|Water features can make an incredible impact on any garden, whether they be a small inner city garden where the noise can be used to mask the passing traffic or noise neighbours or in a rural countryside garden giving the appearance of having a natural waterfall passing through the flower beds and meandering past the bushes.
The Japanese use a lot of water features in their gardens because of the calming influence of the noise of moving water. It creates a peaceful, tranquil noise which steadies the nerves and calms the soul.
If you already have a pond in your garden you may be considering installing a waterfall. The first piece of advice I can give you is to make your own. Creating things yourself always gives one a much deeper satisfaction when enjoying the end product but not only that you can get the exact desired effect you are after.
Have a look at natural waterfalls, paying particular attention to the way the water falls. Does it cascade down different levels of rock or does it fall directly down into a large pool of water. Whichever look you prefer you should pay particular attention to, but donít try to photograph it in your mind.
Always remember to keep your waterfall in scale with your pond and surrounding area. Donít overdo it. Ideally, in my opinion, your pond will be built next to a slope so you can place the filter and pump above the level of the pond and have a cascading effect and several layers of waterfall giving a beautiful trickling sound without too much of a drop.
You should try and have falls at least 6 to 8 feet in length giving you ample room to lazily amble your stream to your pond. Always plan what you are going to do. Try using sand over soil to get the shape of the twists and turns. Once youíve got the effect you are looking for, you need to start digging which is easily the most laborious task involved.
Because you are creating a stream you donít need much of a drop, depending on the end result you want. Perhaps you want your water to run through pebbles or some nicely coloured gravel, in which case the depth you dig should be a bare minimum. Perhaps you have a large pond and some large shrubs around it, in which case up to a foot would be acceptable, giving the effect of a stream and not overdoing it.
Once youíve dug the area required you should place a liner down. If you are using stream liner then there is no need to add sand first as stream liner is very strong and durable, however you should always have some protection between liner and stone. If you want to place stone over your liner then you should try and use sealing foam. Used sparingly it will be unnoticeable but will protect the liner from scratches and holes.
Now comes the fun and creative part of the exercise. Building the waterfall. There really isnít very much advice that can be given for this, apart from remembering that trial and error usually leads to the best results. Donít seal anything and donít finalise anything until you are positive you have got the result you are after.
Once youíve finished youíre free to plant natural looking plants and bushes around your stream and waterfall so the foliage drapes over the water, not only covering any visible liner but also making it all appear much more natural.
There are also kits available and these can work just as well as long as you make sure that the Ďbowlí sits snugly into the hole youíve dug. If it doesnít, be warned, cracks wonít be far away and once youíve got cracks youíve got no water.