I just have to share this with you. This is one of my favorite and most successful outdoor projects!
We wanted a nice waterfall/water feature in our backyard, so I got an estimate to put in several ponds with waterfalls going from one to another and then one on the other side of the bridge. They said it would cost us $14,000. YIKES! That was definitely not going to be happening. So I got creative. Off to the store I went and got:
- 4 blue plastic wading pools (about $8 ea). (Toys R Us)
- Thirteen 9" x 12" Retaining wall blocks for ea. pond (Home Depot)
- About 12 Flat Concrete step stones for each pond (Home Depot)
- 4 small pond pumps (about $20 ea) (Home Depot)
- Aluminum tubing to create an extension for the pumps. (cut to length at Osh.)
- Plants - we used Vinca's*
- Access to an electrical outlet
Our original plan was to have the water fall from pond to pond, but after trying several different ways, it never worked out well. So, we ended up simply creating a fountain in each pond - which worked out even better and created more water noise!!
Start by digging a level, shallow hole big enough to fit the wading pool into. Surrounded it with the concrete blocks making sure they are level too. Make sure the wading pool is slightly below the concrete blocks. Lay the pavers on top around the edge to hide the concrete blocks and the edge of the pool. Fill the ponds with water, add the pump, plug it in and presto! Your very own pond/fountain!
Total cost.... $400!
Things I learned along the way...
- Water does NOT make noise when it falls onto rocks. It DOES, however make lots of noise if it falls into water.
- It would be great to adhere the pavers to the concrete blocks, but then you can't remove the pool for cleaning. Darn. So be careful if you step onto those pavers!
- Speaking of cleaning... the best way to clean the ponds is to empty the pond by tilting the pump so the water squirts outside of the pond until the water gets too low for the pump to work. Then you will have to scoop out as much of the remaining the water as possible by hand - I used a plastic container with a flat edge. Then move the pavers away from the edge - just enough to remove the wading pool itself. Clean the wading pool, set back in and you are good to go! When they get a bit nasty looking just get some new wading pools! At $8 each ($4 when they are on sale) you can buy a couple of extras for future use. : )
- *Although the vincas look great, when they get bigger they get leggy and the petals fall into the pond and create a mess. Maybe keep them trimmed, or move them away from the pond a little bit. NOTE: Our vince's began popping up in lots of other places in the garden a bit later....
- You can buy a Fountain Nozzle kit, which gives you variety of different heads, but they kept falling over because they were top heavy. The suction cups on the bottom of the pump don't always work well. That's why I went to OSH and bought an aluminum tube and had it cut to about 8" lengths. It worked perfectly.