Pondless Waterfall

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by TCI Landscape Mgmt., Jul 26, 2004.

  1. TCI Landscape Mgmt.

    TCI Landscape Mgmt. LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 2

    I have installed several waterfalls with ponds but no Pondless Falls.

    I have a client who has had a Aquascape Designs Pondless waterfall built back in April of 2004. It has leaked since day one. He contacted me to see what I can do for him and he is willing to pay to have the entire system taken apart and rebuilt if needed. There is a lot of big stones used in this job and I'm not sure if taking it all apart is the way to go.

    Any suggestions to finding the leak without doing all this?
  2. capital

    capital LawnSite Member
    Messages: 118

    Have you started in the simple areas............IE the connections and such? instead of tearing it apart go over on a dry day and just see if the mulch has areas that are wet just out side of the mulch areas. We have built quite a few and have found when their is a leak it is usually somthing simple as in a hose connection or a linner that has slipped down along the steam area.
  3. TCI Landscape Mgmt.

    TCI Landscape Mgmt. LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 2

    I've checked all the connections except for the pump down in the centipede and snorkel which is buried under stone.

    I think its probably a liner problem.

    wHAT nEXT?
  4. Trim Creations

    Trim Creations LawnSite Member
    from Ks
    Messages: 87

    Go to a pool and spa company they have a die you can purchase and run it thru the pond and then you can trace the leak. a little easier. sometimes this works pretty good.
  5. Doh!

    Doh! LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    have you unplugged the waterfall for a day to see if there is any water loss? A little runoff from the back or even some splashing can cause the water loss.
  6. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    The dye won't do any good unless you see where it goes, from what I understand. In other words, he would have to take out all of the rocks.

    I agree, check to see if the main "pond" is loosing the water. If not, it's either the falls or splashing that is causing the water loss.

    It may be a "pondless" waterfall, but it's still the same concept as a normal pond. The main "pond" is just full of stone.....

  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,864

    I agree, if you've checked everything outside and don't see anything, it's probably in the liner.

    We installed a really big pondless waterfall and it worked great from day one and has worked great ever since. But I was extra careful to use a thick underlayment and the thickest liner I could buy. So I have some experience doing the pondless thing.

    (By the way, anyone reading this - if you ever do a pondless waterfall, don't fall for the $600 Centipede/Snorkel rip off contraption that Aquascapes sells. I can teach you how to accomplish the same thing for under $100 in materials.)

    Here is an how I would go about checking for a leak;

    1) Move the flexible PVC to come out much lower on the waterfall - like 1/4 of the way from the bottom. Turn it on and have it just come out in that area for a few days. If there still leaks, then you know the leak is in the bottom 1/4 of the water feature. (Well, unless there is more than 1 leak.)

    2) If no leak, move the flex PVC up to about 1/2 way up the waterfall and run it a few days. If there is a leak now, then the leak is between that area and the first area above

    3) If no leak, proceed to check out the next 1/4 of the waterfall.

    4) If no leak, check out the top 1/4 of the waterfall.

    This will at least help narrow it down as to where the leak is. Then you don't have to dismantle the entire thing.
  8. qualpro

    qualpro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Are you sure it is a leak and not just evaporation?
  9. T. Matthews

    T. Matthews LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    Hey JIm,

    Can you tell me how to build a pondless waterfall with out using Aquascapes snorkel and centipede.

    Thank you,

  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,864

    Sure. I will attach a drawing I just made real quickly that will help explain how we did it.

    After we had the "pond" part dug up, and the underlayment and liner installed, we installed a plastic sump pump housing like the one sold at this website...

    Sump Well

    We then surrounded the Sump Well with various lengths of 4" black ABS pipe that had large holes drilled in the pipe all over it (to allow water to flow through). We also drilled holes all over the sump well, but not enough to jeapordize it's structural integrity. It still has to be strong enough to hold the weight of the river rocks on top of it.

    So then we had the "pond" basin filled up 2/3 with this 4" ABS pipe. Then we installed our pump, mercury switch, and flex PVC (see drawing below). And then we filled the top 1/3 of this basin up with River rock.

    If you had a large enough pond or basin, you could probably just do the sump well and large river rocks. But you have to be careful with that. In our case, we needed 50 gallons per minute and I was afraid if we didn't create a good sized area below to hold plenty of water that the basin would run dry before the water came back down from the top of the waterfall. NOT GOOD to run out of water. So we built it this way to insure that there would be plenty of water around the pump at all times.

    Sorry. It's a little hard to explain. Hopefuly, my drawing will make more sense of it.

    Costs were under $100 for the Sump well and the ABS pipe. Closer to $50 actually.



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