Pondless filler

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Golden Boy, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Golden Boy

    Golden Boy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    What's the best size of rock to fill in the basin on a pondless waterfall? I can see advantages and disadvantages of both large and small rock
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. djlunchbox

    djlunchbox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    The best option is matrix cubes, no rock. But that doesn't answer your question ;)
  3. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Actually, it does. The old method of using progressively smaller rock as you backfill works fine for a while, but, depending on the location, it will eventually clog. Cleaning of these systems is a real PITA, that is why some bright engineer somewhere came up with the concept of matrix blox. Same final result, less future and continuing maintenance.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I agree that the Matrix blox stuff and the other products like it (aquascapes 'snorkel' and 'centipede') are the best way to go. And if all my clients had unlimited budgets, that's what I'd probably install every time. The problem is, they are all fairly expensive. And water features are already expensive. So adding these costly items to your bid can often price you out of the customer's budget, in my experience. So I get why you wouldn't want to use them. We install a LOT of pondless water features. Just finished one earlier today, actually. And I rarely use that stuff, just because of the cost.

    The thing is, you do have to find a way to service your submersible pump (that is, if you are using a submersible). But irrigation valve boxes and extensions (with holes drilled in the sides) do the trick for that just fine. And they also sort of create the space you need around the pump for clean water to be around the pump - for much less than those other items cost. So we create a little bit of a void using the irrigation valve boxes and extensions. Then the rest of the basin is filled with rock.

    As for the variety of rock, we always fill up the basin of the water feature with really large river rock. Like 6"-8" or larger. That creates larger voids and water can get through much easier. It also leaves more room for a greater volume of water to be stored in the basin of the water feature, which is important. You don't want to use up all the water in the basin in the falls and then run out. So there has to be enough to make it run well, and still have some water left for the pump to siphon up until the water returns. I've always found that the larger river rock worked really well for this. And I've never found it to really get clogged. We've had to clean out around the pumps, sometimes. But I've found they stay fairly clean, as long as you control algae and keep the water clear, which isn't difficult.
  5. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    In my neck-of-the-woods, we don't have the luxury of native rock. As a result the cost of matrix cubes over rock is not that much of an issue. Given the propensity for rock filled basins to clog in high organic load locations at a faster rate than matrix cube applications, the use of these blocks is a no-brainer to me. Additionally, when matrix cube basins do clog, they are much easier to flush and clean than a rock filled basin.

Share This Page