How to build a “Pond-Less” Water Fall

by Kerri Bailey, The Pond Pad

1. Select your site, somewhere you can enjoy it.  Avoid installing a pond on the low side of the yard or where water collects (water can get under the liner and cause problems). Be mindful of the surrounding landscape-leaves from trees and shrubs that may collect in your pond in the fall or evergreens that may shed year round.

2. Mark out your basin with a garden hose or landscape paint.  Dig your hole 2-3 feet deep.  Build a berm using the excavated soil and add more if needed. Compact your berm area well, it will sink over time.


3. Add an underlayment or some other protection down prior to adding your basin liner piece.  To figure out your liner:  Length=Length  (Depth x 2) + 2  Width=Width (Depth x 2)+2  Place your pump vault / canyon in the lowest end of your basin.  Insert your pump inside the vault and connect your plumbing and hose.  The hose then goes to the top of the berm to be connected to the weir or biological filter.


4. Fill the basin with larger cobble stones graduating to smaller gravel near the top.  Hide your pipe along the outer edge, burying it with soil, then cover with liner.  Stair step your berm with a curve to it for multiple views and for a more natural look.

5. Install the waterfall / stream liner piece and over lap it with the basin.  You should have at least a 6 inch rise to avoid the water wicking under the liner creating a leak. Install the weir or biological filter inside the top of the berm. Attach the liner to the weir, use silicone to seal the faceplate. Place larger rocks or boulders along the curves of the waterfall.

6. Place the rest of your rocks along the sides and edges of your waterfall and basin area. Start to fill your basin with water. Finish building your waterfall and use waterfall foam sealing around the rocks.  This allows the water to go over the rocks for more sound and better water flow.  

7. Adding decorative rocks along the edges and on top of the gravel in the basin- large stones add character and break up the look of the of small rock. When the basin is full, plug in your pump and continue to fill with water until it is entirely full.

8. Add soil to your berm and install plants along the edges. Use plants with staggered bloom times for year round enjoyment.



Let us help you install your own waterfall visit The Pond Pad at Alpine Nursery in Puyallup, WA.  Don’t want to install it your self?  Alpine Nursery & Landscape can do it for you.  Find us at





Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a traditional Chinese herb used as a powerful immune enhancer and energy booster. Astragalus is a member of the pea family native to China, Asia and parts of the U.S. The root is used as a Qi replenisher (Qi is our life force or vital energy), to prevent illness and aids in the recovery of infections.

The Chinese consider Astragalus as a “warming” tonic herb that works without adding heat to the body, it actually can cool a fever. Astragalus is a valued digestive tonic (good for the spleen),diuretic, adaptogen (helps us handle stress) and can heighten our immune system. Great for colds and flu as it also works as an antiviral by boosting our bodies own natural defenses. Many studies have been done with this herb’s ability to protect the liver by reducing the side effects of many drugs, chemotherapy and radiation. Astragalus extracts have been shown to restore immuno-compromised cells from cancer patients and can even extend the lifespan of human cells in vitro.

Astragalus is sold as teas, capsules and tinctures. In Asia, it is usually made into a soup or broth along with other vegetables and herbs. It is fairly non-toxic, safe and very mild, tasty too! Drink this root as a decoction tea and combine with other herbs such as Licorice, Ginger, Ho shou wu (Fo-Ti) and Don Shen (Codonopsis).

If you are looking for energizing, restorative tea blends you can find them at Ubiquitous Journey in Puyallup, WA or online at

See my other blogs on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or take one of my free herbal classes.  Call Ubiquitous Journey at 253-445-6128 or email for more details and to sign up.

The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)


  Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM has been an herbal tradition dating back to 200BC. It is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang, the five elements, and how nature (our environment) effects our health. The Chinese believe that everything has Yin and Yang aspects, which are opposites like day or night. They look for patterns of disharmony when assessing one’s health with ill health being a result of a deficiency or excess between Yin or Yang.  Here are some aspects of Yin vs. Yang.

Yin           Feminine, Substance, Material, Conservative, Quiescent, Conserves inner  Vitality, The Earth & Moon, Night,  Water and  Viscera (internal organs)

Yang       Masculine,  Function, Activity,  Aggressive,  Active, Protects Body Strength, The Sky & Sun, Day, Fire and Somatic(structure-muscles, bones)

  The five elements corresponds to the five natural elements and how they relate to the fundamentals of the seasons, emotions, tastes and parts of the body. This five phase or element theory- wood, fire, earth, metal & water- has a central role in TCM representing the continual process of life. The five elements are interrelated in two ways- trophism and suppression. Trophism relates to production and stimulation- Wood produces Fire, Fire produces Earth, Earth produces Metal, Metal produces Water.   Suppression is inhibition- Metal suppresses Wood, Wood suppresses Earth, Earth suppresses Water, Water suppresses Fire and Fire suppresses Metal. Each is suppressed by another and each can suppress another. Their interactions are related and the ideal body health being that all are in proper balance within and among each other.

Element        Wood           Fire              Earth             Metal               Water

Location        East           South           Center            West             North

Season         Spring       Summer       Midsummer      Fall            Winter

Climate         Windy          Hot               Wet, Damp       Dry             Cold

Taste              Acid           Bitter              Sweet          Pungent       Salty

Emotion       Anger          Joy             Reflection        Grief            Fear

Chinese herbs have made their way into our cupboards used for cooking and spices as well as many types of herbal and green tea blends. When choosing a Chinese herb, use it’s actions to your advantage to help balance the five elements and the Yin/Yang within your body.

The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.





Pond and Waterfall Calculations

Figuring out what you need to build your pond is an important factor to determine it’s cost and efficiency.  The following guidelines should help you. Ask for help at

                          How to Estimate Gallon Capacity

Circular Pond: R2 x 3.14 x Depth x 7.48 = Approx. Gal. R2= Radius x Radius (Radius is ½ of the total length)

Irregular /Rectangular Pond: Length x Width x Ave. Depth x 7.48= Approx.Gal.

Irregular Pond w/shelves: Length x Width x Depth x 7.48 x .66= Approx. Gal.

Streams: Length x Width x .25 (Depth) x 7.48= Approx.Gal.

How to Calculate Pond Liner Size.

Length= Length + (Depth x 2) + 2      Width= Width + (Depth x 2) + 2

Example: 8 x 10, 2′ deep L= 10′ + (2×2) + 2= 16′ W= 8′ + (2×2) + 2= 15′ 

                                    Electrical Conversions / Consumption

WATTS= Volts x Amps AMPS= Watts / Volts 1HP= 745.7 Watts

Approximate Electrical Cost to run a pump, etc.

Amps x Volts x 1000 x .10(KW per hour) x 24hrs x 30.4 days=$ / month

                           Aquatic Plant Calculations

Water Lilies: 1 per every 45-60 Sq F

Marginal Plants: 1 plant per every 3′-4′ shelf margin

Bog Plants: 1 plant for every 2′ of bog


                            Rock Calculations- For Gravel & Boulders

Boulders for Pond Basin:

Length x Width / 65 Tons of Boulders Use a 1:2:1 ratio

For every 1 Ton of 6”-12” rock; get 2 Tons of 12”-18” and 1 Ton of 18”-24” rock

½ Ton of 6”-12” of rock will cover 20 linear feet

1 Ton of 12”-18” of rock will cover 10 linear feet

1 Ton of 18”-24” rock will cover 5 linear feet

Boulders for Stream– For every 10′ of Stream, Use 3/4 Tons of rock using ratio above.

Boulders for Waterfall– Use 1 Ton of rock per each 3′-4′. Choose some larger stones for support, and some rocks with flat or interesting faces for the waterfall.

Gravel for Pond Basin– Use 40% total tons used for pond boulders calculations

Gravel for Streams– Use ½ Ton for every 10′ of stream

Pondless/ Disapearring Waterfall– Length x Width x Depth = Cubic feet

Use 90lbs of rock per each cubic foot; Use Ratio of: 40% 4”-6” Rock

(for the bottom of the basin) and 60% of 1 1/2” – 2” rock (for middle and top layer). Add decorative gravel / rock as a top dress.

These are guidelines to help you, always over estimate whenever possible. Any left over rock can be blended into your surrounding landscape.