Waterfalls are equally exciting and tranquil. I don’t think there is a person in the world who wouldn’t love to say that they have one in their backyard. Well, one of our DIY subscribers decided that he wanted just that. Johnny and his wife were bored with their drab backyard and after evaluating the space decided that it was the perfect place to build their very own waterfall.
Johnny, one of our very skillful DIY subscribers, and his wife built this magnificent waterfall and shared the entire process with us! In Johnny’s own words he explains how they successfully built their very first waterfall.
This is the back of our home that faces a wall of dirt. We plan on making it look like a lush hillside with a beautiful waterfall coming down through the greenery. Our family room windows look out at this. On the far left of this photo is our “gold mine”, we’ll get into that later.
So It Begins.
First I want to say, this is our first project like this ever. It may or may not be the correct way. Our first step was to move all the rocks that we had lined the walkway with, out of the way then remove some dirt. This area will have a retaining wall when the waterfall is finished.
We rented a mini excavator to dig the area for the waterfall and the hole for the water storage tank. There were only about 5 inches between the excavator and the house while turning. You DO NOT want to hit the wrong lever to swing the wrong way. I did not hit the house! I did something right that day.
The Less Hand Work The Better.
My goal was to get as much digging done with the machine as possible.
It Was A Very Hard Day!
The dirt went into the back of the pickup. We then took it to a different part of our property. We had to unload it by hand. It took about 16 fully loaded trips.
A Bunch Of Hand Work Is Still Needed.
Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full.
The Fun Begins.
This step was to lay down the rubber barrier. This is so if the concrete and rocks leaked, it would not wash down the dirt.
Before We Get Too Far…
This is a photo the water holding tank hole. This will be for the water storage that the pump will pump from and where the waterfall will refill from. Here Elaine is squaring it up and taking the “extra” dirt out so we can pour concrete.
It’s All About The Base.
We then needed to pour a base of concrete. We made it about 5 inches deep.
I made a form in the center so the dirt would act as a form on the outside.
The Form Is Ready.
I put a top on it so the concrete can be poured on top, flowing over the sides into the space that will be the walls of the tank.
No Hand Pouring On This One.
For this job, I used a concrete truck. I was not sure how much the job would use, so hired a truck that mixes in the hopper. That way I could use what I needed and then just stop.
Taking The Forms Off.
A Strange Shape, But So What.
Once the project is done you won’t see it. It is 4′ deep, average 3′ wide and 14′ long.
The Beginning Of The Waterfall Steps.
I wanted the first step higher than the tank level. This shows the base of the next that step. I used some forms I had to lay over the tank so debris would not get into it and we could walk around without worry of falling in.
Something Seems Off.
Made the form for the first “step” of the waterfall. Never having done this before, I think this first step looks wrong.
Might take a hammer and chisel to it when we get done with the rest of it and reshape it.
Mix It Up.
We mixed the concrete by hand in the wheelbarrow on the first step and every step all the way up the waterfall. It was just too hard to get the mixer where it could pour out to where we needed it.
While mixing we added black coloring to the concrete mix so it would not be just gray when it was done. I added rebar to the back so the next step would always be rigged with the step below it.
The while real green (uncured) we took the form off and sculptured, trying to make it look like a rock. Also adding other colors.
Each Form On Each Step Was Different.
Kind of free-form, if you will. Thought this would make it more random and natural. We used large rocks to hold the form in place.
Again, step by step we would hand mix, pour and then take the form off while green enough so we could sculpt and color.
Changing It Up A Bit.
On some, we would add real rocks into the concrete.
We are liking the way it is shaping up.
Step By Step.
We added something different each time.
A Better View.
This is after the form is removed while the concrete is still real green.
Carving Seems To Work Best.
We starting carving it to make the firm concrete in some kind of rock shape.
Black, Red, Green & Browns.
We use paint brushes to work the coloring into the surface.
We Think It’ll Turn Out Fine.
Hope it looks right with water flowing down over it.
Built A Platform To Work From.
We put the wheelbarrow up on the platform to mix up the concrete. Then shoveled the concrete into the form.
This Is The Second To Last Step.
The Color Master!!!
One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure.
While at the scrapyard, I found these two galvanized grates. They are the perfect size to go over the waterfall tank.
It’s All About The Base.
We started building the area that will hold the pump. This is the base. You can see the waterfall on the left. The plan is to make this pump house to look like an old miners shack, to match the “gold mine”.
The Front Will Be Wood.
The back of the pump house is also a retaining wall so I used concrete block.
After a few final touches, the falls are flowing! Watch the waterfall in action here!
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the “gold mine”! To the very left of this masterpiece is our very own “gold mine” that we built ourselves. See how we made it, here!
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