Making a rock water feature is as simple as acquiring the necessary tools and setting aside time to assemble the parts.
There are many things to consider when making your own rock feature and determining how long it will take. By following the questions and ideas below, you could have your own rock feature up and running in a weekend! Follow the 5-step method below to get started.
1. Assembling The Items You’ll Need
- Rocks (of course!)
- Tape measure
- Water pump
- Water plants (if desired)
- Pond liner or basin (this will catch the water, depending on how big your pond is)
- Garden hose (to pump water back into the pond/basin)
2. Finding a Location
Now that you have determined how large you want your rock feature, where do you want to put it? Smaller rock features can go on your front porch, and larger ponds can go either in your front or back yard.
Rock features can attract neighbors and add value to your home if that is what you are looking for. If you happen to have a large and spacious backyard, maybe adding a koi pond with a small rock waterfall is what your home is looking for; or perhaps you are looking to add a small bubbling rock to your front yard near the tire swing tree.
Planning how you want your front yard to look can be important if there are certain guidelines according to your local HOA (Home Owners Association). You’ll need a tape measure to determine how far away from your home it should be, how deep you are looking to dig for your pond, and so forth.
3. Digging a Hole
Let’s dig! Now that you’ve finished planning how far away you want it to be from your home and how deep it needs to be to hold your water and pump it back through your rock feature, you can officially start digging. You might want to consider incorporating your dog’s help, too!
If you don’t plan on using a water pump to move the water through the pond and back into the rock feature, you may consider either picking a sloped part of your yard or making a hill for the water to run more smoothly over the rocks and into the pond/basin.
Forcing water to push itself up small tubing is difficult and won’t give your rock feature enough pressure to push the water out and look aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t need to be a large hill, but enough of a slope to allow the water to flow smoothly and not be forced through narrow tubing.
Once the hole is at the proper depth and width, fill the hole either with a tub or pond liner to keep the water from seeping into the ground. A basin can be used for a smaller rock feature that won’t be using as much water. A pond liner should be used if your rock feature is deeper and will be holding more water to pump through a larger rock feature.
4. Put in Tubing and the Water Pump
For your larger rock feature, it will require you put in tubing to flow water in and out of your pond through your rock feature to create either a bubbling feature or a waterfall.
The tubing will, of course, guide the water into and out of the water pump, but the water pump is the most essential part when it comes to making sure that your rock feature actually has water flowing through it. Determine the width and length of tubing needed to guide water up and into the rock feature.
Water pumps pump a certain amount of gallons through it depending on which one you choose. The larger the pond, the larger the water pump is required to pump water through or over your rocks.
It is important to know that water pumps are water resistance, but they are not designed to be entirely submerged by water. Consider digging a hole next to your pond that will house your water pump that you can cover either with liner or a patch of fake grass.
5. Add Rocks and Plants!
Adding the rocks is by far the best part of putting together your new rock feature. You can place your rocks wherever you want, and that is the most exciting part of putting together any design that fits your aesthetic and theme of your home. Rocks come in any color and size, which is perfect for flowing water over and creating a small stream that is pleasing to the eyes and ears.
Do you plan on adding rocks around the rim of your rock feature or just placing rocks on top of each other with pond foam in order to create the perfect waterfall? This part doesn’t entirely need planning, but you can have a relative idea of where you plan to place the rocks and how to hold them all together.
Once your rocks have been placed where you feel they fit best, consider adding some aquatic plants on top of the water or around the rim of your pond. Some common plants that help to keep the water from being murky and diminish algae growth are water lilies, water lettuce, or lotus. These plants are great and don’t need extra maintenance because they already reside in all of the food they need.
Some more fun ideas are adding any extra little creatures you want to your rock feature. If you have small children, you could add little fairy or frog huts to make it more magical and exciting for them. There are little figurines you can add around the edge that make it super fun and unique.
If you want to add koi to your rock feature, they are simple creatures that only need to be fed every few days, as long as the water isn’t incredibly murky. Rock features can be fun for all ages!
Is Making a Rock Feature Cheap?
There are dozens of different ways of making a rock feature, so it is dependent on the type of maintenance you want to put into your rock feature is whether it will be cheap or not. The smaller the feature and less electricity it needs the cheaper it will be. Since you will be planning on putting it together yourself, you won’t have to pay for labor, which will drastically decrease the overall price of your feature.
Water pumps can be the trickiest part because purchasing a water pump may be around $25 to $50, but to have it fixed and maintained may be over $100 if it doesn’t work properly or break down. If you are able to fix it yourself that will change the cost and prolong your need to get more help.
The other materials, such as rocks, can be cheap because those can be found in your backyard! Cost is all relative to the size and maintenance.
How Long Will It Take to Put Together?
You don’t have to be a contractor or a landscaper to put together a simple rock water feature on your own. It can take as long as a weekend to put together! However, just to reiterate, it will depend on the overall size of the rock feature that you want to put together.
If you’re not putting in a pond, then the required maintenance will be nothing and you won’t have to clean the water or rocks every weekend. Drilling holes into rocks and shoveling out dirt to make a hole for the basin or pond liner is much simpler than anticipated.
To get a relative idea, to put together a small basin rock feature with a miniature waterfall, it would take about a day. The basin would just need a small hole dug into the ground for the water to have a place to be pumped back around to the miniature waterfall, which is a rock with a hole drilled either onto the top or side.
It would take even less time if you acquired the help of a spouse or child. A few hours or a few days, it will instantly add more value and beauty to your yard.
Do You Need a Pond for Your Rocks?
First, you need to consider how large you want your rock feature to be. Rock features come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to determine how much work you want to put into your feature.
It could be as simple as putting together two pots and a water pump that flows water over the lip of one pot into the larger pot; this is something that can be put by your front door for a smaller aquatic attraction.
A pond requires weekly maintenance of making sure that it is continually cleaned out of leaves and branches, while also pulling the weeds from around the pond so as promote the rapid growth of algae in the pond. Rock features are easy to put together, it is just the upkeep afterwards that requires a little more maintenance and effort.