Adding a water feature to your DIY inground pool kit adds another dimension to your backyard pool. Natural or refined, water features can include waterfalls or cascades, deck jets, wall fountains or bubblers – nearly anything you can dream up!
Water features take planning and calculations to create the desired form, sound and volume of water. Many of our customers who built their own pool have added water features to their pool – and you can too!
Water Feature Benefits
- Beautifies the pool area, makes the pool pop!
- Creates a focal point for the pool and backyard
- Soothing sounds of running water, as soft as you desire
- Aerates the water, adding oxygen to the pool
- Creates surface action which helps keep the pool clean
Types of Pool Water Features
- Cascades – A cascade is often mistakenly called a waterfall, but the difference is that the water is running down a rock face, and dropping off into the pool. Cascades can also be created with water running over large boulders or steps, as shown right. A cascade is often integrated with a raised spa, with the spa overflowing down the rocky slope to the pool. A pool slide, without legs, built into a small hill along the side of the pool, is also a common way to add a multi-purpose water feature to your pool.
- Waterfalls – Can be rough and uneven, tumbling over a short or tall wall – or, pool waterfalls can be a clear sheet of water, so fine that it looks like glass. The latter, known as a Sheer Descent type of waterfall, are usually built into the top of a raised wall or spa. Nearly invisible without looking for it, Sheer Descents can be installed in many sizes, from eight inches to eight feet long, including curved and extended lip models. They can be configured to a rain pattern (shown right), or with more water, can flow as a solid sheet of water.
- Deck jets are spaced apart, and create a majestic arc of water that lands into the pool softly. They are installed flush into the deck, with a brass or plastic cap that is unobtrusive. Deck jets usually have interchangeable nozzles to create different size or pattern of stream, and many can be adjusted for height and distance; be set to deliver several streams of water from one jet, or one larger stream. Deck jets can also be fitted with LED lighting, which carries the color through the complete arc of water. With a controller, you can change the light color, and even choreograph pulsing water to music!
- Fountains – A fountain could be classic Greek or Roman gods, maidens pouring from a large jar, or large planters filled with rocks and decorative grasses. Sea life such as dolphins or frogs are also popular. Wall fountains, such as a lion’s head are an easy way to add “some fancy” to a raised retaining wall. Fountains are often situated outside the pool, but one could also plumb a return fitting onto the floor, and attach a pipe and fountain head, to create a water feature inside the pool.
Vanishing Edge Pools
Also known as Negative Edge or an Infinity pool, these pools have an open edge on one side or end, and the water flows over the edge into a catch basin. This type of water feature offers the illusion that the pool water is pouring over the edge, and is commonly done with a pool located high above the ocean or a lake, so that the pool water blends into the water on the horizon.
Vanishing edge pools require exact design and workmanship standards at all stages of construction. It’s a bit of a stretch for some of our DIY customers to install a vanishing edge, but – anything is possible, and it has been done successfully in the past.
Equipment for Pool Water Features
Depending on how elaborate your water feature, will determine the equipment that is needed. In most cases, it is recommended to have a separate pump to operate your water feature, independent of your pool filter pump. Very small fountains or bubblers could be operated with your existing pool pump, but in most cases, a separate pump, valving and plumbing should be used, to provide enough power to give you the water effects that you desire.
Controlling the water feature can be as simple as a mechanical timeclock that turns on your water feature pump when you want it to run, or you can control the water feature pump with a more advanced controller that allows you more options and control of your water feature(s), lighting and other pool equipment.
Planning a Water Feature
Can we build it? Yes, we can! The simplest types of water features will utilize specific equipment designed for the purpose. It requires careful planning in the pool design and construction process. Sheer Descent or Deck Jets are a fairly simple water feature to install. Large cascading water will require careful attention to avoid leaking. A waterproof membrane can be utilized to catch leaking water, installed beneath rocks and mortar.
To start dreaming about water features, search the web for ideas. Then give us a call for advice on installing your desired water effects. We can help guide you with the experiences we have had with DIY water feature builders who have come before you. If your plans are elaborate, we’ll likely recommend that you also contact a local landscape architect to help design the layout of the water feature. We can assist you with the calculations for flow, so that the end result will match the dream, or the picture you have in mind (or in hand!).
When you’re ready to talk about adding water features to your vinyl inground pool kit – give us a call at 800-983-POOL – we’d love to discuss how you can add “some fancy” to your new inground pool – and how you can install it yourself!
SPP Pool Expert