Decorative Features 101

Chapter 1

Basic Components

The main components of Decorative Water Features are the Pump, Plumbing, Adjustment Valves, Automatic Fill Valves, the Basin and, of course, the decorative item itself. Colored waterfall weirs and metal waterfall weirs are very popular also.

a. Pumps – Each feature will be different, requiring a certain amount of water, through a specific tubing size, lifted to a specific height. Really small features might use a 100gph Magnetic Drive Pump, while larger, multi-feature installations might use up to a 6000gph Asynchronous Pump. See the Comprehensive Pump Chart for exact specifications. 

b. Plumbing – There’s a variety of tubing available, from Smooth Vinyl to Kink-free to Schedule 40 Flexible PVC. The size of the tubing will vary, but these features often take ¾” Kink-free. If you have a larger decorative item you will have to size the tubing based on the hole size in your item or the valve size you are using.

c. Adjustment Valve(s) – Valves regulate the flow to each of the decorative items you may only be use a single ball valve or multiple valves, like this 3-way Diverter.

d. Automatic Fill Valve – This very important item should not be overlooked. Most basins aren’t very large, splash and evaporation losses can drop water levels quickly and pumps need that water to keep from overheating. Autofills are a great way to maintain the water level above the pump and keep things running smoothly.

e. Basin – Basins vary in size and shape and will have a wide range of weight capacities. It is important to know the weight and height of the decorative item to pick the correct basin. Basins will also vary in quality, so make sure you look at plastic thickness and overall structure to determine how stable your decorative item will be on the basin.

f. Decorative Item – This may range from a standard piece of pottery or stone to a unique item like an old fire hydrant.

g. Colored Waterfall Weir/Metal Weir – Both have become very popular in the hardscape industry, creating waterfalls coming from a block wall. They vary in sizes and offer many color options, from standard single color units to 48 color changing options.

Pond-free Feature

Fountain Feature

Formal Spillway Feature