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I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose?

Q: I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose?

Linda – Broomall, PA

A: Fun springtime project ahead! As you’re discovering, building a pond with a waterfall involves some planning and careful consideration—which includes selecting a waterfall pump. Your choice is important because it’ll determine how high you can make your waterfall and how much water will flow down it.

You want more than a trickle, right? Before you go pump shopping, crunch these numbers first:

1. Head Pressure

How high will your waterfall be? This measurement is your head pressure, which is the total number of feet from the top of your waterfall to the top of your pond’s surface. If you’re building a 5-foot-high waterfall, for instance, your head pressure is 5 feet.

Pro tip: If the tubing from your pump to the waterfall is longer than 10 feet, add 1 foot of head pressure for every 10 feet. So in the example above, if your tubing is 14 feet, the head pressure would be 6 feet.

2. Flow Rate

How much water do you want pouring over the falls? This number is your flow rate. The average flow rate is 1,500 gallons per hour for every 1 foot of waterfall width. If your 5-foot-high waterfall is 1 foot wide, you should go with a pump that moves around 1,500 GPH; if it’s 3 feet wide, you should go with a pump that moves 4,500 GPH or so.

Pro tip: If you prefer a lighter water flow, calculate 1,000 GPH for every 1 foot of waterfall width. For a heavier flow, use 2,000.

Going Shopping

With those numbers in hand, you should have a pretty good idea what kind of waterfall pump you’ll need to buy. To make the chore easier for you, we recommend:

For lower-flow waterfalls: If you’re designing a smaller waterfall, check out The Pond Guy® MagFlo™ Pump and The Pond Guy® SolidFlo™ Pump. The MagFlo™ line includes 290, 460 and 590 GPH models with maximum head of 6½ to 7½ feet; the low-profile SolidFlo™ line includes 600, 1,200 and 1,600 GPH models with maximum head of 8 to 11½ feet.

For higher-volume waterfalls: If you’ve got a mini-Niagara Falls in the works, you’ll need a beefier pump, like The Pond Guy® RapidFlo™ or the ShinMaywa® Norus® waterfall pumps. The RapidFlo™ comes in 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 GPH models with 20 to 32 feet of maximum head pressure. The Norus line includes 3,300 to 11,000 GPH models with maximum head of 19 to 48 feet.

Pond Talk: What advice would you give to someone choosing a waterfall pump?

Vreate Breathtaking Waterfalls & Streams - ShinMaywa® Norus® Waterfall Pumps

Waterfall Foam – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Waterfall Foam

Foam Sweet Foam

The key to constructing a quality water garden, or anything for that matter, is to use the proper tools. While you may be able to fashion a lot of your own components or incorporate random on hand materials into your pond build you can miss out on potential benefits that result from years of product testing and development as well as functional design. While this holds true for anything from skimmers, filter media, and waterfall boxes, it is also true of small scale materials like waterfall foam.

Waterfall foam is primarily used to aid in the placement and retention of stone in your water garden and to seal gaps between these stones to manipulate the flow of water down the waterfall and along the streambed. Simply put, the foam expands between your rocks keeping the water from flowing behind them. As the foam dries it also holds the rocks firmly into place so you don’t have to worry about stones washing downstream with the flow of water, rock collapse from seasonal shifting or the displacement of loose perimeter rocks.

12oz cans are available for one time use and include an application tip. You simply place the tip between gaps and crevices and pull the trigger to release product to the desired area. You can also use it as an adhesive to hold stones in place. Any excess foam that protrudes from between the rocks can easily be trimmed away. Another great aspect of using waterfall foam is that if you mess up, or decide to change the location of some of your rocks, you can still cut away the foam and re-arrange them. The foam is black in color to blend in with the surroundings and is plant and fish safe. For contractors, or those of you who change your minds a lot, you can purchase a Foam Gun and use 24oz cans which can be used in more than one application. If you decide to use a foam gun you will want to maintain it by cleaning it with Foam Gun Cleaner between uses.

POND TALK: Have you used Black Waterfall Foam in your water garden? Have you used it to create any unique rock formations or incorporated other natural materials into your stream?

Hold rocks in place with ease!

How Do I Properly Size a Pump to Create the Waterfall I’m Looking For? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of a Waterfall

Q: How do I properly size a pump to create the waterfall I’m looking for? – Several Customers

A: We get this question asked to us quite a bit. The following process will help you in determing the correct pump size for a waterfall:

Step 1: Determine the Head Pressure (Head)

Head equals the total number of feet from theCalculating Pump Size Chart top of the waterfall to the water’s surface. For example: Let’s say that height is equal to 5′.

Step 2: Determining Desired Water Flow
In general, you will need 1,500 gallons per hour (gph) for every 1-foot of waterfall discharge for an average flow. The discharge is considered where the water enters back into the pond. For example: Let’s say the width of our waterfall is 2′. This would mean we need a pump of approximately 3,000 gph.

Step 3: Putting It All Together
In our example, our head pressure is 5′ and the approximate gph of our desired pump is 3,000 gph. This means would need a pump that would pump 3,000 gph at 5′ of head.

Other Notes:

  • For a heavy waterfall flow, use 2,000 gph per foot of waterfall discharge.
  • For a lighter waterfall flow, use 1,000 gph per foot of waterfall discharge.
  • If the tubing from the pump to the waterfall is greater than 10′ then it is recommended to add 1 foot of head for every 10′ of tubing.
  • We also have a calculator on our website to help calculate this formula for you. Click here to view the calculator.
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