How to Enhance a Garden Pool

There are various ways to enhance the looks of a pool apart from the shaping of the border.

Garden Pool with Waterfall

Placing a Wooden Bridge
You can buy wooden bridges in various sizes and models all ready to set up. But in most cases you must prepare the site where the bridge is to stand yourself. To prevent its swaying, rocking, let alone tilting, you have to provide firm footings for it. Here is how to go about it: Dig a hole slightly wider than the width of the bridge. Make it about 16 inches (40 cm) across, and about 20 inches (50 cm) deep. Pour a layer of sand into the bottom and then fill the hole with rocks, leaving just enough room for a square beam that is as long as the bridge is wide. Now pull the liner over the beam and rocks in such a way that the flap points upward. Then place a second beam of equal length on top of the first one and screw them together with lag bolts. To make sure the bridge won’t slide sideways, mount angle irons to hold it in place.
Finally, put the bridge in place.

Placing a Stone Bridge
Very solid footings at both ends are crucial for a stone bridge. U-shaped concrete blocks work well for this purpose. The number of blocks needed will depend on the width of the bridge, because support is required across the entire width of the bridge. On each bank dig a hole big enough to accommodate the necessary number of U-shaped blocks set edge on edge. Place the blocks with the opening of the U pointing away from the water. Raise or lower them to the desired point and align them properly with a level. Now fill in the U-shaped hole with sand or gravel and stretch the liner over the blocks. Again, the liner flaps have to stick up. Cover the liner on top of the U-blocks with a protective pad and place the “corner stone” of the bridge on top of it. Now you are ready to put the bridge in place.

Setting Up Stepping Stones
Stepping stones in a pool are very practical. They allow you to take care of maintenance chores or have a close look at the animal life in the water without getting your feet wet. You can use a variety of materials to build the piers for the steps: U-shaped concrete blocks, flagstones glued together with silicone adhesive, or perforated bricks. For the actual stepping stones you can use natural or artificial flagstones or roughly hewn rocks. To make sure they will remain solidly in place, attach them to their support with silicone glue. With the help of concrete blocks or flat rocks you can locate the stepping stones in water of various depths up to about 28 inches (70 cm). Steps in higher water are unstable and thus not safe to walk on.

Important: To protect the pool liner against abrasion, be sure to put several pieces of leftover liner and a protective pad underneath the pier supporting the stepping stones.

Constructing a Large Waterfall
A large waterfall either at the head of a stream or where the stream empties into the pool adds a very special attraction to a garden. But it involves a lot of work because solid reinforcement is needed for the slope. If the water is to tumble over a stretch of 10 feet (3 m) or so, the upper end has to be 28 to 32 inches (70-80 cm) higher than the lower end.

Mark the width, length, and path of the waterfall. The fall doesn’t have to descend in a straight line; in fact, a waterfall that forms an S curve or a semicircle looks better. Start working at the highest point. Dig posts of different lengths about halfway into the earth on both sides of the planned falls at fairly large intervals, with the tops of the posts forming a descending line corresponding to the waterfall’s gradient. At the head of the falls line up the posts next to each other to form a semicircle, or build a loose-rock or a mortared wall. Connect the other, widely spaced posts with horizontal boards.

Once you have thus created the basic shape of the waterfall, regulate the gradient of the bed by arranging earth, gravel, and wooden beams in steps. Start with .a long step at the top, and then let the steps become shorter and shallower and, if possible, wider as well as you approach the inlet. Now position the liner in the stream bed, nailing it to the sides and gluing it to the liner of the pool or stream that the fall empties into (use liner adhesive). Place pebbles and stones on top of the liner to slow the flow of the water.

The water that circulates over the waterfall comes either from the pool or from the collection pit of the stream. A garden hose, attached to a pump, takes the water from the pool or pit to the “spring” at the top.