tubing you are running, the diameter of the tubing (causes friction, and loss of flow), how wide your waterfalls are, how thick you want the lip of the waterfall, and other variables.

It is a little complicated, but you will figure it out with some time, and it is well worth spending the time to ensure you get the right pump for the job.

Good luck

Last edited by Pilot Dane; 10-23-10 at 05:21 PM. Reason: removed advertising link

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