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How to build a Pondless Waterfall

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video How to build a Pondless Waterfall
How I built a back yard pond-less waterfall for under a thousand dollars.

This is my first instructable so bear with me!  Next time ill be sure to take more process pics.

The most expensive price of the project was the pond liner. The 30' x 25' chunk of rubber was just under 300$
The pump actually turned out to be fairly cheap coming in at 150$ shipped off ebay. The rest of the parts were bough from landscape/irrigation stores.

Pond liner $300
Landscape fabric $180
5500 gph pump  $150
25' Black water hose - $50
Rock - Free
Carpet Free
55 gallon drum - $20
Connectors/piple glue ect ~ $100
Sewer pipe - $8 each x10 $80

Step1. Find a suitable location.
Ideally pick a hill or slow to simply the project. The natural drop will make your life alot easier.

Step 2. Plan and start digging a rough out line.
Keep in mind that once you add on your layers of fabric and liner you will loose alot of definition from your path. Be sure to make the walls of your water flow overt exaggerated. 
Since we are doing a pondless design you need to make sure you build a pit large enough to hold the volume of water in the falls/creek. This is important to prevent overflowing in the event of power loss. For my pit I decided to go 5' long 2-2.5' wide by 2-3'deep.


Step 3.  Lay down your fabric/liner
Once you have your water path dug out, you want to place down a layer of landscape fabric; Carpet can also be used as a cheaper alternative for the sub layer. Spread out your landscape rubber be sure to work it into the groves and smooth out wrinkles on your waterfall drops.  Finally cover the whole thing in a sheet of landscape fabric to help protect your overly expensive pond rubber.

The top layer of fabric liner folds back over the pump vault/drain pipe to allow the water to pour in and keep the dirt out.


Step 4. Start Collecting/placing Rocks
Land scape rocks can become an expensive part of this project, luckily rocks can usually be found for free if you are in to a bit of hunting. I found a few development areas where they blasted away part of a mountain.. this was a gold mine of free rock.  About 15 trunk loads later i had enough to build my creation.

Step 5. Sealing the water trail
Use either premix cement or landscape foam around the edges of your water trail/falls. filling these gaps and crevasses will force the water ontop of your ledges rather then flowing underneath where it can not be seen.  this relatively simple step will make a huge difference in the over all flow.

Step 6. Lighting.
I would recommend adding some landscape lighting to give it that spa like glow during the evening.

Step 7 - Plants
You want to finish off by adding pants. I did a mix of real/fake plants to give it some color constraint aswell as the more natural appearance!

Step 8.. Enjoy!



Goblinmoon2 years ago
Ditto on the process pictures. I really want to do a water feature in my backyard and am trying to figure out the best way to do it myself. Your concept is great but I'd like to see more of the step by step since I'm a novice at this.
I would never have the time for this but it would look amazing as yours does
tato3122 years ago
WOW. that look fantastic! its a great idea man, nice work!
mikeasaurus2 years ago
Great video and an awesome project.!
Mind adding more written info describing your project in the body of this Instructable? I think that would really help.
shiftline (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
Good call, I just added more details! any other question or clarifications, feel free to ask.
Awesome, thanks for adding so much detail. You've been featured!