How to Prevent Excessive Splash

Mark Crawford Apr 29, 2023
19 People Read
outdoor water feature ideas
Table of Contents
  1. How to Prevent Excessive Splash
    1. What are the different types of splash?
    2. What causes excessive splash?
    3. This brings us to How to Prevent Excessive Water Splash?
    4. Conclusion

How to Prevent Excessive Splash

"Preventing Excessive Splash in Water Features: Design Tips for Optimal Effect Heights"

Water feature design often overlooks the impact of effect heights on water splash. While noise levels can be a concern, excessive splash is a more prevalent issue that designers tend to neglect. This can lead to less desirable effects or a waste of water per day of operation. To avoid such problems, it is crucial to consider splash prevention techniques during the design phase. In this guide, I will share some design tips to help you achieve optimal effect heights while preventing excessive splashing in your water feature.

What are the different types of splash?

Water Feature Spray

• Visible: In water features, the most noticeable type of splash is the one we can see with our naked eye. This type of splash occurs when water visibly goes in one direction or another, often leaving the containment basin or area. It consists of visible droplets of water that can be both aesthetically unappealing and wasteful.

• Invisible or near invisible: Water splash in water features is not just limited to visible droplets but also includes residual splash. Residual splash, also known as mist or atomized water droplets, is not easily seen with the naked eye, but the wetness outside the basin or containment area is clear evidence that it exists. This type of splash can also cause water waste and lead to slippery surfaces.

What causes excessive splash?

Water Feature Wind Control

• Wind: wind is the most common reason for excessive water splash in water features. While wind speeds up to 5 miles per hour are usually not problematic for most nozzles, anything above this can cause issues. For wind speeds between 5 and 10mph, medium to large non-aerated orifice nozzles (1/2 and above) or thick waterfalls are effective in managing splash. However, wind speeds in excess of 10mph can wreak havoc on most water effects, leading to excessive splashing and water wastage.

• Water Collision: The collision of water is often an essential element in creating the desired visual or aesthetic effect in water features. For example, this occurs when the vertical water shot out of the nozzle collides with the water that has reached its maximum height and is falling back down towards the nozzle. The collision creates a unique visual effect and typically causes minimal splash unless the water feature is sequenced or has an oscillating flow. Understanding the collision of water is crucial in designing water features that create the desired aesthetic effect without excessive splash or wastage.

• Structure and Surface: In the design of water features, splash plays an essential role in creating the desired aesthetic display, especially in elements such as waterfalls, sculptures, and flat hardscape surfaces. These elements are designed in a way that allows water to splash off the structure or surface, creating a unique visual effect that enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the water feature. However, excessive splashing can lead to water waste, slippery surfaces, and other problems. Therefore, it's crucial to consider the design elements and techniques that can help minimize excessive splash while still achieving the desired aesthetic effect.

This brings us to How to Prevent Excessive Water Splash?

water feature spray display

• Design Formula: One of the most straightforward ways to prevent excessive splash in water features is to design your effect heights per the distance to the nearest containment wall or the desired limit. For instance, if you want to achieve a visual effect height of 6 ft for a nozzle or free-falling waterfall, the distance to the nearest containment wall or desired limit of splash should be 1.5 times (min) = 9 ft. For sculptures and flat hardscape surfaces, it's recommended to use 2-3 times the effect height.

• Add Absorbing Effects: Adding low-level "full-bodied" water effects around higher water effects within the splash radius/area is an effective method to reduce excessive splash in water features. Low bubbler-type nozzles that create a mound of water up to 2 feet high are often used to limit excessive splash. Additionally, angling directional sprays in the direction of the vertical effects can also help reduce excessive splash. Installing a floor stripping pad that is 0.75 to 1 inch thick with the top of the pad at the normal operating water level is another effective method to absorb excessive splash. This proactive measure works especially well for indoor fountains, where the basin may not be large enough to contain the splash, and reducing the water effect may not be an option. By absorbing the residual splash with the pad, you can maintain the desired aesthetic effect while minimizing water waste.

• Raising the Containment Wall – Raising the containment wall is a simple and effective solution to contain splash in your water feature. Acrylic is the most common material used for this retrofit solution, as it provides maximum visibility of the water effect. However, there are caveats to consider. Acrylic can become opaque or turn yellow due to water impurities, which can negatively affect the visual appeal of your water feature over time.

• Controls: If your desired water feature effect requires a vertical height that exceeds the recommended ratios above for preventing excessive splash, you may need to consider additional measures to manage high wind conditions. While certain effects may be suitable for average wind speeds up to 10 mph, winds exceeding 10 mph can cause excessive splashing and water waste. One common solution is to install a wind speed sensor that triggers the system controls to decrease or eliminate the flow to selected effects, preventing excessive splash during higher wind conditions. There are several options available for automatically controlling effect heights due to wind, which are beyond the scope of this guide. For more details on designing wind control systems for water features, please refer to my "Wind Control Design Guide."


I hope this guide has provided valuable insights into preventing excessive splash in water features, helping you to create visually stunning projects while minimizing water waste. By implementing the recommended techniques, you can design water features that meet aesthetic goals and prevent excessive splashing. From designing effect heights based on the distance to the nearest containment wall to adding low-level, full-bodied water effect features and controlling effect heights due to wind, there are several ways to reduce excessive splash. With preventative thinking and careful design, you can keep everyone happy and satisfied with your water feature projects.

Now that you are more comfortable with designing water features without excessive splash, click this safe and direct image link below to one of my supporters, "Graystone Creations, and browse multiple aesthetic water effect nozzles/waterfalls to complete your next water feature project!

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Table of Contents
  1. How to Prevent Excessive Splash
    1. What are the different types of splash?
    2. What causes excessive splash?
    3. This brings us to How to Prevent Excessive Water Splash?
    4. Conclusion