Tips to build a “mountain waterfall” water feature?

I have some rocks that I would like to use. I have them grouped by color now but they can be combined to create the shape. What would I use to create the base and make this work?
q i would like to build a mountain waterfall water feature
q i would like to build a mountain waterfall water feature
q i would like to build a mountain waterfall water feature
  3 answers
  • 27524803 27524803 on Jul 02, 2018
    First of all.... I hope that is not all the rocks you have.... not enough...
    although the big one would make a nice center piece for a dribbler fountain..... you could have it drilled to accept a hose up the center... and once connected to a pump, the water would dribble over it and into the basin.....
    Second... rock waterfalls usually need a fairly large basin to hold enough water to make the water fall operate correctly and the rocks must have a foam sealer put in around them to stop water from leaking into the cracks and crannies... which will drain the basin and burn out the pump
    Third.... decide on EXACTLY what kind of water fall you want.... I did a quick Google Search: how to build a rock waterfall.... choose the "more images" selection..... click on the picture(s) that attract you and then choose the"visit" tab

  • Mindshift Mindshift on Jul 03, 2018

    As far as I can see you only have two boulders that are large enough for a "mountain" waterfall. Right now you have enough stone for a trickle waterfall that doesn't go anywhere. That may be best with the rocks you have available. Try to create a small spring that disappears back into the ground at the base.

    Visit a local stone yard to get an idea of cost, but I think you will need at least one pallet of boulders if you want a large waterfall. Pallet size varies, but the one in the link is possibly 3 x 4 ft. Technically a boulder is any irregularly shaped rock larger than 10 1/2 inches in length and width. Remember that larger rocks are heavy, and you will need help in placing them. A cubic foot of stone weighs a minimum of 150lbs. I used a handtruck to move and position large cut limestone for a retaining wall. I trucked each stone to my working area and lowered or rolled it into place. With irregular shaped rocks, having help moving them is important. Even with a wheelbarrow, do not try to move too many rocks at once.

    It really is important to figure the costs of everything before you start. And, size determines costs. Pump size is determined by the amount of flow and the height of the waterfall to the basin. Here is a link to an article on that: You will need a reservoir basin that is deep enough to hold the pump. You can use preformed pond basins, or you can use livestock watering tanks which IMO are sturdier and less expensive. You will need tubing to move water from the pump to the waterfall. And you will need pond liner for the back of the waterfall so water is not lost behind the rocks.

    I would start by choosing a hillside site with access to electricity for the pump. Practice laying your rocks so you get a suitable spillway. You may need to carve out some flat spots from the soil so the rocks will have a relatively stable base. Flat topped rocks work better for waterfalls and I think you need to look for or buy some more larger stones. In your second photo the largest boulder is best for a shoulder to keep soil from washing into the basin, and the other rocks have square edges that make them suitable for laying next to each other and providing a base for another stone layer above. Use the same color rocks for each layer so you get a natural looking outcrop. Wash your rocks before you build your waterfall so you minimize the amount of dirt that gets into your reservoir.

    Once you have an idea of how to lay the rocks, dig a hole for the reservoir basin at the foot of your waterfall, but don't set it so low that dirt will wash in from the sides. Dig a small trench to one side of where you will lay the rock for the tubing to the waterfall. Lay the pond liner so one edge drapes over the rim of the reservoir and the rest lays against the hill. Flatten the liner over and into the trench and any terrace or pocket, then place the tubing into the trench. Carefully set the rocks on top of the liner, adjusting them for fit and stability. Set a flat rock so it overhangs where the water will flow into the reservoir. Larger rocks are best for the main structure, and smaller and irregular shaped rocks are best for finishing. You can test the waterfall by laying a garden hose where the waterfall begins to see how the trickle falls down the rocks. Cut off any extra liner that protrudes from behind the rocks, but make sure no dirt can wash through from above.

    Once you are satisfied with how your rocks are arranged, clean out any dirt or debris that fell into the reservoir. Set up your pump and connect the tubing to it. Anchor the tubing between rocks at the top of the waterfall so the source of the waterfall is hidden. Fill the reservoir so the pump is completely covered. Turn on the pump and continue to add water to the reservoir until it is close to the brim. Check the water level every three days until you know how much evaporation occurs, then set a schedule to add water. Evaporation can change with the seasons. Set some stones to hide the front edge of the reservoir. Plant low growing plants near the reservoir and taller plants to the sides. These plants are not going to get any extra water so make sure they are appropriate for normal rainfall or irrigation. Be careful of planting too many plants or of planting too close to the waterfall. Perennials will grow and fill in overtime, and you can use annuals to fill in bare spots for now. Consider using plants native to where you live.

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