Is Building A Swimming Pool Waterfall a DIY Project?

by Pool Builders on 02-28-2011 in Articles

Have you ever thought of installing a waterfall in your swimming pool? It can add beauty and ambiance to your swimming pool like no other feature. And if you're a real do it yourselfer, you might be able to do this project yourself.

To build your own waterfall, gather parts and tools you'll need before you jump into the project, these will include: metal lathe, mortar, a wheelbarrow, metal lathe, stone, latex paint and boat dock foam. To do this project you will need above-average carpentry skills. It will be in your best interests as well, if you have waterfall construction skills. Even if you're equipped with the skills and materials, we don't advise undertaking the project unless you have a clear idea as to what the finished project will look like.

Steps to construct a waterfall:

  1. Build a base for the waterfall to sit on. If the finished project will be close to the ground, pour a concrete block foundation. If the waterfall isn't going to be at ground level you can construct it with a treated wood foundation.
  2. After the foundation has been set, line the structure with a heavy pond liner that fits snugly into all areas of the base.
  3. Make certain the waterfall's water return line is hidden. This can be tricky so, again you'll want to consider hiring an expert.
  4. After the water return is placed, set the foam dock pieces in place. Cut them to fit and follow the shape of the foundation.
  5. Decide where to place your decorative stones and remember the waterfall lip needs to be able to withstand the constant cascade of water.
  6. Do you want to place plants around the waterfall? It can help soften the look of the rock formation and make it blend more naturally into the landscape. You want to intersperse artificial and real plants around the waterfall as the chlorine will do a number on either type of plant.
  7. What kind of lighting do you want around the waterfall? This is the time to think about the placement of lighting. Are you going for a completely illuminated look or more of a mood-lighting feel?
  8. Following the placement of the foam, wrap the structure with the metal lathe for support.
  9. After the foam has been placed and dried, layer the mortar on the wire lathe to cover it for future build up. We recommend an S-type mortar mix.
  10. Add layers until the waterfall takes on the shape you desire. Once you attain the final layer, use your trowel to cut cracks into the mortar so it looks like your waterfall is made of weathered rocks.
  11. The final step in the project is to cover the formation with a latex exterior paint finish. The color depends on the look you are striving for.

Undertaking the construction and installation of a waterfall is a big project that can be completed by the pool owner if he or she has the knowledge or access to a friend who does have the knowledge. With any large project, it might be best to go to a professional pool contractor who can show you samples of the waterfalls they have installed for clients.

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