Planning a Waterfall for Your Swimming Pool

by Pool Builders on 09-29-2010 in Articles

If you've ever spent any time at a high-end resort then you know the most attractive part of the grounds is the resort size pool and its waterfall. Even in the National Parks systems some of the most visited scenic areas in the parks are the mountain side waterfalls. The sights and sounds of falling water is mesmerizing and can have a very tranquil effect.

Incorporating a waterfall into your own backyard pool only takes a little planning during the design or redesign phase in you want to remodel an existing pool. For the purpose of this article, I'll deal only with the planning for a new swimming pool.

Your first decision is the placement of the water effect. You need to decide where the feature should be visible from. Architects use the visual impact of a waterfall to draw visitor's attention through and outside the house. Your decision on placement and its proximity to the pool is purely your own.

Once you've completed your placement decision, you need to decide on the type of water feature. Your choice is as endless and only limited by your imagination. Look to examples in design magazines, resorts and even commercial properties such as shopping malls and large walking businesses campuses. Another source of inspiration is to look at the fountains in and around resorts in Las Vegas, Hawaii, and the Disney properties.

From a mechanical perspective, water features are a very basic add-on to your typical backyard swimming pool. It's usually best to incorporate a separate pump and plumbing system and leave the feature independent of the pool's filtration network of plumbing. That way you can control the volume and timing of the water that gets pulled and returned to the pool or basin reservoir through and over your water effect.

The amount of water that you want to move through the or over the water feature becomes your next decision in the planning process. Are you looking for a raging cascade effect or a tranquil babbling brook atmosphere in the back yard? Large, grotto style or swim under rock waterfalls require a large volume of water that must be pulled from the pool and returned at several point in and on top of the structure. Pipe and pump sizing requires some calculations based on a variety of factors such as, distance, piping bends and distribution or allocation of water to key areas of the feature.

A typical pool simply requires a separate suction line to draw water from the pool. Ensure you incorporate a split suction to minimize entrapment issues. The other side of the pump, the return side, needs a series of valves or separate return lines for each fall. The mechanics of a water feature don't need to be complicated, just as with everything else, require a little prior planning. With a plan and the proper placement your backyard can become a destination favorite for the whole family and even the entire neighborhood.

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