Friday, April 6, 2012

More Wier(d) Stuff and Setting the Stones... Completing Our Waterfall Part 6

This post reflects the final steps in building our waterfall. 
It's almost time for the water to flow...
can you sense my excitement?
(Actually the project was completed a year ago, 
but it's been great fun to experience it all again through this series of posts.)

The exact placement of the wier at the head of the stream is not critical, 
nor is the level of the wier from front to back. 
However, side-to-side leveling of the wier is extremely important.

If you want the water to cascade evenly along the lip of the wier,
you'll want to spend some time stabilizing the wier on the pedestal
to ensure that the lip of the wier is perfectly level 
and will not shift over time.

Water flowing over the lip of the wier 
will mostly cascade to the rocks or pool below, 
but some water will cling to and “crawl” under the lip. 
As you can see from the diagram, the liner needs to fit tightly 
to the wier to prevent water from getting under the liner.

We carefully cut the liner to conform to the shape of the wier, leaving enough to curl under the lip of the wier. 
Silicon sealant was used to secure the liner 
under the lip of the wier and up the sides. 
 We used a length of drip system tubing under the lip 
held in place with a length of copper wire  to hold the liner in place.

Metal screws were used to secure the liner up the sides of the wier.

We've been collecting river rocks for some time now. 
Some were saved from our own landscape, 
we garden on what was once an ancient river bed, 
others were gathered from a rock quarry 
near the mouth of the canyon just a few miles from our gardens. 

We only had a small SUV to transport them in, 
so we made several trips to handpick our favorites, 
paying about $13 for what we needed. 
The guys driving the big dump trucks full of rocks surely chuckled at the two of us searching for the perfect rocks 
and placing them carefully in the back of our little vehicle. 
Surely the stuff memories are made of. 
Remember this was a complete DIY project from start to finish... and many memories were made.

The objective is to place rocks under the outside edges 
of the liner and underlay so that the water stays within the bounds of your stream-bed. 
Rocks are also placed on the liner, just inside the other rocks, 
to hide the liner. 

With the larger rocks in place along the stream-bed, 
we turned the pump on to ensure that the water 
would stay within its bounds. 
Once we were certain that all was well, 
we trimmed the liner down to the top of the rocks, tucked it in, keeping it higher than the planned depth of the stream 
and covered it with smaller rocks.

We quickly learned that placing the rocks along the edge of the stream-bed is more of an art than a science, 
and often what one of us thought was the perfect rock for a certain spot, the other did not share those same warm feelings.  
Looking back, this was a great project for us to work on together... 
it wasn't just a waterfall that we were building...
it was also our relationship.

The final step was to apply the black waterfall foam. 
The purpose of the foam is to fill the spaces behind the rocks 
where the water would normally flow and also to stabilize the rocks. 
The foam allows the water to flow over the rocks instead of under them. 
Apply the foam only when you have all the rocks placed where you want them.
You may need several cans of foam.

Remember that the foam will expand so don't overfill. 
Wear old clothes and throw-away gloves, 
and try to complete the entire foaming project in one session. 

If you happen to drip foam onto visible rocks, wait until it dries, then just pop it off with a putty knife. 
You can also carve or trim dry foam with a utility knife, 
although the resulting edges will be rough rather than smooth.

The last step is landscaping around the waterfall. 
Plant ground-cover and other plants that provide year round interest.

Our Waterfall has become the centerpiece of our gardens...

and the birds and the butterflies think 
we built it just for them...

and maybe we did!

♦ ♦ ♦

If you missed a post in this series,
follow the links below to view step by step how you can build 
your own waterfall.


  1. Donna@Gardens Eye ViewJanuary 9, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    fabulous end to the building it

  2. Wow, what an impressive do it yourself project. There is a water garden store here in Santa Fe and outside of the back of the store there are different waterfalls and water features that cost thousands of dollars. You might consider sending to Better Homes and Gardens for the "I did it myself!" feature. 

  3. Beautiful, is the only word for your garden. Your waterfall is lovely and I am sure the birds and bugs are thanking you each day for it. 

  4. It has been fun watching this come together. Thanks for photographing the project and sharing it with us! Maybe someday I'll add a water feature to my garden, and your instructions will be invaluable!

  5. I can see why this has become an important project for you - wonderful way to focus all your interests!

  6. Very hard work and so beautiful result! I think you did it for everyone- I enjoyed your brook.

  7. The rocks fit perfectly  in your waterfall. Those are really heavy boulders but they do give emphasis to the beauty of every garden...

  8. *sigh*

    I want that. Or rather, I don't, really, since this is not suitable for my garden. But I want water! Water for birds, butterflies, toads and all kinds of wonderful animals!

  9. A beautiful ending to an intense and worthwhile project. I am amazed how you both thought of all of the details, and there are many. Superb end product!

  10. Carolyn, I really enjoyed this series. You've built a really beautiful water feature / pond.

  11. That's so great you were able to build it together!   The waterfall looks beautiful!  I love all the rocks you have around it as well as in the stream.  Gorgeous!

  12. I love your landscaping around the waterfall. Josée

  13. Obviously designed and built just as you wanted it. Our attempt at this a number of years ago had an end result where the pond area looked big enough during the build, however on completion ended up being far too small.

  14. Wow! It turns out into a really lovely landscape. Good job!

  15. That is so beautiful!  Congrats on getting such a big project finished.  Makes me want a waterfall, too.  Maybe someday.  About Itoh peonies - the owner of my local nursery said Picasso is the one they've introduced to replace the lackluster Kopper Kettle.  I haven't seen it myself, and when I just googled the name, nothing came up.  But Keiko was gorgeous and vigorous when I brought it home from the nusery last year.  Hopefully Picasso will be the same?  But it would probably be wise to wait and hear reviews before spending a ton of money on it.  I've been burned a few times when I bought a plant that was highly touted but turned out to be a flop.

  16. Carolyn - I just checked, and they have some Kopper Kettles.  The descriptions says they're "not the same as the tissue cultured wannabes."  Whatever that means.  They're $150, though.

  17. Thank you  for the info, VW.   Hmmm... $150 for a single plant.  Of course I think it's so worth it, but Honeyman may give me "that look".


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