Step 12 How to Build a Waterfall and Meandering Stream
You will need to do a little preparation work before building your dream waterfall. It is recommended that you read
the section about Stream Construction that is if you plan on creating a stream. *
You can also refer to many different pond books for more ideas on Stream and Waterfall constructions.
You have two options when attaching the lip for the Filter:
1. The reversible waterfall snout can be attached facing outward. This method is recommended for first time installers providing a solid ledge cantilevering
off the front of the Filter to build the pondless waterfalls spillway.
2. The reversible waterfall snout can also be attached facing inward. This method allows more creativity when constructing the pondless waterfalls allowing the designer
a flat unobstructed filter face for placing large boulders on the left and right side of the unit.
Installing the Filter Waterfall Snout
Prior to installing the waterfall snout make sure the face of the filter and liner is clean, and free of dust and debris.
Use a damp towel to clean both surfaces.
Hold the liner up against the face of the filter, covering the U-shape spillway opening. Be sure to leave slack at the
base of the filter to avoid stretching the liner when rocks are stacked to build the waterfalls.
NOTE: "Ignore this step if you are installing the waterfall snout outward and proceed to the next step."
For inward installation you will need to cut two vertical slits into the liner along the left and right side of the opening.
The flap of liner can simply fall into the inside of the filter unit when attaching the waterfall snout.
Temporarily install the waterfall snout and liner to the filter loosely with the two top corner screws and one
center screw below the waterfall snout. Using an awl or nail, poke the first hole through the waterfall snout and liner penetrating into the corresponding
threaded insert on the filter. Remove the awl or nail while holding the waterfall snout and liner in place, and begin threading one of the screws
into the filter. Repeat this process for the screw on the opposite side. When installing the waterfall snout inward we recommend installing a third temporary
screw at the center most screw hole along the bottom.
Now remove the waterfall snout trying to keep the screws still penetrating through the liner. These screws will serve
as your guide when reinstalling it.
Apply a thick bead of fish-safe silicone sealant around the pondless waterfalls filter opening. The bead should follow the path of the
threaded inserts (connect the dots).
Reattach the waterfall snout using the pre-installed screws as your guide. We recommend threading the lower
center one first when installing the snout in the inward direction.
With all temporary screws secured back into position, you may now install. Punch the remaining screw holes with the
awl or nail and thread in the remaining screws.
Outward waterfall snout position will require the liner to be trimmed back at this point. Let dry for at least 1 hour
before introducing water.
Filter media is not included with the Aquascape Designs Pondless® Waterfall Kit. The aggregate in the basin provides a much larger
surface area for bacteria to grow than the filter media do.
The pondless filter comes with an upper support rack that also serves as an easy way to help disguise the filter
into the landscape using small boulders, aquatic plant, and gravel. Arrange the stones, gravel and plants in the rack in such a way as to hide the back
and top of the filter. The rack sits in the upper portion of the waterfall filter unit.
How to build a "pondless" Waterfall
Place two larger boulders on either side of the waterfalls you are creating in order to frame the waterfalls.
The water will be running between the two larger boulders you've set in place.
You can now begin to stack the rocks between the two larger boulders. These are the rocks that the water will be
running over, so take your time and be creative. Start with the larger rocks on the bottom and work your way up to the smaller ones on top.
Small stones and gravel can be used to fill in the gaps between the larger waterfall's stones.
The waterfall unit is designed with a plastic lip for the water to cascade off. You can use the plastic waterfall
stone or even piece(s) of thin (no more than ¾
thick) natural slate. This stone can be attached to the waterfall filter using black waterfall foam. The black waterfall foam will come in handy when filling other gaps
between the stones that water is flowing over. The foam keeps the water flowing over the top of the waterfall stones. Without the black waterfall foam, you may
lose some of the impact of your waterfall as water travels beneath the rocks.
Place smaller rocks on the rock ledge inside the waterfall unit to help hide it in the landscape. The rock tray inside
the filter will help disguise the rest of the unit into the landscape.
Underwater waterfall Lights
After the boulders are in position, set your underwater waterfall accent lights. The Lights can be placed beneath the waterfalls
shining upwards. See lighting system instructions for placement, positioning and installation of waterfall lights.
Building the Stream
Placing the pondless waterfall filter away from the edge of the pondless basin is always a good idea. This allows the creation of a
meandering stream to add a touch of nature to your pondless waterfall.
We typically place the waterfall filter 6-10 feet from the edge of the pondless basin. Twisting and turning the stream makes
it look more natural, and will require a minimum of 10'x15' piece of liner.
Excavation of the Stream
Lay out the stream from the waterfall filter to the pondless basin. The typical width of a stream should be between 2-4 feet
wide (NOTE: the wider the stream, the less movement of water you will have). Vary the width of the stream throughout to mimic what would occur in nature.
Excavate the stream to a depth of 6 inches to 1 foot. Vary the depth in the corners and in smaller pools along the
run of the stream to allow water to pool in those areas.
If your stream is being built on a slope, you will need to create a few waterfalls in it. To hold the water back
when the pump is shut off, you need to build a check dam at each waterfall.
To make the stream look much more natural, you should place some larger boulders into it. To make this work properly,
excavate the area where the rock will be placed a few inches deeper. This will allow the rock to sit into the bottom of the stream, not just on the streambed.
Once you have the stream excavated, you can place the liner into it.
Installation of Liner and Rocks
Connect the liner to the waterfall unit filter as described above. Where the liner overlaps the pondless waterfall basin, you will not need to
seam the liners together as long as you have a 6 inch waterfall or higher. Simply overlap the stream liner over the top of the pond liner.
Place rocks of varying sizes around the perimeter of the stream. During excavation of the stream, you dug a few areas
where larger rocks will go. Put some of the Black Waterfall Foam into these divots and place the rocks on top. The foam will allow the water to be diverted
around and over the rocks instead of underneath them.