How to Pick the Right Waterfall Pump for Your Pond

Knowing how to select the correct waterfall pump for your pond can be a difficult task.  There are several variables to consider, but this post will help make your selection simpler with 4 steps.  You will need to know 4 factors when selecting a waterfall pump: the width of the waterfall, the water flow you would like, the height the waterfall will sit above the rest of the pond, and the distance from your pump to the top of the waterfall.

1. Width of your Waterfall

This should be fairly simple to determine.  If you already have your waterfall built simply measure from one edge of the waterfall opening to the other to determine the total number of inches your waterfall covers.  If you are still in the planning stages of building your pond or adding a waterfall, you can use a spillway to simplify the construction of the break of the waterfall.  Once you have the width of your waterfall in inches, write that number down.  As an example we will use the waterfall in the picture to create our measurements.

Example: The width of the spillway is 16 in.

2. Water Flow of Your Waterfall

For determining the water flow you would like to see from your waterfall, think about what you are visually anticipating your waterfall to look like.  Also consider that this will be a primary source of the beautiful sound of moving water.  What kind of water flow would you like to hear as you are near your pond?  The three primary categories of water flow we like to describe as a trickle, sheet, and Niagara flow.  A “trickle” flow will have short breaks in the water flow as it fall over the edge of the waterfall.  A “sheet” will be one smooth an even flow of water.  The “Niagara” flow will be a heavy flow of water that that will produce the most sound of moving water.  If you choose “trickle”, multiple your number from step 1 by 50.  If “sheet”, then multiply by 100.  If “Niagara”, then multiply by 200.  This calculation will result in the number of gallons per hour you will need your pump  to be able to turnover.

Example: The flow of the waterfall is a “sheet” flow, so we need to multiple step 1’s width by 100.
16 ft. x 100 = 1,600 GPH

3. Height of your Waterfall

The height of your waterfall can be measured in feet from the surface of the water in your pond to the break of the waterfall.  You may have or would like a waterfall that sits further back from the pond and cascades down a water course, so for this measurement, you will only need to measure the vertical distance.  If you have not yet constructed your waterfall, make an estimation for this step.  For most backyard waterfalls 1-3 ft. is a typical height range.  For the next step, you will need to know how far away the waterfall is away from the waterfall pump.

Example: This waterfall’s height is 3 ft.

4. Distance to the Waterfall

For this step, measure the length of tubing in feet.  Start from where the tubing exits the pond to the top of the waterfall where it ends. For this step, we are measuring water resistant, and the water does not experience resistant until it is in the tubing above the water.  For every foot of tubing to the waterfall (step 3), multiply by 10.

Example: The distance of tubing used is 3 ft, so we need to multiply that by 10 in. So, 3 x 10 = 30 = 2 ft. 6 in. Finally, we add that to our measurement from step 3. 3 ft. + 2 ft. 6 in. = 5 ft. 6 in.

Combine your information to determine your pump size, so for this waterfall we will need a pump that is able to pump 1,600 GPH at a height of 5 ft. and 6 in. Look at the flow charts in the product packaging or instruction manual to determine which waterfall pump is best for you.