Desktop fountains were a popular gift item several years ago. They usually consisted of a short wall with water flowing down into a small basin and circulating in a continuous cycle. Not much more than a foot tall and wide, these self-contained units provided the soothing sound of water in an affordable, reasonably attractive package.
Imagine transporting one of these water features to your backyard and making it much larger. Instead of a desktop trinket, you now have a cascading stone water wall serving as a unique focal point for your backyard. The sound of the water can have a calming effect while helping to mask the sound of nearby traffic or neighbors. Placed in the right location, the wall will help screen unwanted views and create additional privacy for your yard.
Here’s an example of one of these striking water features:
For experienced do-it-yourself types, a stone water wall is a manageable project. If you are less experienced with outdoor construction, call on a capable friend or family member to help out! Having a sketch or plan of how your wall is going to be constructed will be helpful along the way.
If you feel it is too much for you to do, come in to see us at Grand River Natural Stone Ltd and we will refer you to a capable contractor.
Finding a Location
Your stone water wall is going to be a significant feature in your yard. As well as being beautiful to look at, it can also have a soothing effect from the sound of falling water. You may want to place it in a prominent place, but do consider that sometimes subtlety has more strength.
A backdrop such as a fence, a wall of the house or a grouping of tall shrubs can visually ground your water feature and offer a place to hide the mechanical works. It will also give it some context and help it fit into the landscape.
Sizing Your Wall
While there are no fixed rules, the size of your wall should correspond by scale to the space where it is going to be. You may not want a tiny wall in a big yard or a giant wall next to a small patio. It could easily be four to six feet tall and of an equal, or even much greater width.
Breaking it Down
Your cascading water wall will have three main components: the wall itself, a basin or reservoir at the bottom and a pump with tubing to circulate the water. You will also need an electrical outlet.
You should be able to purchase everything you need at your landscape supplier. It is valuable to do a little extra research into what local suppliers landscape contractors use- these places will be the best source for higher quality parts that will work better and last longer. They can also be a source of information when you have construction questions.
Several different types of stone are suitable for your wall, including slate and fieldstone. Pre-cut stone of a somewhat consistent size will make the project easier, though you want some natural variation from stone to stone. You may want a concrete block wall for structure faced with the stone serving as a facade. For taller walls, this will add more stability. Talk to your material supplier or a contractor about the best type of mortar and wall reinforcement to use.
Whatever kind of wall you construct, a solid base will be required for the stone to sit on. Depending on the height of the wall, you may even need a concrete footing. If you are unsure of what exactly is needed, seek help from a qualified installer or designer. At Grand River Natural Stone Ltd we have a wealth of contractors on file who would be happy to install for you.
Plastic liners work well to create a reservoir for your water wall. You can also use concrete, but the construction is more difficult and will take longer. The size and depth of the basin is dependent on the pump capacity and the size of your wall.
Read the pump capacity and specifications carefully to make sure it is a good match for your project. You will need to connect a riser tube or hose that will carry water to the top of the wall. That connects to a water release tube with a series of holes or small, short tubes that release water over the top of the wall.
After construction, your wall can be finished off with lighting, additional planting and more stone for the finishing touches. Your imagination is the only limit. Soon you will be enjoying the peaceful sound of flowing water in your own backyard.
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