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Pros and Cons of Backyard Waterfalls

By Jonathan Allard

A backyard waterfall is a great way to incorporate art into your outdoor living space. Whether the feature is a focal point in your landscape or simply a complementary piece. Water feature designs serve more than an aesthetic purpose; the sound of trickling water can help you relax and feel calm.

Water features such as decorative fountains and waterfalls can provide a number of benefits to any environment. Most people will agree that providing components within their own living space that create a visual interest can reduce stress, which may lead to enhanced productivity.

However, adding a waterfall is not without risk…

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PROS

Keeping Calm

The Advantage of Relaxation

  • backyard waterfall can provide a tranquil setting for you to relax and enjoy the outdoors–either by yourself or with friends. The waterfall can include fish or accent a swimming pool to enhance your experience while relaxing in the yard. In addition, the sound of trickling water, can be stress-reducing.
  • Most waterfalls featuring moving water also produce running-water sounds. These sounds can remind listeners of a calm babbling brook contributing to the calming effect of the waterfall. The falls noises also help cover the sounds of a busy environment. This effect is known as white noise and can help reduce the stress caused by the more mundane sounds of outdoor living; automobiles, planes, neighbors, and other environmental factors.

The Aesthetics Advantage

  • A water feature in the backyard will significantly bolster the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space–especially if colorful fish and an eye-catching design complete this landscaping feature. Backyard waterfalls can be equipped with lights to illuminate the  feature during the evening, further enhancing the easy-on-the-eye experience.

The Anywhere Advantage

  • One of the most intriguing benefits of landscape waterfalls is that they can be installed into any area of your yard, whether it is front or back, in the sun or shade, by the pool or in the patio. 

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Attract Attention

The Conversation Advantage

  • Waterfalls can become a gathering place for family and friends — especially if placed in a backyard setting —  Designers often include seating or viewing space around the feature to accommodate the attention it attracts. Not only will the waterfall be a great focal point, but it will also serve as a conversational piece.

The Uniqueness Advantage

  • No two waterfalls are the same. Waterfalls come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and characteristics. There are the thundering and powerful types that command attention with their sheer volume and size. There are delicately flowing graceful types that relax and mesmerize you with their intricate beauty. Then there are the ones situated in locations where its settings are every bit a part of the natural beauty. Moreover, they are unusual cascades that bend your mind and leave an impression as a result of their uniqueness.

Better Air

The Humidity Advantage

  • The moving water of a fountain allows some of the water to evaporate into the air. This contributes to the humidity of the air and may actually improve the air quality of the surrounding space. In dry climates, the presence of a water feature may reduce or eliminate the need for a humidifier.

CONS

Safety

The Safety Disadvantage

  • The water in a waterfall can pose a safety hazard. If the water feature includes an open pool, it should include design features that prevent accidental entrance by children, as this can cause some possible injury. 

The Maintenance Disadvantage

  • Backyard waterfalls can require maintenance. If your feature is located near trees, removing debris can become a constant maintenance issue. Maintaining balanced water is the key to long term enjoyment of your backyard waterfall and swimming pool waterfallMany pool supply stores will have testing equipment to test your water and provide you with the analysis of your water, as well as the supplies you’ll need to maintain a balance.  Test kits are also available for you to check the water on a weekly basis.

The Disadvantage of the Attraction of Pests

  • Different types of waterfalls can attract pests to your yard. Fish falls may attract fishing birds, which will make a meal out of your fish. Raccoons and frogs may be attracted to your water feature, as well. Frogs can be interesting to watch, but they can be very noisy during the evening hours. Mosquitoes will also pose a problem in features that are not well-balanced and maintained.

 

Outdoor Living Areas: Assessing Your Customers Needs

Backyard waterfall and waterfall garden

As the popularity of outdoor living areas continues to grow, the opportunity for contractors to provide their customers with exceptional designs and options is better than ever.  Assisting with planning and maximizing the space available will provide your customer with years of enjoyment in their outdoor living space.  Here are five points of consideration when planning the outdoor living area.

  • Landscape:  What is the size of the area you’ll be working in?  What are the physical features?  Will you be adding a garden area?
  • Hardscape:  How will your customer be using the backyard space?  Do they like to entertain or is it more of a peaceful, serene escape?
  • Sun Orientation:  At what time of day will the area have the most use?  How will you create a shaded area?
  • Paths of circulation:  What is the walking area and flow moving into the outdoor living space?
  • Focal point:  There are a number of possible focal points you can create in the outdoor living area, any of which can be the area of focus for your customer.  A few examples are:
    • Water Feature:  Probably the most dramatic way to create a point of focus, a backyard waterfall adds a beautiful and natural escape.  There’s a soothing and invigorating quality to the sight and sound of running water.
    • Fireplace or fire pit:  There’s a mystical enjoyment that happens when gathering around an open fire.
    • Outdoor kitchen and dining area:  Cooking and eating outside bring a new level of excitement to meals and family gatherings.
    • Garden:  The natural beauty of a garden brings enjoyment from both the aesthetics and a meditative quality while tending the garden.

backyard fire pit

With various landscape design software packages available, going the extra mile to provide your customer with their ideal outdoor living area will enhance their satisfaction, as well as enhance your portfolio.  What better way to grow your business than with a long list of satisfied customers?

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How To Design A Backyard Waterfall

how to design a backyard waterfall

 

So you have decided to build a water feature to enhance your client’s outdoor living area. The concept of a backyard waterfall has your customer intrigued and excited but now you have to come up with a design. Following a few simple procedures you will have a design that will functionally and aesthetically be pleasing to the consumer.

Step 1. Planning and Layout

Take a look at your surroundings and see what is workable and what isn’t. Take advantage of slopes or existing rocks that can be incorporated. Look at the size and height you are planning on and see where it will fit best. Is it a feature that you want people to be up close and personal with? Or is it simply for viewing and background noise? Try to use the environment to your advantage.

Step 2. The Spillway

Your spillway will play a big part in the entire design for the waterfall. The flow of water will impact the visual attributes of the feature greatly. If you are looking for a quieter and less dramatic fall then a cascading effect should be the goal. For a more emotional and breathtaking fall you will want to have sheer cliff faces and cantilevered design. Find out which side you are leaning to or somewhere in between that compliments the desired outcome.

Step 3. Catch Basin (Pond)

The ponds shape and design will coincide with the flow of water and size of the feature. Usually the most popular design is the pond less design. This helps when children are present or even family pets as the pond is filled with a decorative aggregate close to the water surface. Kidney shapes are also quite common as they break things up from being perfectly circular. Depending on the height of your falls you will need to keep in mind how far out the spill will hit and how much splash will go over the edge

Step 4. Aesthetics

4. This can be very important as there are several things that can be easily overlooked. The loudness of your feature can be very relaxing but also turn a beautiful waterfall into an area where people can not kick back and conversate because of the noise. Splash is another key thing to be aware of. If your feature is a butting a patio or hang out spot you don’t want water splashing all over admiring guests. Being situation-ally aware is also very important. Where can the backyard waterfall be seen from? Is it going to be enjoyed from more than one spot in the yard? Keeping these in mind will keep you project much more visually pleasing and functional.

Step 5. Special Circumstances

You will want to know how your client intends to use the feature. If they are planning on fish or any habitats then you will need special filters and chemicals and be sure to make sure the sun will not be an issue. If nighttime is a big use for them you may need electrical conduit for accent lighting. Take into consideration everything beforehand so that you are properly setup and not dealing with after thoughts that can be very costly and time consuming.

waterfall design for garden

As always, being innovative will set you apart from the competition, just don’t forget the basics and you can take your design in any direction you wish.

 

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