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Q: Water feature ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Water feature
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: slimjan-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 02 Oct 2002 16:23 PDT
Expires: 01 Nov 2002 15:23 PST
Question ID: 71826
I live in Queensland Australia in Cleveland. I have a brick wall
adjacent to my bedroom, available space is 2.5 meters high and 2
meters wide, facing west. I would like to create a waterfall against
the wall into a pond, my thoughts were slate stacked at 45 degrees and
water flowing down, or a straight drop into a pond. my fears were of
damp penetrating the brickwork eventually and damaging the interior

Thanks Lionel Bowen

Request for Question Clarification by shananigans-ga on 02 Oct 2002 20:52 PDT
Do you want us to put you in contact with companies who could design
or install such a feature, or would you like us to find out whether
such a project is feasible? I'm no 'fountain engineer', but it would
probably be useful if we knew what kind of soil you were planning to
build this on, whether the ground slopes etc. The more detail you can
provide us with, the better!
Subject: Re: Water feature
Answered By: bethc-ga on 03 Oct 2002 10:05 PDT
Hi Lionel,

I come from a family who thinks that a water feature is an absolutely
vital part of a landscape plan. I have participated the building of
two previous ponds, and currently we are working on a pond with
waterfall in our present home. I think that the location that you are
contemplating, outside your bedroom window, is an ideal choice, in
terms of providing a soothing backdrop and pleasing sounds to lull you
to sleep. Now let’s look at how to accomplish that.

With any kind of waterfall, even with a small fountain, you will have
splashing. Brick is somewhat porous, as is the mortar into which it is
set. To be absolutely sure that you cause no damage to the interior
walls of your home, you need to make sure that little or no splashing
water contacts your brick wall. Exterior brick is, of course, intended
to be resistant to the ravages of wind and weather, but there’s no
point in torturing it with constant dampness when there are things
which can be done to prevent that and protect the brick.

There are a number of things that you can do to minimize the amount of
water that hits your brick wall. Let’s look first at sealing and
protecting the brick, and then at waterfall design considerations to
minimize splashing.

Has lots of good information on maintaining, caring for and sealing
your brick. The following instructions on sealing a brick floor would
be equally applicable to your wall.

“To seal a brick floor, place folded towels next to carpet areas
adjoining tiled areas to absorb water. Using a scrub brush or large
sponge and detergent, scrub the floor surface and rinse with clear
water. Be sure any dirty wash water is completely removed from
crevices. Allow floor to dry thoroughly. From a reliable hardware or
paint store get a brick masonry sealer; usually sold in gallons. It is
a clear solution so it does not change the color of the tile or bricks
and grout, but it will give a gloss to the surface. Paint the sealer
on the dry tile or brick, being sure to cover all crevices and cracks
in bricks and grout. Let it dry and apply a second coat. Thereafter,
apply one coat about every year to maintain the seal”

Masonry Sealers Greatly Prolong Brick and Concrete Life
By: Paul Bianchina
This page, from the same website, provides specific information on
sealing brick, and details why it is important.

“It's hard to imagine that anything as small as a drop of water could
wreck havoc on something as solid as a brick, a piece of stone or a
slab of concrete. But constant exposure to water…can damage or destroy
masonry surfaces in a surprisingly short amount of time.

“The answer is to seal the masonry's porous surfaces against the
intrusion of water. There are a number of sealers that are formulated
specifically for this purpose, and they are easy to apply without
special equipment.”

The article goes on to discuss selecting the right sealer and proper
application of the product.

There are many products available for sealing brick and protecting
your wall from splashing water. Here is an example of such a product:

Decorating Direct-UK
“Waterseal penetrates brick, stone, concrete and cement to create a
long lasting water repellent barrier. By preventing the penetration of
rain, the risk of water damage and spalling caused by frost action is

“Use for sealing brick, stone, concrete and masonry to give a water
repellent finish without altering the aesthetics of the coated

I have never used this product, and include it only as an example of
what is available. A hardware, paint or home improvement store in your
area should be able to advise you on what to use.


You mention two possibilities for design of a stacked stone waterfall:
stacking the stones at a 45 degree angle or a straight drop into a
pond. Of the two, I would advise the more gentle, 45 degree angle
which would, of course, minimize splashing. A straight drop, from even
a minimal height, will cause lots of water to splash out of your pond.
This is a bad idea, both in terms of moisture constantly hitting your
wall and in terms of how often you will have to replace the lost water
in your pond.

Building My Waterfall
The design of your waterfall can help to minimize the amount of
splashing onto the brick. Note that the waterfall in the photo which
accompanies this website runs somewhat parallel to the wall, which
appears to be covered with a bamboo or willow screen. Both the design
of this waterfall and the bamboo screen against what appears to be a
fence, are ideas that you could incorporate into your plan. The screen
could be backed with liner material or polyvinyl for additional
protection. Your dimensions (2.5 meters high and 2 meters wide)
indicate that you should have sufficient room to do a version of this,
ending in a small pool. The gentler slope of the waterfall would
result in less splashing against the wall.

Some additional thoughts:

A liner behind your waterfall is an absolute must. This will protect
the area immediately behind the stones you use to construct the
waterfall, and will serve to direct the water and eliminate leaking
and evaporation.

The size of the pump that you choose will, of course, determine the
flow of the water, and you can use this to control splashing. Creative
rock positioning will also let you direct the flow and splashing of
water away from the wall. Arrange your rocks until you get the proper
balance between nice splashy sound and water splattering all over your
brick wall.

Leaning  large flat rocks against the wall, as a backdrop, will help
protect the brick. You can build your waterfall out from there.

Some of these ideas will be expanded on in the next section.


Ponds, Waterfalls and Streams
An overview of pond location, design and construction
Stephen M. Meyer
This website contains a good deal of information on all aspects of
ponds. Toward the end of the article, there is an excellent section on
“Building The Waterfall”, with much good information on the
mathematics of waterfall construction:

“The height and length of the falls can be whatever seems to fit the
site in a natural way. I suggest you consider a waterfall that has a
"rise-to-run" ratio of no more than 1 to 1. The rise is the vertical
distance from the pond surface to the top of the falls. The run is the
horizontal distance along the waterfall course parallel to the ground.
If space permits, rise-to-run ratios of 1:2 or more can produce
wonderful effects. However, be careful to keep the waterfall in
proportion to other features in the yard. A very high waterfall will
look unnatural and contrived unless the local terrain is suitably

“To start with, you might begin with a waterfall design that has a
rise of about 18 inches above the pond surface and consists of five
steps. The width of the falls should be kept in proportion to the rest
of the project, but the volume of water you plan to pump over the
falls should also be considered. For example, 300 gallons per hour
will produce a thin flow of water — about 1⁄4-inch deep — over a
6-inch sill. This could still look quite natural in a waterfall that
was 18 inches wide and punctuated with large stones to divert the
water into narrow paths down the falls. This is something you will
have to "eyeball." (Doubling the flow rate allows you to either double
the sill width or double the water depth.)”

You may find the following liner handling instructions to be helpful:

“The dimensions of the liner section are determined by the length and
width of the waterfall. Place one end of a tape measure at the top of
the falls and let it "flow" down along the course, being careful to
stay in contact with the waterfall bed. Measure all the way down to
the pond surface. Next measure the width of the falls at the widest
point. Add 2 feet to both the length and the width. This is the size
liner material you will need.

“Place the liner in the waterfall bed and use large stones to define
the course along the edges. Do not trim the liner edge until the
waterfall is completely finished! Stones are also placed along the
outer edge of the waterfall to hide the liner edge. Slate, flat stone,
rock and gravel can be placed all along the waterfall course to hide
and protect the liner. Remove the existing stones on the pond lip
where the waterfall connects. The waterfall liner should overlap the
pond liner on the lip, and then the stones can be replaced.”

And finally, pump location and fine tuning tips:

“The pump to drive the waterfall should be placed at the end of the
pond opposite the water fall to provide for the most effective
circulation. If you are going to use a submersible pump in the pond,
you will need to protect it from sucking in debris. You might consider
placing the pump with a filter screen in a 5-gallon pail and then
filling the pail with 1⁄2-inch stone. Submerge the bucket at the
far end of the pond. (This will also act as a small biological filter,
though that is not the real purpose here.) You can run the pump hose
that delivers water to the falls along the bottom of the pond, or you
can bury it along the side of the pond. The hose spout should wind up
behind the falls and is hidden in the rockwork and plants at the top
of the falls.

“Once you have water flowing, you can "tune" the falls by
strategically placing larger stones in the water course itself. This
lets you create interesting twists and turns in the water flow as it
makes it way down the falls to the pond. You will have to play with
the waterfall for a while to get it the way you want it. Because the
liner used in the waterfall will cost less than $20, you may find
yourself redesigning and improving the waterfall several times over
the next few years.”

There is a good bit of non-metric math in the above article. Here is a
handy online conversion calculator, should you need it.

This website has some good photos and information which I think you
may find useful. Click on the links at each stage for additional
pictures and instructions. It covers the following topics:

- Placement of pump
- Tubing
- Building waterfall pond
- Building spillway
is a website dedicated to the building of ponds, and includes a
section on waterfalls. It has valuable information on liners, pumps,
plants, fish, and a FAQ section.


You could consider using a prefabricated unit, such as the one
pictured here, entitled “Small Cascade”:

“Designed to be used against a wall or fence this flat-backed piece
can be used with a pond or as a pebble-pool feature.”

Brackendale Arts

The website has a pond forum which you might find

I hope, Lionel, that you have found the above information to be
useful, and the options provided helpful. I don’t think that you will
ever regret the time, effort and money that you put into a beautiful
water feature.
Good luck on your project, and should you require any additional
information on any of the above, please do not hesitate to request a



Search criteria:
fountain "against a wall"
build waterfall pond against brick wall
"protect brick" OR “protecting brick”
building a waterfall
"sealing brick"  water
sealer brick stone water

Request for Answer Clarification by slimjan-ga on 22 Oct 2002 20:20 PDT
From: "Lionel J Bowen" <>
Subject: Dissapointed
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 07:56:34 +1000 (E. Australia Standard Time)

I expected more for $100 than currently received, the info you sent me is
available on the net without looking to hard, I expected something better.

Lionel Bowen

Clarification of Answer by bethc-ga on 23 Oct 2002 08:39 PDT
Hi Lionel,

I'd be happy to supply you with further information. Can you tell me
specifically what additional information you need?

I did spend about six hours combing through many, many websites to put
together this information for you. If it missed the mark in some way,
I apologize. Please let me know, in as much detail as you can, what
additional I can find for you and I'll be happy to research further.

There are no comments at this time.

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