Thursday, March 1, 2012

Building Our Waterfall Part One: Preparing the Foundation

 Anything I can dream... my Honeyman can build.
And this is what he built for me... (and he let me help.)

We have a beautiful Patio (read our story here) built in 2009,
that we especially enjoy on warm Summer nights.

  The adjacent landscape is striking...
 but something was missing.

 My heart yearned to hear the refreshing sound of water splashing
in my gardens 
at the end of a Summer's day.
(Anything I can dream?)

And so we began... 

It was April of 2011 
and our sleepy gardens were just beginning to awake.

Remember this is Utah 
where all but the bones of the gardens 
die back and all but disappear from the cold Winter months. 
 (One of the reasons I love the month of April ... watching as the barren landscape SPRINGS to life.)

We had dug out the bushes from the existing landscape in the Fall, 
so we began by transplanting the emerging plants, 
rerouting the sprinkler pipes 
and scraping the garden soil down to the clay base...
but only where the waterfall and stream would be.
After all... this was my perennial garden and I didn't
want to disturb the emerging plants and slumbering seeds.

 We stock-piled the scraped off garden soil 
to later place around the waterfall and stream at project's end.

The head of the waterfall would be up near the house, 
so we prepared a gentle slope down to the rocks already in place 
that lined the perennial bed. 

These were the river rocks that were gathered from our soil 
when we first landscaped our property,
and we planned to incorporate them into the design of our stream.

The foundation of the waterfall head 
was laid in place with cinder blocks.

We packed our clay soil firmly in and around the blocks 
to provide a solid base for the waterfall.

We'll further build this up with large river rock... 
but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself, 
that will be another day's post.

Surely growing weary of hearing my repeated cautions  
to not step on my precious emerging peonies, 

my Honeyman covered several of them with pots 
to assure their safety in the construction zone. 

What a guy. 
Would contractors ever step so lightly?
♦  ♦  ♦ 

Our next post will include the engineering side of our project.

Did you know that the height of the waterfall
and the length and width of the stream are all determining factors 
of how large the holding basin must be at the base of the stream?
Then there is the issue of the pump...
what size is right for your project?

The answers to these questions will be discussed in our next post.

Stay tuned!


  1. Landscaping your garden with a water feature is one great idea. There are times when it's essential to add garden accents like this in order to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space more. You are lucky to have a wonderful husband who supports you in this endeavor.

  2. I have been wanting a water feature for a long time. Yours is beautiful! I can imagine sitting on your lovely patio, admiring the blooms and listening to the music of falling water and birdsong! Thanks for sharing the how-to steps!

  3. Thats a really beautiful water feature! What a lucky girl you are :)

  4. This is really beautiful. He did a great job and would a contractor ever watch the plants so carefully? Yes my brother, but he is a gardener also. :)

  5. Your Winter may well be severe but my, how your garden comes alive in Spring and Summer.  Love your water feature and patio, I have to confess, more often than not our hard landscaping, what there is of it, has been done by others.

  6. Thank you, Christine. I do agree,

  7. We have so much fun doing our "projects" together. I must say, that what we don't know how to do, we google. In fact, before we ever start a project, we spend days researching to find the best method. Of course, that's my husbands idea... my personality is more of "let's go build this!" We actually balance each other rather well.

  8. My Honeyman is working on the next one... it will explain all the hard stuff.

  9. Ahhh... and we're already planning the next project.  It keeps us young!

  10. Thanks for visiting, Chrystal. So glad you're enjoying the process. 

  11. Thanks, Indie! The beauty of this project is that you can go big or you can go small.  

  12. Thank you, Donna. I'm looking forward to seeing those "views".

  13. Thanks so much... so glad you like it!

  14. Thank you, Donna. Your comments are very kind. I must say... we L.O.V.E. our waterfall.

  15. Thanks for your sweet comments. When do you do your meme?

  16. So glad you visited. This is a pond-less waterfall so it doesn't have the upkeep that a pond requires. Too much work with a pond... we had a small one several years ago and finally filled it in for that very reason.

  17. Very nice design, Carolyn. My friend and business partner builds ponds for clients and has been doing it for twenty years. It really is a lot of work and I am amazed you tackled this yourselves and did such a fine job. You are so right, the sound of water is wonderful when you are sitting on the patio.

  18. What a wonderful and handy husband you have!  And how wonderful it will be to hear the splashing of water.  I think every garden should have a water feature.  I'm also joining in the challenge, although I'm not technically "in the garden"!

  19. What a lovely waterfall, you are lucky to have such a man! Mine is also a wonder, what did we do to get so lucky? 

  20. Quel plaisir d'avoir une cascade dans son jardin.  C'est un projet pour nous dans le futur.
    Bonne journée.

  21.  Nothing says "I love you" like a waterfall...

    There's something very romantic about this entry, and I congratulate you on your choice of husband!

  22. Can't wait for the next installment xx

  23. What an ambitious project! I look forward to seeing your next post.

  24. How very true, contractors would never consider protecting your emerging plants. Loooking forward to the next part.

  25. Donna@Gardens Eye ViewJanuary 9, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Wonderful project to go along with your patio and plantings...sorry to hear you have been has been an up and down month for illness and weather here...snow again today so not much walking but I will link in on Monday with some nice views...

  26. How awesome!  Your garden is beautiful, and the sound of running water is so peaceful and relaxing in the garden.  That's great that your guy can just build something like a waterfall!  I can't wait to see how you did the rest.  I've been pondering some sort of small water feature, but can't figure out how to easily put one in (and my husband isn't allowed to lift or anything, so I do all the heavy digging and such).   What a great project!

  27. Carolyn, this is a wonderful guide. We have a similar area/bed beside our patio, and I was thinking that when we get to it that would be a great spot for the pond.  I never knew how a waterfall would be set up, and this is very interesting and helpful. When my hubby helps me with projects, I am always cautioning him where to step as well. Mostly, he is careful, but there have been a few accidents. :) I look forward to the next installment and learning more about your gorgeous waterfall.

  28. How wonderful--I love your water feature! I can't wait to see and read about the next steps. I hope you're feeling better. I've been sick a lot this month, too. Some people have been home sick for days on end--seems the flu has hit late this year. I'm planning to join the walking meme as the days get warmer--which will start next week, with temps in the 50s! I hope you'll join in the Lessons Learned meme, too. Happy spring!

  29. Your garden looks so alive with all that water feature, blooms of different colors and stones...Thank you for  sharing your amazing work.

  30. I like your posts on building a waterfall...this looks like a future project for me. Great pics!


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