Welcome to the Grotto

For my birthday, I got a pile of rocks

Happy birthday to me….

My goal was to build a waterfall for my garden pond. I’ve been messing with the pond since we bought the house. Last year, I had mapped out an area where I would want a waterfall and built a wooden frame to mimic what the waterfall would look like (upper right of the photo below.

The garden pond – 2020 version.

I like reusing materials that I have on hand to complete my projects, so with the exception of the rocks, I had some leftover pond liner and a bunch of old carpeting to build out the base of the waterfall. Originally, I was going to mold the liner around the waterfall frame; however I ran into problems of that approach being (a) too tedious and (b) too likely to lose water. I ended up taping to pieces of liner together to build a waterproof base. The carpet is placed underneath to provide some support and prevent rocks (that I use for a bit of ground topography shaping) from piercing the liner.

This will probably leak too.

The last step was to place rocks, and more rocks, and yet more rocks. Did you know that a palette of field stone is approximately 3500 pounds? I did not know that before I started this project. It is probably a good idea that I didn’t know this. With the larger pieces placed to make a waterfall, I configured my pond pump and built up some support for the back end of the waterfall.

Plumbing the waterfall.

Then, all that was left was to place more rocks and try not to throw out my back. (I successfully did both.) After a day of moving rocks, I was able to come up with something resembling a natural waterfall. The pluming, liner and base were mostly obscured by the rocks (no surprise, I had 3500 pounds to play with). After a night of running, the pond didn’t go dry so that suggests I avoided any major leaks.

After a day of moving rocks.

There are a couple nooks and crannies for critters to hide in. They were used almost immediately by the two toads that watched me throughout the day. (And I thank then for chirping throughout the night to let me know I hadn’t squished them during the build.) Welcome to the grotto:

2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Grotto

  1. Very nice.
    Are the toads visitors from the outside world, or the intended inhabitants of your pond?
    Any plans for chemical studies of your system?

    • The toads are natural visitors – and we’ve seen them (well, their ancestors) visit the garden pond for several years now. Sensors are coming!

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