Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog

An IBM Gold Consultant’s weblog about IBM, Lotus, WebSphere, J2EE, IT Processes, and other IT technologies

How to build a disappearing stream? (Overview)

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on June 12, 2007

This is a follow-up to my earlier entry about our disappearing stream. I hope to write up a complete set of instructions on how to build such a stream from a novice’s perspective. I will begin with an overview of the materials we used and the high-level steps involved in building the disappearing stream. I will follow up with entries detailing these steps over time to build complete and detailed instructions.

Here I go with establishing the pre-requisites, the bill-of-materials, tools, and the high-level steps involved in building a disappearing stream like ours.


  • A GFCI electric outlet within 15 feet of the stream site

Bill of materials

  1. 45 Mil EPDM Pond Liner – in our case, we got a 8′ x 10′ piece – ensure that you get a piece bigger than what you think you need.
  2. 1800 GPH Pondmaster Model 18 Pump (magnetic drive pump) – again ensure that the water pumping capacity is going to be adequate for your stream.
  3. 3′ x 3′ water reservoir box with 3 cinder blocks, grate, and plastic mesh – a bigger reservoir ensures that you do not need to add water to your stream when you start up your stream after it has been off for a while.
  4. 12-15′ of 1″ non-kinking tubing – the length needs to be adequate to run from the pump to the pot – account for the extra length needed to conceal the tubing.
  5. Asian ceramic glazed pot (cannot use an ordinary Mexican pot)
  6. 300-400 lb of large river pebbles
  7. ~1 ton of Texas moss boulder stones
  8. 1 can of Becket Waterfall Foam
  9. 0.75″-1.25″ size clamp
  10. Solar floating light balls
  11. Low-voltage submersible light set with 3 flood lights
  12. Miscellaneous frog-themed decorations 🙂

The first 6 items are from Hill Country Water Gardens, the stones are from Jacob and Sons, the waterfall foam is from Home Depot, and the remaining items are from Lowes, Costco and Big Lots.


  • Shovel
  • 4 feet level
  • Scissors
  • Saw

High-level Instructions

  • Site preparation
  • Setting up the water reservoir box
  • Lay down the pond liner
  • Set up the pot
  • Connect the pump
  • Run the pump and verify no leaks
  • Lay the stones
  • Seal the underside of rocks over which the water should flow
  • Add the river pebbles
  • Clean out the water
  • Enjoy your stream

I will be back with more where I detail these high-level steps and add a troubleshooting section.

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