Sound – Adding Audible Dimensions

This article is an excerpt from the book – The R.I.S.E. Method – A How-to Guide for Designing Natural Appearing Ponds, Streams and Waterfalls

reprinted with permission from the author

For more information please take a look at the graphics.

Chapter 15

Creating pools of varying diameters and depths within your project will not only provide wonderful opportunities for the enjoyment of wildlife & great locations for a selection of aquatic plants, but can also add a significant audible dimension to your project. The actual depth and diameter of these pools will not only change the speed with which the water flows but will significantly alter the sounds emitted by the water’s movement; this will allow you to audibly fine-tune your water creations.

Control or adjust the high range tones within your water features when you allow water to fall onto a solid surface such as a rock or boulder. The amount of water you allow to fall and the distance the water actually falls will greatly affect its sound and its ability to splash.

To control any potential splash, always allow a minimum of 3´ to 4´ of distance for every foot of elevational drop onto any solid surface.

Control or adjust your mid-range tones by allowing water to fall into a shallow pool immediately following a waterfall or a series of white-water rapids. Water falling into a pool does not have as great a capacity to splash as water falling onto a solid surface, so a minimum of 2´ to 3´ of distance will adequately control each foot of elevational drop in this application.

Low range tones can be adjusted controlled as you allow water to fall into a much deeper pool of water. The actual depth of the pool as well as its overall diameter will ultimately dictate the sound the water emits as it hits the surface of the pool.

The type and size of material used to edge these pools will also give some control in the sound of the water as the sound waves bounce off of these placed materials, affecting the volume or level of sound produced. Placing your materials in positions that create small caves or echo chambers in or behind a waterfall can really enhance the waterfall’s volume. These “echo chambers” can be quite effective in volume control.

This technique can also be used to control the direction of the sound’s travel. A solid backdrop of rocks boulders can deflect the sound outward to a distant area where a visitor may otherwise be unable to hear the movement of the water.

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