Considering adding a faux rock waterfall to your backyard landscaping theme? You're not alone. With the availability of faux stone and other building materials available for the dedicated do-it-yourselfer, it's now possible to create a backyard waterfall as impressively as the pros. There are no set rules, sizes or designs for faux waterfalls. They can be small, meander along a slope or rise 20, 30 or 40 feet in the air. Your budget, skills and imagination are the only limits.
Many homeowners already have a naturally occuring feature in their yard, such as a hill or slope, that is an obvious place for a waterfall. Others chose to use an existing or planned swimming pool that can incorporate a rock waterfall into the pool design. But for homeowners with a relatively flat yard and no other features to incorporate, it might be a little harder to decide where to put a faux waterfall.
Things to Consider when Deciding to Install a Waterfall
- Water availabiliity - location may be determined by where your closest water access point is.
- Drainage - where will the water drain to? Into another feature like a pond or pool? Or recyle down the waterfall?
- How close is your access to electricity to operate the waterfall and to provide nighttime lighting?
- What else do you plan to do with your yard in the future?
- Do you have children or animals that might be at risk with a water feature?
Possible Locations for Faux Waterfalls
- Existing slope, hill or hillside that is stable enough to support the weight of a waterfall.
- Existing water feature such as a pond, pool, lake, stream, swimming pool, spring or ditch.
- An existing fence, wall or boundary - such as a concrete brick retaining wall, rock wall, cliff or other building.
- Create a location or faux boulder or rearrange earth to create a berm or earth wall as a foundation.
Installing a faux waterfall is easier now than ever before, simply because the use of faux stone allows builders to forgo the traditional heavy duty structures and armatures that used to be needed to support the weight of the waterfall. Concrete blocks and even reinforced brick walls can now support the faux stones used in waterfall construction. Still, it's important to make sure the weight of the structure is still well within codes and safety limits. Unsecured, unstable or improperly installed features can easily fall, crushing, killing or severely injuring people, property and structures around the waterfall.
Ask Yourself these Questions
- Am I ready to live with a large, permanent structure and have it inspected annually for safety concerns?
- Will this hurt or help my property values?
- Will it fit in with the natural appearance of my home style and layout or be the "only one on the block?"
- Can I afford to maintain, repair and keep it running/working on a regular basis?
- Are there ongoing water shortages in the area that will affect my use of it? (A potential resale question as well)
There are several construction methods that can be utilized. Depending on the size of the waterfall, most homeowners chose a multi-construction option approach, utilizing poured concrete. The foundation of the waterfall is constructed with rebar, chicken wire and various armatures which are plumbed and wired, before concrete is poured and sculpted to resemble boulders, stones and waterfall features. The use of real boulders, rocks, and stones enhance visual focal points. If and where needed, faux stones are also incorporated.