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Home Front: Sweet Sounds: A Little Water Music 

click to enlarge hfwaterfzl100.jpg

No time for the beach, the river or even a creekside cabin this summer? Bring soothing sounds home by installing a waterfall in your garden.

This design was inspired by Crabtree Falls, the dramatic, multi-level cascade in Nelson County. Shane Rippey, water garden manager at Fin & Feather's Water Garden Center, designed it to be low-maintenance — no fish, no plants (though either could be added). Total materials cost: approximately $1,500 to $2,000.

To create great sound, "the most important thing is to have enough area at different levels for the water to splash down and break up," Rippey says. He used flat fieldstone to break the water's fall at several points.

Position the waterfall near your patio, porch or wherever you'd like to sit and enjoy it. Stand in front of your waterfall and you get the full effect; walk behind it and you can scarcely hear the water. "It really takes a lot of ambient noise out of the neighborhood, too," Rippey says of the design shown here. The sound, though soft, erases much of the roar of neighboring Lakeside Avenue.

Consider scale, too. You don't want your waterfall to overwhelm a small garden or be lost in a large expanse. The size of the pond should be proportional to the height of the falls. At the edge of the basin, Rippey placed a few larger boulders for a natural look.

Keep it simple. Leave out the fish if you don't want to fuss with filters and algae. Rippey placed large stones, then small river rocks, over the pump in the 4 1/2-foot-deep basin. The water appears to be only a few inches deep. S

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