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Building a Backyard Waterwheel


Who is The Waterwheelman?

This is the story of a backyard landscaping project that grew. When my Dad retired, he wanted to build a beautiful water garden of ponds and a stream with a waterwheel. The problem was how to make the wheel. Although the concept seemed simple enough, building a waterwheel that would look good and run well was a big challenge. It took a lot of trial and error to reinvent a perfect working waterwheel, but he did it. Now he enjoys sharing his waterwheel blueprints with enthusiasts all over the world.

Image Credit: The Waterwheelman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

My parents have been enjoying their lovely back yard water feature for many years. Since it was so hard to find out how to make a good-looking, working wheel, I convinced Dad to draw up his method and make the plans available on the internet. This was quite a step, considering that he didn't think he'd ever bother to have internet. (Remember, it was quite a few years ago.)

So he drew up the plans, wrote easy to follow instructions, had blueprints printed, and we made a website so people could buy the plans from him. His goal was to make the blueprints and instructions so easy to follow that even the most inexperienced woodworker could have the satisfaction of building the project, and when it was finished, it would work!

Follow this link to learn more about the plans available. Waterwheel Plans

Image Credit: The Waterwheelman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Dad's waterwheel and landscape with pond

Dad's waterwheel and landscape with pond

Reinventing the Wheel

My Dad always spent a lot of time in his woodworking shop. He earned his living as a carpenter, cabinet maker and contractor. You'd think that building a waterwheel would be easy. The problem was that there were no plans to be found. This was in the days before information was at your fingertips on the internet. In the end, he figured out the plan and method for himself with a lot of trial and error. His wheel is simple to make, runs smoothly and looks charmingly authentic in his garden setting.

Image Credit: The Waterwheelman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Waterwheel at night

Waterwheel at night

Waterwheels Everywhere

Saving other water gardeners a lot of frustration

This has been a satisfying adventure. Do-it-yourselfers from all over the world have purchased the plans. Dad has a world map with pins for the locations of wheels built from his blueprints. People have sent him photos and told the story of their own backyard projects. It is so satisfying to hear of his plans making the difference for all of these people who now have a working waterwheel in their yard. He even made a wheel for me and carried the parts halfway across the country so he could assemble it in my garage. Then he spent the Christmas vacation building a pond and stream for it. That's commitment!

Image Credit: Author's photo

My parents' back yard is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy nature. The water gardens are surrounded by flowers, shrubs and hanging baskets. We sit on the flagstone terrace and drink our coffee to the trickle of water falling from the waterwheel.

An endless variety of birds and other wildlife come to refresh themselves by the stream. It's a nature lover's paradise. Winter, spring, summer and fall, the yard is alive with the creatures who have chosen to make their home here.

Image Credit: The Waterwheelman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Water Lily

Water Lily

Guestbook Comments - Share your thoughts!

kenny cohen on September 10, 2016:

It looks incredible i tried the link but it's not working. would love to get the plans.

Fay Favored from USA on February 08, 2014:

These are lovely. I'd love to have a garden with one of these designs. Visited the website as well and enjoyed all the photos. Thank you for sharing this.

IreneL11 on September 22, 2013:

I think your dad is great!

Art-Aspirations (author) on September 21, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks for letting me know about this. I had no idea it was featured.

anonymous on September 21, 2013:

What a cool idea, love it, saw your lens featured on Editor for the Day: Bakerwoman Shows Us Some Great Garden Wildlife Habitat Lenses

E L Seaton from Virginia on September 20, 2013:

Awesome project! Gotta have one soon! Wish I could bless this fine lens.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on September 20, 2013:

A rustic waterwheel always adds a nice warm touch to a water feature. Your Dad's plans are great.

Rose Jones on September 20, 2013:

Fascinating and gorgeous! Pinned to my board "how does your garden grow."

Art-Aspirations (author) on April 02, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks, Tom. Dad will be so glad to hear from you.

anonymous on March 30, 2013:


I built my waterwheel using your plans over 8 years ago when I was recovering from my back surgery, and it is still going strong. The plans are easy to follow and the results are beautiful!! Thanks for including a picture of our wheel on your website.

Lynda: Your website is great-very professional. I'm sure your dad appreciates the work you put into it on his behalf.

Art-Aspirations (author) on January 05, 2013:

@Lynda Makara: Thanks, Lynda. I'm not sure how you knew this was my first lens ever, but you're absolutely right. I wanted to share my Dad's unique hobby with the world, and that's how I got started on Squidoo.

Lynda Makara from California on January 05, 2013:

Great job! Your very first lens and you really nailed it! I loved your story about your dad's waterwheel. Angel blessings.

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on December 09, 2012:

Your dad is talented! I am amazed how beautiful his waterwheel is and I love his backyard retreat! Blessed :)

srsddn lm on November 23, 2012:

Quite interesting.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2012:

What a great story.

Little Linda Pinda from Florida on September 09, 2012:

So pretty. I would love looking out at that.

Darcie French from Abbotsford, BC on July 10, 2012:

How lovely, a water wheel garden

Kiwisoutback from Massachusetts on March 28, 2012:

I'm lucky enough to live near quite a few water wheels. The Plymouth area is old, so they still exist on a lot of rivers in the region. Having one in your own backyard would be a beautiful addition to any property. Excellent job with this lens, blessed!

priscillab on March 26, 2012:

This is a magical idea for a home. Lovely lens. Thanks for sharing it. So very pretty.

kathysart on February 16, 2012:

HOW MAGICAL! Ohh that would be so fun to have a waterwheel! How perfect!! Angel blessed.

Blackspaniel1 on January 31, 2012:

Nice lens.

Char Milbrett from Minnesota on January 03, 2012:

LOVE mills!!! i have one room in my home decorated with water wheel pictures, and my basement stairwell has a watermill scene on it. See my painting with acrylics page... for a picture..

anonymous on November 29, 2011:

What a delight...your Dad did the waterwheel so just right for that old world wonder feel and this serves as a wonderful tribute to his creative art...I love that you have included several example from folks using his plans to one success after another. I don't have a yard right now but a I do have hope to one day create a dream come true yard and your Dad's water wheel has just found a place in my dreams...lovely!

Ilona E from Ohio on November 16, 2011:

This is really a great garden ornament feature. Your family is full of talented artistic people, and I loved the pictures, too.

wolfie10 on November 13, 2011:

i would love to have one of them in my yard. beautiful

Ashly Rain on November 12, 2011:

Fantastic lens!!! Your father appears to be incredibly talented, and his tenacity is something to admire.

Art-Aspirations (author) on November 09, 2011:

@julieannbrady: My dad loves to chat about waterwheels. If you click over to his website and get in touch with him, I'm sure he'd be happy to talk with you.

julieannbrady on November 09, 2011:

Can I arrange a waterwheel consultation for my backyard? It looks fabulous and I've always loved the sound of a "waterfall" ... a waterwheel looks cool ... can I generate a little electricity too? [Jacksonville, FL]

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