Forum home Garden design

building my waterfall

Hello All,
I am very new to this, summer lockdown ensured that I got a chance to take action on the garden plans that have waited 20 y plus. We have designed and put in hard landscaping ourselves, it has been a joy to learn how to dig holes, pour concrete and put up fence posts etc.  I still have so many questions.
question 1 
Starting with the pondless waterfall. As you hopefully will be able to see from the picture, we have used large stones to make the path boundary and moved soil(clay ph 5) and a mix of worm compost and chipped bark into a semblance of an outline. I am wondering before I start putting the underlay and liner on, do I need to tamper the soil with a heavy implement or boots?, I''m thinking when I place stones in water feature they will shift a little. As there are plans to plant trees etc ,I'm conscious of not compacting soil too much. it is fairly loose at the moment. I am worried about putting everything in place, using foam etc then getting soil movement.
any suggestions and advice most welcome. 
question 2 : Also we have the hole dug out, it is constantly filling with rain water so I'm keen to crack on with the job over the winter , and get the paths finished so planting can begin in spring. In terms of the path, the topsoil has been removed, we on hard compacted bit, am I correct in thinking next step is;quarry dust then use a whacker , then gravel, more whacking? in the attached pics, the waterfall is going on left hand side on big mound of soil and snaking its way down to ground level, hole is dug out for reservoir and other pics show where path is going. the wee circle is for a holly tree or other feature tree. along the blue fence i'm thinking either some conifer and bamboo or a selection of ferns. 


  • Ferdinand2000Ferdinand2000 Posts: 537
    edited November 2020
    At the moment it'll be an ice sculpture.

    Brrrr !  :#

    Looks very good, though :-) .

    I think there are different ways. For a gravel path I would always have a weed membrane somewhere in the buildup. My approach to whacking would depend on the type of gravel and whether it is sharp gravel which would bind together, or rounded which would not.

    For the latter I would allow for the earth moving slightly just adding a bit more or raking it flat.

    I think I would do the same thing for a water feature which is a pile / arrangement of stones - it perhaps does not matter if it moves a bit. I would be most concerned about anything sharp below the liner which could potentially damage the liner.

    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,242
    I must be missing something. Where's the waterfall? Do you mean a fountain?
    Gravel paths only need membrane and then a good layer of gravel on top. They don't need any other prep. 
    Ground gets compacted when you do any kind of work like that. You just have to loosen and prep it properly when you start to plant. Lots of organic matter. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you , I haven't started to build waterfall yet, it is going to be a pondless type.

    Silly question but I dont need to do anything else for path, just membrane and gravel. Its just where I'm planting that I need to work to loosen up first?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,242
    I re read the post and I see you're putting the waterfall on the left. I'm struggling to understand that though, because you've put all that soil there.   :)
    Yes - the paths are simple. Just membrane and 2 or 3 inches of gravel.
    I wouldn't do any planting until all construction  is done, except in areas where you aren't doing any construction at all. It's always a mistake, as the ground will just be annihilated, and means plants get disturbed. Especially at this time of year and through winter. Wait until you're actually ready for plants to go in, and then address the soil conditions :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • The mound of soil has some blocks under it towards right hand side , to give me the height for the waterfall. I was planning on planting in spring. 
    I would appreciate advice on choosing ferns, conifers (small ),bamboo and acers.  The ferns and bamboo worry me a bit as I def do not want anything that will become invasive .
    I am being especially mindfull not to walk too much on the clay soil areas as I do not want to compact it.
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,294
    I’d love to see the finished product because, for the life of me, I cannot envisage the waterfall.
    Rutland, England
Sign In or Register to comment.