How to Build a Brook or Stream & Waterfall
Adding a stream and waterfall to your existing backyard pond is not only a great way to liven up your outdoor space, it is actually pretty simple, as well. There are several benefits to building a stream and waterfall, including aesthetic and practical benefits. Not only can they offer backyard tranquility, streams and waterfalls also provide oxygen flow to the pond. This is great for ponds that have fish or aquatic plant life. Before getting started, decide what kind of stream will work for your yard. You can add a simple streambed or one with multiple twists and turns.
Map out the area and dimensions for your streambed. Take into account the amount of space you have available, and decide on the stream's length and width. The streambed should connect to your existing pond. Water will flow down the streambed and into the pond below. Place stakes around the area you want to excavate.
Within the staked-out region, begin digging. The depth of the streambed should be about 4 inches.
Put the pump in the pond. Then take the 2-inch diameter flexible pipe that is connected to the water pump, and bury it a few inches in the dirt of the streambed, leaving the end exposed. One end of this flexible pipe will be connected to the water pump that is in the pond, while the other end will resurface at the top of your streambed. Make sure the pipe is long enough for the streambed.
Cover the streambed with three layers of liner. First add a layer of geotextile liner in the shape of the streambed. Next cover that liner with a layer of EPDM liner. Then add a second layer of geotextile liner. All three layers of the liner can be cut to fit with scissors once they are placed over the area of the streambed. Make sure that your flexible pipe remains exposed.
Mix a batch of concrete, and spread it over the three layers of liner. The concrete should be about 2 inches thick. Smooth out the concrete with a trowel, and make sure the entire streambed is covered. Allow the concrete to dry for 24 hours.
Add rocks along the path of the streambed. The placement of the rocks and the size of the rocks is entirely up to you. Get creative and think about how the water will flow from the top of the stream and down the bed of rocks. Add a pile of rocks to the top of the stream. Then take the end of the flexible water tube that resurfaces at the top of the streambed. Hide the tube in the rocks at the top of the stream. When the pump is turned on, water will flow from the tube and out of the gaps in the pile of rocks.
Take the electrical cable that is attached to the submersible pump and run it to a nearby GFCI outlet. The cable can be hidden behind rocks and plants if needed. You can also bury the cable under the ground a few inches if you want it completely out of sight.
Turn on the pump, and watch the flow of water. You can readjust the flow of the water if it is too slow. This can be done by changing the speed on the water pump. You can also change the placement of the water tube at the top of the stream or change the position of rocks in the streambed to get the exact water flow you want. The water will flow more quickly with less rocks.
- "Building Garden Ponds"; Bryan Hirst; 2004
- "Water Gardens"; Sunset Books; 2004
- It is not necessary to bury the water tube below the liner and concrete covering the streambed. If you want to have access to it at all times, just run the water tube alongside the streambed until it reaches the top. The tube can be hidden behind garden rocks and plants.
James J. Siegel is a journalist with over ten years of experience. He graduated from Bowling Green State University and works as an editor for a trade magazine. His freelance work has appeared in San Francisco Apartment Magazine and Meefers.com.
- pond image by Nicola Gavin from Fotolia.com