How to build a Water Garden pond

The next step is to paint your design on the ground in actual size for you to get a better idea of what you sketched on paper.


How to build a water garden pond. Start by painting the pond and then paint the stream. Then, paint where you envision the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter and the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer will be installed. The two units should always be opposite each other – water exiting the pond should always be at the furthest point away from water entering the pond for maximum circulation.

Measure the widest points of the pond. Measure the length of your stream. Measure the distance between the pond and where you will remotely install your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer. Measure the distance between the skimmer location and the filter location. Then either order your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit here on-line, or call our Friendly Customer Service Associates and give them your dimensions. Either way, we’ll create a custom water garden pond kit specifically tailored to fit your design! With a Custom Water Garden Pond Kit from Russell Watergardens, you’ll never have to make your water garden pond design fit inside the limitations of a pre-packaged pond kit!


With your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit on site, set out the components to gain complete perspective of water you are envisioning.


Place the Hydro Vortex™ Filter at the head of your waterfalls and stream.


Place the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and its Remote Installation Pipe at the opposite end of your design


A water garden pond is virtually always designed with three shelves at varying depths. The pond is excavated in “stair-steps” to a maximum depth of 24″. The first step is the “Marginal Plant” shelf at 6″ – 10″ deep. The second shelf is the “Water Lily” shelf with varying depths of 12″ – 18″. The Maximum Depth is typically 24″.

The first step in constructing your water garden pond is to attach the plumbing to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. All Hydro Vortex™ Filters come complete with PVC pipe adapters, drain pipe, and Fish-Safe Silicone Sealant.


First, place a bead of Silicone on the 1½” PVC male pipe adapter for the Clean Out Drain Pipe.


Please note:

The Hydro Vortex™ Filter has one 1½” Solid Brass female threaded Inlet Port and matching PVC pipe adapter and one 1½” Solid Brass female threaded Bottom Drain Clean-out Outlet Port and matching PVC Pipe adapter.

Both the Marlin and Dolphin Hydro Vortex™ Filters have two 2″ Solid Brass female threaded Inlet Ports with one 2″ PVC pipe adapter and one 2″ PVC plug. Both units also have one 1½” Solid Brass female threaded Bottom Drain Clean-out Outlet Port and matching PVC Pipe adapter. (The plug may be substituted for a second pipe adapter when dual plumbing main-lines are used.)


You’ll then thread the PVC male pipe adapter with Siliconed threads directly into the Solid Brass Female threads of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s Bottom Drain Clean-out Port. Thread it in just as tight as you can get it with your hands – no need for a large wrench. Make sure to not cross the threads.


You’ll then repeat the process with a second PVC pipe adapter and thread it into the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s Solid Brass female threaded Inlet Port.


Using the Purple PVC Primer included with your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit, clean and prime the inside of each of the pipe adapters you just finished attaching to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter.


Next, grand the 1½” x 10′ flexible PVC Drain Pipe that was included with your Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter.

Clean one end of it with the Purple PVC Primer. Clean and primer all the way around the pipe, and up the pipe about 3″ from the end.


Next, open the can of Red Hot Blue PVC Glue that was included in your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit. Apply the glue all the way around the end of the primed flex pipe. Apply the glue to the same surface area of the pipe as with the primer.


Insert the primed and glued flex drain pipe into the Bottom Drain Outlet Port of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. Slightly twist the pipe back and forth as you’re pushing it into the pipe adapter to remove any air bubbles in the glue. Hold the pipe for 60 seconds.

The drain pipe gets attach first because it is the lowest pipe. The inlet pipe is above the drain pipe. The drain outlet is always at the bottom center of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter and perpendicular to the filter’s round side wall. The inlets are always parallel to the filter’s round side wall.


You next step is to un-roll your main-line pipe and extend it from the Hydro Vortex™ Filter to where you will be installing the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

Like the drain pipe you previously attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter, you will clean and prime the pipe with the Purple PVC Primer then apply a coat of Red Hot PVC Glue to the pipe.


Just like attaching the Clean-out Drain Pipe, you will slightly twist the Main-line Pipe as you push it into the Inlet Port pipe adapter to remove any air bubbles in the glue. Hold the pipe for 60 seconds. With pipe attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter, you are now ready to “set” it.


!!!! Make sure to NEVER MOVE THE FILTER BY PULLING THE PIPES!

Always move the filter and pipe in unison !!!!


Set the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter on firm level soil. If your soil is soft, wet, or high in peat – first place a 4″ thick bed of compacted crushed gravel as a footing. Remember when full of water, the filter will be very heavy – if the filter isn’t set on a firm footing – settling can occur that may cause leaks in the future. Extend the drain pipe out to a waste area, and extend the main-line pipe back towards the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.


You are now ready to begin excavating the pond. You will recycle all the excavated soil. It will be used to hide the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter and to create the stream shoulders.


Its best to excavate your stream about 3″ – 5″. Build the “shoulders” around the pond and along each side of the stream up 4″-8″. The shoulders hold your water in, and any ground water run-off out of your system.


Once the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter is set on firm level ground, have someone stand inside it with a level to hold it in place. This is to maintain the filter’s levelness while others surround the filter and cover the pipes with soil excavated from the water storage basin.

Standing in the filter is traditionally reserved for the “supervisor” of the project.


Compact the soil as it is being placed to ensure uniform compaction from the bottom-up. The soil should come up to within 1″ – 2″ from the upper rim of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter.

This particular design called for a two-step waterfall – compacted soil is used to construct “steps” that will become footings for the waterfall boulders. The height of the steps are a division of the total height of the waterfalls, in this design, the falls are 2′ high, so one stair step of 12″ is created with soil, the upper fall will be created with the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter itself.


To properly estimate the width your “stairs” need to be, add the width of the waterfall effect you a creating plus each “shoulder boulder” that the waterfalls will fall between. In this example, the waterfall will be 18″ wide and we’ll have 18″ boulders on each side of the waterfall – so the width of the stair step needs to be 18″ + 18″ + 18″ = 54″ wide.

Waterfalls, like streams, need to have “Guides” or “Shoulders” to hold liner above the water line. These “Shoulders” should be at least 6″ – 8″ above each horizontal level of the stair steps.


With your stairs and shoulders constructed with firmly compacted soil excavated from your pond area – you’re ready to install the underlayment.

Remove all sharp rocks, debris, and roots from the soil. Rake it as smooth as possible – then lay you underlayment over your streambed and stairs. Tuck it into the corners and smooth as many wrinkles as you can.


With the underlayment in place, you’re now ready to install your stream/waterfall liner.

Like the underlayment, tuck the Liner into the corners and smooth out as many wrinkles as you can. Leave 2″-4″ at the base of each stair as “expansion” joints. Extend the liner up and over the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. Extend the liner up and over all “shoulders” with 12″ or more extra on each side.


Like the underlayment, tuck the Liner into the corners and smooth out as many wrinkles as you can. Leave 2″-4″ !!! DO NOT CUT OFF EXCESS LINER YET !!!


You’re now ready to attach the liner to the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. First, pull back the liner from overlapping the filter. Using the Purple PVC Primer included with your custom Hydro-pondless Waterfall Kit, clean the entire flat “U” shape face of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter.


Place the liner back up and over the filter’s face – smooth out any wrinkles. Place the filter’s Liner Gasket Flange (flat “U” shaped plastic piece with screw holes in it) up to the face of the filter with the liner in between. Poke a screw driver or awl through the upper corners of the Liner Gasket Flange and matching screw holes of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. The liner will be pierced in the middle. Leave the screw drivers or awls in place. They will be used to temporarily hold the Liner Gasket Flange to the Liner.


Clean the entire area that the Liner Gasket Flange outlines – from screw driver to screw driver. Let in dry for 60 – 120 seconds.

Purple PVC Primer stains what ever it touches – so don’t get it on any clothes that aren’t purple – and don’t set the can down on anything you don’t want purple.


With the liner and face of the Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter previously cleaned with the Purple PVC Primer – and the Primer dry – you’re ready to apply Silicone to the filter.

Using the 100% Silicone Sealant that came with your Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter, apply a solid ½” thick bead of Silicone completely across the “U” shape face of the filter. Make sure the bead is un-broken and runs through the center of every screw hole on the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s face. Remember, where ever there is a gap in the Silicone – could become a leak! So make sure there are no gaps in the Silicone bead!


With your solid, un-broken bead of Silicone across the face and in the screw holes of the Hydro Vortex™ filter – you’re now ready to attach the liner.

Lift the Liner Gasket Flange, Liner, and Screw Drivers as one piece and insert the screw drivers through the upper most corner screw holes of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. Smooth out any wrinkles between the filter and the Liner Gasket Flange.


Place one Stainless Steel Washer on each Stainless Steel Screw and push it through the Liner Gasket Flange, Liner, and screw hole of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. Place one Stainless Steel Nut without a washer on the end of the screw on the inside of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. Do NOT tighten the screws until ALL screws are installed. You may need to slightly shift the Liner Gasket Flange to insert all the screws.


!!! DO NOT FULLY TIGHTEN SCREWS UNTIL ALL SCREWS ARE INSTALLED !!!


Once all the Stainless Steel Screws with Stainless Steel Washers are installed, and each screw has a Stainless Steel Nut attached on the inside of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter, you can go ahead and tighten each of the screws.


With all the Stainless Steel Screws fully tightened – you may proceed with cutting the liner out of the waterfall opening.

Using a razor knife, use the Liner Gasket Flange as your guide. Cut only the inside of the water fall opening – do not cut the liner sticking up over the filter’s corners or any other liner at this time.


!!! DO NOT CUT ANY LINER OUTSIDE OF THE LINER GASKET FLANGE AT THIS TIME !!!


With the liner cut out of the Liner Gasket Flange ONLY – smooth out the Silicone bead between the Gasket Flange, Liner, and Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter.

Notice the liner is un-cut outside of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s Liner Gasket Flange./p>


!!! ONLY CUT OFF EXCESS LINER AFTER THE PUMP IS RUNNING !!!

This allows you to see any low points in the liner that may cause a leak, and it lets you see exactly where the water line is so that you don’t accidentally cut the liner to short!


With the Liner attached to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter and the Silicone drying – its time to install the Stainless Steel Lever Ball Valve on the filter’s clean-out line.

Using the Purple Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue that was supplied with your Hydro-pondless Waterfall Kit as before – attach the Lever Valve so that it is on its side. Note the water directional arrow on the valve’s body. With the valve open, the Lever should be “in-line” and parallel with the pipe and pointing in the direction of the water flow – in this case, away from the Hydro Vortex™ Filter. With the valve closed, the Lever should be pointing towards the sky and be perpendicular to the pipe.


In “Normal” operation of your pondless waterfalls, the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s Bottom Drain Clean-out Lever Ball Valve is in the “Closed” position with the Lever pointing towards the sky. When cleaning the filter, the valve gets switched to the “Open” position simply by pushing the Lever forward and downward in the direction of the water flow. When you’re finished cleaning the filter, simply pull the Lever upward to the skyward position. No twisting, no turning – simply push the Lever forward and downward to open the valve, then pull the Lever upward and backward to close the valve.

The valve’s are this easy to turn


With the pond excavation complete, you’re now ready to excavate for the remotely installed HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.


Set the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and its extension pipe on the ground and outline them with ground paint.

Excavate the hole equal to the height of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer, and the trench for the extension pipe should be equal to the pipe diameter plus 2″.


Rake the excavations as smooth as possible – and remove any sharp rock edges or tree roots.


Set the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer down into the skimmer hole excavation and check its levelness. If the skimmer is not level front to back and side to side – remove it from the hole and rake and compact the soil until the skimmer sets in the hole level.

Just as you previously installed the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter, have the “project supervisor” stand inside the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer to maintain its levelness while others backfill with soil. Back fill the rear and sides of the skimmer – DO NOT BACKFILL THE FRONT OF THE SKIMMER YET.


With the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer level side to side and front to back and backfilled with soil, you’re now ready to attach the remote installation pipe.

Using Fish Safe 100% Silicone Sealant included with your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer, apply a solid bead of Silicone around the inside edge of the rubber coupler that will join to the skimmer’s inlet pipe.


Make sure the inside of the rubber coupler and the outside edge of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s inlet pipe are clean and dry prior to applying Silicone. Use the Purple PVC Primer supplied with your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit to pre-clean these surfaces.


Whether you’re installing a straight rubber coupler, or a reducing rubber coupler – install is so that the Stainless Steel Nut is near the top for easy access.


Now apply another bead of Silicone inside the other end of the rubber couple


Clean the end of your remote skimmer installation pipe with your Purple PVC Primer – when its dry – push it into the rubber couple a distance equal to half the length of the rubber couple itself.


With the skimmer remote installation pipe installed, you can now tighten the Stainless Steel Nuts of the Stainless Steel clamps to lock it all in place.


With the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and its remote installation pipe installed, you’re now ready to install the underlayment down into the pond excavation.

Tuck into the corners, smooth out the wrinkles you can, and fold over the remaining wrinkles.


With the underlayment installed into the pond excavation, you’re now ready to install the pond liner.

Tuck the liner into all corners while leaving 2″-4″ extra at the base of each shelf as expansion joints. Then smooth out as many wrinkles as you can and fold over the remaining wrinkles.


Your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit comes with a HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer. All HydroClean™ Pond Skimmers have 3 Interchangeable Outlet Ports – one of which will be plumbed as the Over Flow. They are all at the same height inside the skimmer’s body. You water line will be measured from the bottom of the Over Flow Outlet Port.

This photo on the left is showing a pump plumbed to the Outlet Port on the left, a plug in the Outlet Port on the right, and the rear Outlet Port ready to be plumbed to an Over Flow pipe. Also, the optional Automatic Water Fill Valve is installed it its own Water Inlet Port.


A string level is the most economical method (of many methods) of creating a level line across the excavation site from the Over Flow Outlet Port inside the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.


Hold the string at the bottom of the Over Flow Outlet Port, extend it out of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer through it’s Outlet Pipe on it’s front side all the way across the pond. When the string is level – as noted by the hanging level seen in the photo above – paint a mark on the side of the pond at the end of the string. That painted mark will be the pond’s water line. You can then make other string line measurements from the painted mark.

With you liner installed in your pond excavation hole, you’re now ready to attach the liner to your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Remote Installation Pipe.


Clean the end of the pipe and the backside of the pond liner with your Purple PVC Primer. Apply a bead of Silicone around the outside end of the pipe. Fold the liner around the end of the pipe, pull out the wrinkles, then place the rubber collar over the liner and pipe end.

Cut a hole in the liner in the center of the pipe end equal to 1/2 the diameter of the pipe. A 4″ pipe would have a 2″ hole, 6″ pipe – a 3″ hole, and a 10″ pipe would have a 5″ hole cut.


Holding the rubber collar in place, push the pipe through the hole cut in the liner – or pull the liner and collar back over the pipe. The liner will stretch tight around the pipe as shown in the photo on the left.


With the pipe protruding through the liner at least 4″, install the Stainless Steel Clamp over the rubber collar and tighten the Stainless Steel Nut to lock the liner to the pipe.


With the liner attached to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and/or its Remote Installation Pipe, you’re now ready to start installing your rock.

Before “rocking-in” your pond, make sure that there are no “tight-spots” in the liner that might tear when rocks are placed. Make sure each stair, or level in the pond has at least 2″-4″ of excess liner at the bottom as expansion joints.


When “rocking-in” a water garden pond, you’re essentially building rock retaining walls. Start at the bottom and work you way around and up. Make sure that to sharp edges on the rocks point towards any pond liner or a puncture may result.


Since your water garden is relatively shallow – at only 24″ deep at its maximum – you’ll need to construct “Fish Condos” or caves in your rock walls as hiding places for your fish.

You can’t have too many Fish Condos in your water garden pond!


Here’s a tip that will help you move rocks and boulders more easily. Use a piece of underlayment doubled over itself as a sling. Roll a rock onto the the underlayment, and with two or more people, pick up the corners of the sling. As you lift the underlayment it will lift the rock and/or give you a way of sliding the rock around. Make sure your sling is wide enough so that the rock or boulder won’t roll out!

Always use proper “heavy-lifting” practices – lift with your legs and not your back and wear proper lifting gear. If you’re unsure about proper lifting methods, please ask a licensed Physical Therapist.


Continue building your retaining walls until all vertical walls are covered with rock. Make sure the rocks are stable and will not fall over.

If you’re unsure about the stability of your retaining walls, rebuild them until you are. You can always “glue” them together with waterfall foam for added strength and stability.


Once all your vertical rock walls and Fish Condos are complete, you’re now ready to add your pea gravel to the horizontal surfaces.

When building a water garden pond, Russell Watergardens & Koi recommends using mostly 3/8″ pea gravel as the gravel layer instead of 2″ – 8″river rock. Simply put, there are much less void spaces in pea gravel that trap debris. A layer of river rock will have large voids between the individual stones that will trap debris – and make it much harder for your to clean and keep clean. Pea gravel has much smaller voids – and thus debris tends to settle on top of the pea gravel layer instead of down in it. This makes for much easier cleaning. A few river rocks may be placed in the pea gravel layer for cosmetic purposes.


Here’s a tip on installing pea gravel. Place the pea gravel in ordinary plastic plant pots that have holes in the bottom. Pre-rinse the pea gravel by running clean water through the pot until the water running out of the pot’s holes is clear. Now you’ll have relatively clean pea gravel inside a plant pot. The plant pot will then double as an easy way for you to pour it onto the horizontal surfaces of your water garden pond.


If you chose to purchase and Under Water Light Kit with your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit, now is the time to install the light fixtures. HydroStone™ Lights simply set directly on the horizontal surfaces, while HydroLights™ and LED HydroLights™ get tucked into your submerged rock walls. Make sure to leave enough wire coiled up behind the light fixture so that you may lift it out of the water to change the bulb! Run the remaining wire out of the pond and connect it to your low voltage transformer.


!!! DO NOT CUT OFF EXCESS LINER YET – ONLY CUT OFF EXCESS LINER WHEN THE POND IS FULL AND YOUR PUMP IS RUNNING !!!


With your submerged rock retaining walls, Fish Condos, pea gravel, and underwater lights installed – you can now add your aquatic plants.

Since a water garden pond contains pea gravel – you’ll be planting your aquatic plants directly into the pea gravel. Remove the plant from its pot and rinse of the majority of the root’s mud and soil. Part the pea gravel where you want a plant. Spread the plant’s roots out onto the liner. Push the gravel back over the plant roots and you’re done!

Make sure you plant lilies on the lily shelf and marginal plants on the marginal shelf. You can now begin filling your pond!


You next step is to attach the Custom CamLock & Union Spring Checkvalve Assembly (CVA) to your pump. Simply thread the CVA to the pump’s discharge port.

!!! DO NOT USE SILICONE OR GLUE TO ATTACH THE CVA TO THE PUMP !!!

The Spring Checkvalve will keep the plumbing from leaking. (You’ll need to be able to disconnect the CVA from the pump at some point in the future.)


Open the CamLock section of the CVA by pulling the two Stainless Steel Levers forward. Pull out the male section of the CamLock. Apply a bead of Silicone to the male threads.


Thread the Siliconed male threads into the Outlet Port closest to your main-line pipe that runs between the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter and the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.


You’re now ready to lower the pump and CVA down into the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer and re-connect the CamLock fittings.


!!! DO NOT LOWER THE PUMP BY ITS ELECTRICAL CORD OR FLOAT SWITCH – DAMAGE TO THESE PARTS VOID YOUR WARRANTY !!!


Lower the pump down into the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer by its handle and CVA only! Push the pump and female section of the CVA onto the male section that is now attached to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Outlet Port. Pull the Stainless Steel CamLock Levers back towards the pump into the “Closed & Locked” position.

With the pump and CVA installed in your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer, you’re now ready to attach your main-line pipe and overflow pipe.

Apply as solid bead of Silicone to the PVC pipe adapter included with your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.


Thread the Siliconed pipe adapter into the outside threads of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Outlet Port that the pump and CVA are connected to on the inside.


Repeat the process for your Over Flow pipe. Choose which of the remaining two Outlet Ports you wish to use as your Over Flow Port. Thread the second Siliconed pipe adapter into the outside threads over your chosen Over Flow Port.


Attach your pipe to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer the exact same way you previously attached pipe to your Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter. Prime the outside of the pipe, and inside of the pipe adapter with your Purple PVC Primer – then apply your Red Hot PVC Glue to the outside of your pipe. Push the pipe into the pipe adapter while gently twisting back and forth to remove any air bubbles. Hold the pipe in place for 60 seconds.

Repeat the process for your Over Flow pipe. The over flow pipe is usually the “left-overs” from what was cut off your main line pipe – unless you order extra pipe with your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit.


If you chose the Optional Auto Fill Valve Kit, now is the time to install it.

Apply a bead of Silicone to the threads of the Auto Fill Valve and thread it directly into the Auto Fill Inlet Port inside the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.


Next, apply a bead of Silicone to the threads of the 1/2″ barb fitting and thread it into the outside threads of the Auto Fill Valve Port of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer.

Then, push the 1/2″ water pipe onto the barb. The pipe and barb make a water tight seal without Silicone or glue.


At the other end of your 1/2″ water pipe, attach the Brass 3/4″ Female Hose Thread by 1/2″ Barb fitting with the supplied Stainless Steel Clamp. Then thread the 3/4″ Female Hose thread to your standard hose faucet.

With your main-line, over flow, and your Auto Fill Valve pipes attached to your HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer you can now attach the plug to the remaining Outlet Port not in use.

Apply a bead of Silicone to the plug’s threads.


Then, thread the Siliconed plug into the inside or outside threads of the third Outlet Port of the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer that’s not in use.


Congratulations! You’ve completed all the plumbing of your water garden pond!

In this photo, the pump, CVA, and main-line pipe are attached to the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer’s Outlet Port on the right. The over flow pipe is attached to the rear Outlet Port, the right Outlet Port is plugged – and the Auto Fill Valve is attached to its Inlet Port. You can now install the Filter Brush Rack and the Leaf Net.


You’re now ready to begin construction of your waterfalls. The most natural looking waterfalls are those constructed using boulders. More “formal” looking waterfalls are constructed using cut stone or slate. The choice is yours. In this example, we’re using 1-man sized basalt boulders. Start with placing your “shoulder-boulders” on each side of your waterfall step – then place your waterfall boulder between the shoulders. Make sure the boulder is as level as you can get it. Use smaller boulders, pebbles, and/or river rocks as shims under your waterfall rock to hold its position. They will all get “glued” together later with the waterfall foam.


Construct you waterfalls from the bottom-up. In other words, start from you lowest stair step, then build each fall on top of the other.

Again, use smaller boulders, pebbles, and/or river rock as shims to hold your waterfall rocks in position until your ready to “foam” them all in.


From your waterfalls, extend boulders in a random pattern down each side of your stream all the way down to the end of the stream where it enters the pond as a stream or waterfall.

The more random – the more natural the stream will look upon completion.


Before foaming your waterfall rocks in place, hand place clean and dry river rock stones in the gaps behind, below, and in between your waterfall boulders. This will take up space to allow you to use less waterfall foam. The foam will also bind the stones, boulders, and liner all together.


With all your boulders “dry-set”, you can now lock them all in place with your waterfall foam. Using waterfall foam is like squirting whipped cream from a can – its fun!

Fill all voids under and behind all waterfall boulders, and any boulders in your stream that you don’t want water running under or behind. Don’t worry if you squirt too much foam – wait until its dry – then simply tear off any extra that you don’t want.


!!! Don’t try to remove wet waterfall foam – you’ll only make a mess! Its easier to remove excess foam when it is fully dry by tearing or peeling it !!!


When the waterfall foam is fully dry – in about 30 minutes, you can install your river rock onto all horizontal surfaces in you stream and waterfalls.

You are now ready to install the Hydro FilterSilk™ media that is included with your Hydro Vortex™ Easy to Clean Waterfall Filter. Simply place the round lower diffuser grate into the inside lower section – above the settling cone – inside the Hydro Vortex™ filter, then simply open the Hydro FilterSilk™ bag and pour it in! Give the Hydro FilterSilk™ a gentle “fluffing” with your hands.

NO ADDITIONAL MEDIA IS REQUIRED!


The Hydro FilterSilk™ completely fills the Media Chamber inside the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter – thus providing maximum efficiency and unparalleled water polishing capabilities.


With the Hydro FilterSilk™ installed inside the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter, install the upper diffuser grate as shown here to hold the FilterSilk™ inside the Media Chamber.


For those of your that choose the HydroFlush™ System, here is how you install it onto your Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter: First, apply a bead of Silicone to the PVC pipe adapter, then thread it into the bulkhead fitting located in the upper side wall of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter.


With the Siliconed pipe adapter threaded into the upper bulkhead fitting of the Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter your next step is to connect the HydroFlush™ pipe. Using the Purple PVC Primer as before, clean the inside of the pipe adapter and the outside of the flexible PVC pipe. Then apply Red Hot PVC Glue to the outside of the pipe and push the pipe into the pipe adapter while twisting back and forth to remove any air bubbles in the glue.


Extend the HydroFlush™ pipe towards the main-line pipe. The point where the two pipes intersect is where you’ll install the HydroFlush™ 3-Way Valve.

Using your PVC Primer and Red Hot Glue, attach the HydroFlush™ Pipe to the side of the 3-Way Valve that faces the HydroFlush™ pipe.


Cut your main-line pipe. Using your Purple PVC Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue, glue the section leading to the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s main inlet into the side of the 3-Way Valve opposite the side that leads to the HydroFlush™ at the top of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter.


Using your Purple Primer and Red Hot PVC Glue, glue the line coming from the HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer to the side of the valve labeled “Inlet”. The opposite end of the valve gets glued to the pipe running to the Hydro Vortex™ filter’s inlet, and the side outlet of the 3-Way valve gets connected to the HydroFlush™ pipe connected to the top of the Hydro Vortex™ filter.


Next, install the 10″ Round Valve Box over the valve and pipes. You’ll need to cut notches out of the valve box where you pipes are located.


Then place the lid on the valve box before backfilling with soil.


With the lid on the HydroFlush™ Valve Box, backfill your excavation area and you’re done!


Next, assemble the HydroFlush™ Froth Jet pieces.


!!! DO NOT GLUE OR SILICONE ANY OF THE PIECES – THEY ARE MEANT TO BE COMPRESSION FITTED ONLY !!!

Not gluing these pieces makes it easy to disassemble them or adjust them. First, thread the male pipe adapter into the inside of the upper bulkhead fitting. Next, insert the small pipe stub into the pipe adapter, then attach the 45 degree elbow pointing towards the center of the filter, then the larger pipe stub, then the 90 degree elbow pointing towards the sky.


Next, hide the HydroFlush™ parts with river rock on top of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter’s upper diffuser grate.


!!! DO NOT COVER THE SKYWARD OPENING OF THE 90 DEGREE ELBOW !!!


In normal filtering operation, water from your pump runs straight through the HydroFlush™ 3-Way Valve with no head loss. The 3-Way valve’s side outlet to the HydroFlush™ Froth Jet is closed.


Now you may place the Lid onto the Valve Box. You’ll notice that the HydroFlush™ Valve is discreetly hidden within the landscape and the HydroFlush™ Froth Jet on top of the Hydro Vortex™ Filter is discreetly hidden with river rock.


Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filters completely hide from view. All you see is a clean “spring water” emanating from decorative river rock.

You’ve learned how to build a pond.


The Hydro Vortex™ Waterfall Filter included with your Custom Water Garden Pond Kit created beautiful waterfalls and is EASY TO CLEAN! You don’t have to dismantle is for cleaning as with all conventional “Pad-&-Media-Bag” style waterfall filters.


You’ve just seen how easy it is to build a beautiful water garden pond using a Russell Watergardens & Koi Custom Water Garden Pond Kit.


Waterfalls and streams are a beautiful addition to any landscape. The stream also creates a fun and natural place for birds to bathe and frolic!


The instruction listed above are adaptable to any size water garden pond. From 80 square foot ponds to 400 square feet and larger – the instructions are the same!


HydroClean™ Pond Skimmers give you complete flexibility for remotely installing them. In this class project, the Piper HydroClean™ Pond Skimmer was installed 5 feet away from the pond – in a separate flower bed! A pathway separates the pond the skimmer from the pond. Look at this photo ……only HydroClean™ Pond Skimmers allow your to remotely install them using standard PVC pipe! Just think of all the design option you now have!


The water garden pond takes on a whole new look at night when lit up with an Underwater Light Kit!


You’ve just learned how to build a pond!

This project featured a Custom Ahi Series Pond Kit with a Remote Skimmer Installation Kit, Automatic Water Fill Kit, and a HydroStone™ Light Kit


Back to Top of Page