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Construction for Landscape Architecture by Jamie Liversedge, Robert Holden

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Cascades, waterfalls, and weirs

Waterfalls can be delightful: they offer sound (which may form “white noise” in a busy city square), excitement and delight. However, they can demand large quantities of water and this requires a significant pump capacity—so they can be energy- and maintenance-intensive (unless they are gravity fed). A rule of thumb is that ¾ in of water depth has to pass over a spillway for three feet of clear drop. However, aerated falls (as opposed to continuous sheets of water), such as cascades, can work with as little as ⅜ in of water depth.

Smooth sheets of water require a smooth lip to the spillway; this can be made of concrete or sawn stone—or of a metal such as stainless steel or aluminum. A concrete edge can also be ...

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