Pondless Waterfall vs. Waterfall with Pond | What’s the Best Choice?

by Eric Blum

in Water Features

water flowing into a pondless waterfall made with natural boulders and large pebbles

Whenever serious contemplation of a sizable, custom built waterfall feature comes to the forefront, the most common initial question, aside from the all important “Natural Boulder” vs. “Faux Rock” construction medium decision (see our prior posted article on this subject), is whether to build it around a “pondless waterfall”  water catch basin landing area or the more traditional “open pond” waterfall with pond variety.

As the name implies, a [amazon_link id=”B002YOUKGO” target=”_blank” ]pond-less waterfall feature[/amazon_link] is one that employs an underground water collection vault that serves as a reservoir to re-circulate the fallen water.

There are many factors that go into that decision, such as whether you intend to incorporate (in the open pond version) the presence of fish into your design, taking into careful consideration the high maintenance, a capable, costly biological filtration system and dependence on all year ’round survivable temperatures.  Doing so, would greatly diminish the overall, unlimited operating benefit of creating a cascading and plunging waterfall effect as the “agitated” pond surface water in the exposed pond would render the fish presence unviewable when the waterfall is operating.  The cost of such an endeavor would also be greater than the alternative pondless waterfall version.  On the plus side, the added, agitated water splashing down the waterfall might add desirable, additional aeration for the aquatic fish culture.

It’s worthy to note that so magnetic is the draw and appeal of a voluminous, melodic, shiny body of water sliding down the nooks, crannies and crevices of our “mysterious” like natural rock-face boulders, that our customers have virtually totally eschewed the “pond” designs in favor of the more practical, space saving, kid-safe and economically friendly “pond-less” renditions.

little girl standing in a kid-safe, small pondless waterfall made from natural stoneThere are also many other pertinent factors that merit consideration when selecting the type of water collection area at the base of your intended waterfall feature. Pond-less designs require minimal maintenance, as in most cases, a routine annual cleaning is all that is necessary.

They also allow for the use of a silent [amazon_link id=”B000LGA666″ target=”_blank” ]submersible pump[/amazon_link] (or pumps in some larger applications) which is a distinct benefit to the surface mounted, constantly humming open pond type pumps.

In addition, a hidden, submerged pump utilized in a pond-less creation is also more efficient and capable of attaining a better “head pressure” performance than would be an open air, [amazon_link id=”B00268B774″ target=”_blank” ]surface mounted pump[/amazon_link].

By head pressure, I am alluding to the ratio of the overall height of the waterfall vs. the volume of recirculated water from the bottom of the hidden catch basin.  This implies that a larger scale waterfall design would be more deserving of a pond-less design for better overall water flow performance.

As you probably can tell by now, I am a big fan of the more practical and space efficient pondless water features (for either waterfall or flowing stream designs).  Remember, if space is lacking, or you have maintenance and safety concerns (such as children and/or pets), go pond-less!  It’s “your call” to decide.

Okay you know how I feel, but what about you? I’d like to know which type of waterfall YOU prefer. Drop me a comment below and let me know!

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