Streams and Waterfalls for the Koi Pond

The sound of water flowing down a shallow stream or over a waterfall is like natures relaxing music. It also adds biological filtration and oxygen to the water. Creating a waterfall or stream that looks natural is easier than you might think. When designing your koi pond layout use a line level to determine the slope of the area for the pond or leading to the pond. You can also create a slope or berm with the soil and rocks when you excavate the pond.

Waterfall 1

Adding a waterfall like the one above is simply a matter of taking advantage of the slope you have or create with the soil you excavate when digging out the pond. Dig out for the waterfall steps allowing for the depth of the rocks the water has to flow over. Also you have to keep in mind that the rocks lining the edge have to go on top and inside the liner. Many times the main source of a pond leak is at the waterfall because of poor planning and construction. As long as you keep the edges of the liner well above the water line and allow for the splash to be contained inside the liner, there should be no leaks. Some of the rocks will have to be mortared in to keep the water flowing over the rocks instead of under and around them. Use concrete mixed with sand for the mortar. Regular mortar will disintegrate over time. The mortar can later be hidden with gravel. Adding marginal plants will soften the rock work along the edge and add to the natural look. If the waterfall was created as a berm with the soil from the excavation of the pond, trees and large bushes can be planted on the back side to make it look more natural.

Adding a stream is much easier than a waterfall feature. It can be stepped or have a gentle slope leading into the main pool. It can be straight , curved, or winding. You have to be creative about the beginning of the stream to make it look natural. Does it look like it is coming through a privacy fence or bubble up from the ground. Strategic placement of a large rock or plantings can disguise the beginning of a stream.

The main part of the stream should be lined with gravel. River gravel tends to look more natural than pea or pebble stone. Selective use of larger rocks inside the stream and along the sides, breaks up the look and the water flow. Allow 1 - 2 feet on each side for gravel. This helps keep the liner in place and the grass clippings out of the water.

Stream bed Cross Section