Step 1: Overview of DIY Pondless Waterfall Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Completed creek

Placing rocks

We’ve all stopped, gazed and listened upon encountering a rippling creek or big backyard waterfalls–to soak up the stillnes that nature offer. But where is that spot when we need it most? Since you probably can’t drive and hike to a tranquil location after a hard day’s work, you can use this project to help you recreate these all-too-fleeting instants in your backyard. And you can build your series in two weekends.

We designed this DIY pondless waterfall stream to eliminate the filtering and cleansing upkeep that comes with ponds, representing it one of the best backyard waterfall ideas in our opinion. The manoeuvre to low-toned upkeep is to let nature( beds of gravel and stone) filter the sea, exercising an underground sump at the lower intention to catch the filtered ocean before shooting it back up to the top of the stream. All you have to do is occasionally add spray to oust what evaporates–and rainfall may handle this task for you. In this story, we’ll show you how to ascent the series, arrange the liner and install the pump and the catch watershed as well as landscape the brook. We’ll help you plan the ideal location and length of your series, and tell you how to select liners, pumps and stone. We won’t get into pond waterfall equipment that can be accessed either online or at home hubs. We chose to build our structure with parts and ingredients that are readily available and less expensive than pond cataract packages. They’ll give you more flexibility to design the torrent that best accommodates your yard.

You can end the proposed project successfully even if it’s your first water feature. But it’s heavy job. The only special implements you’ll need are a strong wheelbarrow( one with pneumatic tires is best) and a two-wheel ball cart for moving and sitting heavy boulders.


Although these consortia are shallow, they can be a drowning hazard for small children. Check with your neighbourhood house district for local regulations. And be watchful of toddlers.

Step 2: Select a location

Sit in a favorite recognise and visualize where a river with waterfalls would fit into your landscape–perhaps near a patio or deck.

Waterfall features: scheduling ingredients to consider

Foundation If your grime is easy to delve, then uncover the whole project. If burrowing is difficult, improved your stream above floor with stones and other backyard rocks for the base.

Slope Very little descent is needed( minimum 2 in. descend per 10 ft. of river ). For faster moving irrigate or taller cataracts, make the grade steeper( which too contributes more sound ).

Size Plan your brook width first to determine how much water the lower watershed and upper fund must hold when the run is off. Figure 5 gallons per linear foot of flowing series( 2-1/ 2 ft. wide x 3 in. penetrating ). Our lower container( 40 gallons) and upper kitty( 240 gallons) easily maintained our 75 -gallon stream capacity.

Sound For a tattle creek voice, use a cataract height of 2 to 4 in. To drown out street noise, use 10 -in. and greater waterfall slips. More cascades equals more noise.

Location Waterfalls should be visible from your favorite floor, porch or inside-the-home chair. Consider a locale near the bedroom if you like the seem of loping sea at night; you can always turn it off if it’s too loud or amusing. Make sure your pump location( lower bowl) is close to an electrical source, and that you can reach the stream with a garden-variety hose to add water as are necessary. For our site, we wrapped an S-shaped stream next to a ground-level deck built into an existing perennial garden-variety. We differed the height of the four cascades and the diameter of the stream to give it a more natural look and sound. Plus we included a bullet valve to the return water line so we could rush or gradual the flow, and control the sound level.

Illustrations -AC: Stream and Waterfalls Layout

Use these illustrations to help you plan your liquid boast, and learn how to build a pondless waterfall.

Figure A: Stream layout

Figure B: Upper pool

Figure C: Lower basin

Step 3: Order Stone

When you start your stone examination, regard under “Rock, ” “Quarries” or “Sand& Gravel” online. Call to check expenditures and types of stone available. Go visit pushers to get exactly what you miss, plus you can select specific colorful accent stones and flat stones for the waterfalls–then have it all delivered. Some excavates will even pouch the stone by type and size( for a fee ), and these palleted pockets take up less seat on a driveway, as opposes it heaps of gravel and boulders.

For gravel( 3/4 -in. to 2-in. stones ), chassis you’ll need 1/2 ton per 10 ft. of brook, plus we exercised 1 to 1-1/ 2 tons for the upper reserve and lower bowl. For basic arena boulders( 6 in. to 24 in .) to line the flow banks, digit 3/4 ton per 10 ft. of river. Add 1-1/ 2 to 2 tons more of big 12 -in. to 24 -in.boulders for the upper pool and lower bowl. Because we built the top half of the flow above ground, we use 3-1/ 2 tons of extra boulders.

If you miss specialty colorful accent boulders, expect to pay premium prices. Avoid limestone, as it can encourage algae growth.


A few daytimes before you plan to dig for your series, ask 811 to have underground practicalities in the area situated and marked.

Step 4: Map the brook and start burrowing Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 1: Design the flow

Haul in your boulders and stones and home them around the worksite. Outline the orientation of your creek with a garden-variety hose, then coat a line around it. Also use depict to observe waterfall locations and principle recognizes for large-scale decorative stones. Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 2: Start digging

Dig the hole for the lower container it is therefore sits below the different levels of the streambed. Place boulders to build up the sides of the upper pond and upper section of the river, which are above the original tier( Figure A ). Pack dirt and gravel to hold all stones in place.

After all the stone and gravel arrive, map out your design and differentiate it with spray paint( Photo 1 ).

We built the upper half of the series and two cascades above the anchor, then etched the lower half of this 15 -ft. stream out of the grunge( Figure A ). Pick whichever technique works with your grime and go with it. Either way, keep the ibuprofen handy to soothe those absces filching and burrowing muscles!

Next, dig the lower valley for the sump bowl and circumventing stone and gravel. Dig a square defect at least 2 ft. wider than the depression diameter and 6 in. deeper than the meridian. It should be at least a paw wider than the stream.

Simultaneously, build a ring of stone for the upper pool groundwork and the torrent banks( Photo 2 ). Place 12 -in. tall stones flat line-up up( if possible) so the next bed of stone will match more securely on top( Figure B ). Use a rubber mallet to pack soil and gravel tightly around the stones to hold them in place.

Step 5: Ended the lower washbasin firstly Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 3: Prepare the basin and gush

Drill depressions in the basin using three different sizing flaw envisioned bits( realize Figure C ). Prime, cement and fix the hose adapter to the pump. Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 4: Line the valley

Lay the fabric underlayment and rubber liner in the depression pit, then contributed the shoot basin with pump. Attach the hose. Then included stone mantles( Figure C) and the basin lid.

Use a 2-in. gap construed part and drill holes every 4 in. in the bottom third of the gush container( Figure C and Photo 3 ). Repeat the process with a 1-in. pit looked fragment for the centre third, then use a 3/8 -in. bit for the top third.

Remove abrupt objectives from the bottom of the watershed, then lay in the underlayment and liner. Calculate the length carefully and chipped the underlayment first. Then chipped and fit the liner so it is tucked in all recess and increases about 2 ft. out of the hole in all directions. With the pump watershed in place, position the shoot, connect the water line and lay it in place to ensure it will reach the top of the upper pool. Add blankets of stone around the basin and transcend with the lid( Figure C and Photo 4 ).

Step 6: Dig out( or build) a long staircase Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 5: Dig the streambed

Carve a gale stream berthed 6 to 8 in. penetrating, 2 to 3-1/ 2 ft. wide. Dig the path it is therefore stair-steps down at cascade No. 3, and dig 3- to 4-in. late funds below waterfalls No. 2 and 3( Figure A ). Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 6: Build up the cascades

Pack dirt and gravel around the border stones to build cascades No. 1 and 2 above the existing grade. Level the sequences. Inspect the part streambed and remove anything sharp-worded. Tamp down the part creek, banks and upper pool area.

First, at each cascade locale, dig down to the approximate depth of the fell you want or building and strengthening the autumn if you’re working above gradation. This gives you a streambed degree target. Now move to the bottom of the stream and engrave a 2 to 3-1/ 2 ft. wide streambed 6 to 8 in. deep, sloping uphill as you dig upstream to meet that streambed magnitude target at each cascade( Photo 5 ). Then dig out shallow consortia below waterfalls as needed( Figure A) to slow the irrigate flow.

Since we improved above soil for the upper section of the stream, we next added a rank row of stones for cataracts No. 1 and 2( Photo 6 ). Pick the altitude you hope. Use 6- in. towering stones to make the banks. Also finish compacting a gravel and grunge smorgasbord to the inside and outside of the upper fund stones. Then tamp down the upper kitty arena and the streambed.

Step 7: Lay the liner and sentiment waterfall stones Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 7: Spread the liner in the streambed

Lay the underlayment and a rubber liner into the streambed. Leave 3 to 4 in. of slack in the liner at the basis of the cascades, widen about 2 ft. up each bank and overlap the basin liner by 2 ft. Place decorative stones at waterfall locations. Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 8: Line the upper reserve

Lay the underlayment and liner over the upper fund, overlapping the built-up boulder shapes. Overlap the lower liner by about 2 ft. Backfill stream edge boulders for stability.

Position the fabric underlayment and liner to diversify from the lower depression to the upper pool, with slack at the base of each waterfall, because arranging stones can unfold and rend a close-fisted liner( Photo 7 ). Place decorative boulders at the two sides of each waterfall, and contributed an extra piece of rubber liner underneath each heavy stone to protect the basi liner. For stable, above-ground stream sides, backfill the slink stones with a gravel and soil potpourrus and pact it( Photo 8). Next, put the final part of underlayment and liner in the upper pool it is therefore tucks in at all recess and widens 2 ft. out in all directions. There’s no need to tape the liners to each other; time make sure the top liner overlaps the liner underneath it by 1-1/ 2 to 2 ft. Then lent the top coating of stones in various regions of the upper pool.

Pace 8: Add spill stones and sud the divergences Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 9: Build up the cascades

Set decorative boulders at each side of cataracts No. 1 and 2. Then coat the bottom of the flat accident stones with foam sealant so they adhere to the liner. Wedge stones into rifts between the shed stones and the two sides of the stream bank. Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 10: Fill gaps with sud

Force gravel along all surfaces and under spill stones, then apply foam sealant in the chinks so water spurts merely over the top of all shed stones.

Once you place the decorative stones at the waterfall locations, neighbourhood all the flat flood stones. Apply black expanding foam sealant, designed for ponds and cataracts, to the underside to adhere them to the rubber liner. Now replenish all spreads with stones to pressure liquid to go only over the waterfall( Photo 9 ). Then apply foam sealant to all backs and to the underneath of each spill stone to create a good seal( Photo 10 ). After the foam has baked for 30 minutes, take your plot hose and race water down the stream. Look for any water routes( holes) along the flood stone perimeters and underneath. Fill any discloses with more sud and echo until all ocean vanishes over the upper part of the flood stones.

Pace 9: Add gravel and clean the river Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 11: Add boulders to complete

Add a top blanket of big stones to complete the upper kitty and streambed. Place steppingstones in the middle of the stream and the stones below the cascades. Cover the rest of the streambed liner with gravel. Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream

Photo 12: Clean the rock-and-rolls and snip the liner

Fill the bottom basin with water and plug in the spout. Spray down all stones and the stream until the water from the spout races clear. Place the hose from the pump into the upper pool. Trim off remaining disclosed liner and adjust series spurt by moving cliffs and adjusting the dance valve.

The final construction pace is to place steppingstones in the midst of the stream to make it inviting for parties, birds and babies. Then carefully coating in gravel to cover any disclosed liner( Photo 11 ).

Spray down the part flow neighbourhood with a garden hose nozzle until the water line rises above the gravel in the bottom basin. Now strength up the pump and direct the gush hose away from the torrent. Keep washing down the brook and cliff until the ocean from the gush hose operates clear. Then insert the shoot hose into the upper pool( make sure it is hidden ), and finish your flow by prune and treating any rubber liner that testifies( Photo 12 ).

Now it’s time to give that favorite accommodate, with a cold liquor in hand, and unwind to the soothing seems of your brand-new stream.

Pump Sizing

Submersible runs are rated by gph( gallons per hour) at a specific discharge summit( known as head or heave ). To calculate the gph it was necessary to, chassis 150 gph for each inch of your widest cataract. Next, to figure the ability/ lift you need, calculate the interval your water line travellings from the run to the upper pool( value vertical and horizontal; 10 ft. of horizontal distance= 1 ft. of horizontal rise ). Look for a high quality pump( bronze, brass or stainless steel; not a inexpensive sump shoot) who is able to transcended the gph and promote you need.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start–you’ll save occasion and annoyance. LevelRubber malletSpadeUtility knifeWheelbarrow Hand tamper, scissors, ball cart( for moving boulders)

Required Information for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping tours by having all your textiles ready ahead of time. Here’s a list. Ball valve and clampsDecorative bouldersEPDM pond linerField bouldersGravelHose kit and connectionsLarge waterfall pumpPVC primer and cementSewage basin( 18 ” x 30 ”) and lidTwo hole assured chips( 2” and 1”) Underlayment fabricWaterfall foam sealant