By Eric Triplett
Earlier in this sequence of articles and videos, I mentioned how much I enjoy the fact that pond installation is an improvisational art form: You can roll through a design in your head and sketch it until your pencils are worn to nubs, but the reality is that working with boulders is a process of placement and on-site adjustment that ultimately brings a design vision to life.
That’s particularly true with waterfalls, which is why this single part of the series encompasses four videos and nearly 40 minutes of running time. And as you will notice, there are probably more edits and breaks here than you'll see in our documentation of any other phase of the installation process: It can take hours to get things right – and a degree of persistence that borders on obsession.
In fact, putting a waterfall together is all about trial and error: placing, stepping back and critically evaluating; working and reworking; and dealing with the raw physical exertion of wrestling what can be immensely heavy boulders into place. And all of that effort is necessary, because the waterfall generally becomes the visual and sonic anchor of the pond system. Decisions made here matter, and I want them to be correct.
A quick note about personal safety: As I mentioned previously, assembling a good installation crew is essential to success – and that’s true on many levels. Finding people I can trust to be physically strong as well as observant, quick and responsive under pressure is important because those are our hands on or under those rocks and liners; our feet that must rely on the work we’ve done so far being stable; and our backs that we put on the line to make certain each rock fits within the vision I have in my head. Gravity will eventually be our ally in locking things into place, but in the meantime it’s a huge hurdle we must overcome as a team.
To watch the process unfold, check out the episodes linked below in sequence – and don’t miss a handy tip we offer about getting around a shortcoming we encountered with the liner’s dimensions!
For part 1 of four parts on waterfall installation, click here.
For part 2, click here.
For part 3, click here.
For part 4, click here.
Eric Triplett is founder and chief executive officer at The Pond Digger Waterscape Design & Construction in Yucaipa, Calif. He may be reached at [email protected] ponddigger.com.