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Natural Waterfalls
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Natural Waterfall Design

Natural waterfall design requires more deliberate planning than the average person assumes. Many individuals are surprised to learn that creating a pile of rocks is the very worst way to build a waterfall that is true to natural form. The reason for this is that nature is not as haphazard as we might assume. It follows its own laws, but there are laws it follows.

In a natural setting, what may appear to be nothing more than a bunch of identical rocks heaped on top of each other by a landslide is actually a conglomerate of many different types and sizes of stones. While each stone is unique, all stones share basic mineral properties and form clearly recognizable geometric patterns. These patterns are not “perfect” but they are clearly there when we put human assumptions aside and simply take in the symmetry of the scene.

That being said, natural waterfall design must utilize the same building blocks of nature, so to speak, to get the same results. First, we have to create a geometric progression of rocks that is recognizable, but not rigid. We also have to vary coloration. Even if we are using all black or gray stones, there has to be varying shades to these colors in order to make the scene look realistic. Nature reproduces, but it never clones.

We also have to use different sizes of rocks in order to create a realistic natural waterfall design. Again, just shoveling them down a slope in an attempt to look “naturally haphazard” is not the proper approach for creating a realistic scene. While sudden earth movements do often displace large numbers of rocks at once, a much larger percentage of earth movements are agonizingly slow and are caused by many different natural forces.


What appears to be a random, haphazard pile of rocks in the wilderness could have actually taken several hundred thousands of years to form.

To duplicate this process in the manmade context of residential landscape design, we have to make the entire scene look pushed back into the landscape. In Houston this is not so easy, because our terrain is very flat in most places and does not afford natural grades that we can easily adapt to our plans.

This is why amateur attempts at natural waterfall design usually end up creating an eyesore. Gardeners and yard contractors try to use the rocks themselves to create a slope and end up creating a pile through which the water runs unevenly and unpredictably much of the time.

Our team carefully calculates the necessary dimensions of the water course first and creates the necessary grade before laying any rocks. We may use additional fill dirt or a retaining wall to create such a slope. Once we have built the course of the waterway, we then deliberately hand-lay stones of varying hues and sizes to create the best natural waterfall design that compliments the overall landscape design plan for the property.

Water is always pumped in from remote, silent pumps to avoid any machine sounds disturbing the innate tranquility of such a scene. Drainage systems are also carefully concealed under the rocks or at the end of the waterfall itself so the water can be collected and returned to the pump for further use.