Sawyer Waterscaping

Water Feature Lifestyle

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Pond-less Waterfall!


Pond-less waterfalls are simply a re-circulating waterfall/stream without the presence of a pond.  You get a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of running water without the maintenance of a pond.  Pond-less water features are becoming a more common choice among water feature enthusiasts because they are safer, they cost less, they fit into smaller space and they are easy to maintain.  An ideal option for families with small children, you can add the sights and sounds of a natural waterfall without the safety concerns. Waterfalls also take up less space and can be tucked into any corner of a landscape and are an ideal option for adding curb appeal near the front door.

pond-less diagramBefore we get into the top 5 reasons why everyone needs a Pond-less Waterfall, let’s explain how it works. It might be difficult to imagine a waterfall and stream without a pond. Where does the water go? A pond-less waterfall works much like a regular pond. The reservoir is dug and then lined with underlayment and EPDM liner. A vault (holds the pump) is placed at the bottom near an edge. It is surrounded by perforated piping and then covered in cobblestone, river rock and filled with water. The water is then circulated from beneath the rocks and gravel by a submersible pump that sits on the bottom of the vault.  The pipe runs from the vault to the top of the waterfall where it flows into a spillway. The spillway collects and distributes the water into an overflowing waterfall. The waterfall flows back down to the reservoir. Since the water level never pools above the level of rocks, it looks as if the water has disappeared.

1. Much Safer than a Pond

Safety concerns are limited because there is no pool of water.  This is what makes pond-less waterfalls such an appealing option for families with little ones.  As a father of three, having the kids play in our pond-less waterfall is a lot less worrisome compared to them playing near our pond. A pond-less waterfall is a great option if you are concerned about safety issues associated with a traditional pond.  Putting a pond in your front yard can also be a bit worrisome when it comes to neighborhood kids and so forth.  A pond-less removes that worry.

2. Fit into Small Spaces

Pond-less waterfalls can make that small weed patch in the corner of your yard come to life or they can flow and twist around your entire backyard. Space is not an object when it comes to imagining a pond-less water feature in your backyard.  Unlike the traditional pond, typically much more space is needed. Pond-less waterfalls can fit into very small spaces.

3. Cost less than a Pond

Cost can be a big factor when considering the type of water feature you want. In most cases, the price of a pond-less waterfall will be less than a pond because there is less labor involved, as well as less rock and materials. Operating costs are less too, because you are not dealing with a balanced ecosystem. You do not need to use as many pond products or run the pond 24 hours/7 days a week.

4. Low-Maintenance

Do you know the best part of a pond-less waterfall? Yep, you guessed it… the maintenance is super easy. Since there is no aquatic life, it’s okay to be more aggressive in treating it with the proper algaecides when necessary. Since the water in the reservoir is hidden from the sun, there is also less evaporation. Pond-less waterfalls are typically installed with an automatic fill. Since the reservoir is hidden from view, it is hard to know when to add water.  An auto-fill acts much like a toilet float; when the water level is low, it adds the necessary water. The water source can come from your spigot or your existing irrigation system. Once an auto-fill is installed, you can simply sit back and enjoy.

5. Serenity and Relaxation

There is just something special about the sounds of a babbling brook.  Moving water is just so tranquil and relaxing.

“Running water is one of the universal parables, appealing to something primitive and ineradicable in human nature.  Day and night it preaches – sermons without words.”

-Torrey Bradford, The Clerk of the Woods

The pond-less waterfall has made many water enthusiasts who were previously unable to enjoy the sights and sounds of a flowing waterfall, very happy. It’s a great alternative for those who are trying to get their feet wet, or looking to fit a little bit of paradise into their own backyard. When all else fails…go pond-less!

Barnes Residence (FountainFalls)

This 2014 project consists of a FountainFalls Water Feature and a small area of xeriscaping.  Sod was first removed because of poor drainage. We then edged the area and excavated for the small pond-less water feature.  FountainFalls are small water features that we came up with around 2005. They are great in flat, small areas. […]

Cheyenne Pet Clinic

The Cheyenne Pet Clinic Project was completed in 2014.  We removed sod and rock to completely replace it with xeriscaping and a custom fire hydrant waterfall.  

Creel Residence (Pond-less)

We had a blank canvas with the Creel’s backyard.  They wanted their patio larger while enjoying the peaceful sounds of a small water feature.  In addition, we essentially landscaped their entire backyard..with the excellent work of Danny and his crew from Green Lawn Care, who completed the irrigation lines and the sod. The biggest challenge […]

Crock Residence (Pond-less)

Constructed in 2014, the Crock’s Pond-less Waterfall consists of a 12′ stream and waterfall.  The original design had the waterfall lower in the yard.  So when it was moved up on the higher side, we left the large flagstone steppers essentially in the same location.  By moving the waterfall up, it made it much more […]

Joannides Residence (Pond-less)

The Joannides Pond-less Waterfall was built in the Spring of 2014.  It consists of over a 50′ stream that twists and turns through large moss boulders as it drops more the 15 vertical feet.  The use of over 30 tons of boulders and buff flagstone treads, allows this natural water feature to blend right into the […]

Kincheloe Pond-less & Flagstone Patio


Mossey Residence (Pond-less)

Constructed in the Spring of 2016, this backyard hangout has a little bit of everything! Here is the quick list: Water Feature 45’ long stream (2) 26” wide waterfall spillways 15’ x 65’ of liner & underlayment 2300 Pond Vault (2) PAF 75’s – 6,000 GPH (1 year warranty) 50’ roll of 3” flexible PVC […]

Terfehr Pondless (2014)

The Terfehr Pondless waterfall was installed in August 2014. 25’ long stream 26” wide waterfall spillway 15’ x 50’ of liner Mini Pond Vault PAF 75 – 5950 GPH (2 year warranty) TCA20 Check Valve Assembly FP20 – 40’ roll of 2” flexible PVC pipe 18 ton of Moss Boulders 5 ton of Cobble 5 ton […]

Volk – Basalt Column Fountains

Basalt is a volcanic rock and one of the most common types of rock in the world. Although it is common, it is rare to find the long solid columns of basalt that we use in our products. The skin or crust on the outside of the columns will have a patina that ranges from […]

What is the Big Deal about a Pond Anyway?


People love water gardens because they are so soothing, tranquil, and a haven of rest.  In a day and age where you are constantly bothered with computers, cell phones, and electronic devices, it’s very soothing to have a place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

“I enjoy its beauty and tranquility.  It brings a peaceful experience to backyard living.  Our grandchildren love to play in it.  We love the waterfalls and watching the fish play. “

–Kit Long, Cheyenne, WY

Yes, water gardening is a very hot trend right now. It’s so hot that a poll taken by USA Today (July 11, 2013) reported that water features were the number one thing that homeowners wanted to add to their property within the next year.  And, as you can guess, its popularity has only been increasing.

“We enjoy the soothing sound of the water flowing over the rocks.  It’s like a symphony of nature with parts of the waterfall rushing along.”

 –Vicki Million Hughes, Cheyenne, WY

How hard is it to clean and maintain?

Water gardens are clean and very low maintenance.  You can maintain one in as little as 15 minutes once a month.  You don’t even have to feed the fish.  Mother Nature takes care of everything.

“Besides pulling some string algae out in early summer and emptying the skimmer net, there isn’t much to do to maintain these natural balanced ecosystems.”

Greg Robinson, Fort Collins, CO

It all revolves around the filtration system. It starts with the biological filter & Mechanical filter.  The nice thing about this system is that these are completely hidden from view.  The diagram below will give you an idea of how this systems works.


Seasonal maintenance includes Winterizating and Spring Cleanouts.  All ponds in our region need winter preparation.  Debris cleanup from the fall may be inevitable, and should be done after the trees have ceased dropping their leaves in the late fall.  Aquatic plants can be trimmed, and pumps should be removed and placed in a bucket of water.  We use an aerator to provide oxygen for aquatic life. The aerator will also leave an opening in the ice to allow for ammonia and nitrogen to escape, preventing the death of fish. Proper winterizing makes for a much easier and smoother spring cleanout.

We suggest the cleaning out of a pond every spring.  Replenishing the water in a pond is much the same as the normal flushing action that lakes fed by streams and rivers experience during heavy spring run-off.  Spring algae blooms occur because of excess amounts of nutrients and lack of beneficial bacteria.  By performing a cleanout, you’ll replace the nutrient-rich water with clean water that is ready for bacteria to colonize.

The good news is that we offer a winterizing and spring cleanout service, so those who don’t have time or don’t feel like getting wet and messy have the opportunity to let us take care of it.

We’re in a Drought, Can I still have a Pond?

Ponds recirculate water and when compared to the amount used for watering grass, there is no comparison. Take a look at this example below:

First, we must make some assumptions related to pond size, irrigation efficiency, evaporation rates, etc. For the purpose of this example we are using an average 11 ft x 16 ft pond with a 10 ft long stream, an evaporation rate of 1/4” per day, and 50 percent irrigation efficiency (it will take 1” of watering to cover the lawn with 1/2”). When a pond is installed much more turf is removed than just the 11 x 16 pond area. Most homeowners will include a large berm as well as multiple new planting areas which can be drip irrigated much more efficiently than turf. We are assuming the total sod removed will be 3 times the pond area and the pond surface will take up 75% of the 11 x 16 footprint.


As with any example, your results may vary. This example clearly shows that replacing part of your lawn with a pond will increase water conservation. One homeowner reported a 78% decrease in overall water usage after adding a new pond this past summer.

What do Ponds provide for the Environment?

Backyard water features are not only enjoyable for us, but also necessary for the well being and functioning of our environment.  One pond in one backyard may not seem very important, but when you have a thousand similar backyard ecosystems functioning simultaneously, there’s truly a positive impact being made on the environment.  Large amounts of habitat are restored for frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, all of whose numbers have been declining sharply for many years now.  Birds have also been driven from many of their natural wetland habitats, which they need so desperately to survive.  So at a grassroots level, as the pond industry grows, there are additional habitats and diversity being added to our stressed suburban environments.

An ecosystem encompasses all the parts of the environment, including the living (biotic) plants and animals, and the non-living (a-biotic) components, such as water, air, and the sun’s energy.  Ponds are ecosystems, in that they play host to a total interrelationship of all organisms in the environment. Thus, ponds not only create a natural ecosystem in their defined environment, but they also fit into the community or life cycle of not just one homeowner’s back yard, but of the entire ecological region.

An ecological region is made up of thousands of elements, water being the most basic of these.  Each pond is a piece of this puzzle.  As wild habitats are depleted due to commercial development and other factors, these pieces are eliminated.  This is why it is so important to restore and preserve as many of these as possible.  A backyard pond restores one of these pieces back to an ecosystem.  So don’t just see a pond as an independent, unrelated element.  See it instead, as part of the “big picture,” the regional environment.

What happens to the fish in the winter?

As long as the fish are provided with oxygen they will be fine.  They basically hibernate like a bear and stay dormant all winter long.  The three things you must do are:

  1. Provide oxygen (aerator.)
  2. Keep an opening in the ice, which the aerator does (allows harmful gases to escape.)
  3. Do not feed them when the temperature of the water drops below 50 degree.


Check out some of our pond projects below:

Long Pond Rebuild (2015 – Cheyenne, WY)


The Benefits of a Water Feature

Why do most people consider a water feature?   Well, for most people, tadalafil water provides soothing sights and sounds that help to relax and de-stress in today’s busy world.  People are fixated on living as close to water as possible.  Based on nation-wide averages, homes near bodies of water typically cost around 30% more than those homes that don’t.  For those who are not able to live near natural bodies of water, they are bringing home their own piece of nature with a pondless waterfall or a backyard pond ecosystem.  Along with the natural serenity and peacefulness, here is a list of other benefits provided from a water feature:

Home Improvement

When people are looking to sell their home, a professional built water feature can make their property stand out from the rest.  Pond-less waterfalls can provide attractive curb appeal, while backyard ponds increase a homes value much like a deck, patio, or gazebo.  The sound of a water feature will drown out noise from traffic or neighbors.  In addition, water features provide an interesting backdrop for entertaining while adding aesthetic appeal to your landscape.

Health and Wellness

Water features help provide the mental rest that most need after a long day.  According to the report, The Sustainable Sites Initiative-2009,  “… hospital patients who have a view of natural landscapes recover faster from surgery and require less pain medication.  In addition, heart rate, blood pressure, and other measures return to normal levels more quickly when people view natural rather than urban landscapes after a stressful experience.” The bottom line is, water combined in a natural landscape, has a calming and relaxing affect on us!

Family Time

Backyard water features create a gathering spot for family and friends.  The soothing sounds of water features act like a magnet pulling the family together.  If you are at all worried about your young children and a pond, consider a pond-less.  These water features provide the aesthetic, soothing sounds, with little to no maintenance, and shallow depths of water for a worry free environment.  Take it from me, a father of three, they will love it!

Environmental Conservation

Environmental sustainability has taken center stage in today’s world, and water plays an important role as the world’s greatest resource.  Although a water feature may take many gallons of water to fill initially, over the long haul it requires less water than the same area of lawn it replaced.  According to the EPA, most people can save at least a few hundred dollars a year by properly reworking their yard by altering the microclimate around a home with proper landscaping … Water tempers heat.  Even a small water feature can help.”  Water features attract all kinds of wildlife, from birds to butterflies, to frogs and salamanders.  Aquatic plants give water feature owners the chance to broaden your gardening horizons with choices that go beyond the standard day lily or daisy.  In addition, bird lovers will delight in the new variety of feathered friends that flock to a water feature.

In general, water features offer a magnitude of serenity and peacefulness missing in today’s busy lifestyles.  If constructed properly, a water feature not only will increase your property value, but it will offer an enticing and relaxing outdoor atmosphere for your entire family to enjoy.