By Eric Triplett
We’ve come to the part of the installation process that’s my personal favorite: finishing up the plant placement and setting the edges. This is, of course, part of every pond-installation project on one level or another, but with a frog pond, my approach is a little different.
As you’ll see in the video linked below (and may have noticed in previous installments), the profile of this frog pond is fairly low, with no big, dramatic rocks leading up to a big waterfall, for instance. Instead, the edges rise high enough that I can work with the liner to hide it while keeping the water where it belongs. But my objective, with the exception of a few larger rocks, is to give the frogs full command of the space in almost all directions.
For vertical accents, I rely instead mostly on plants, putting taller ones on the far side and working other large elements into the space beyond the pond rather than building up the edges. At the edges, the accent is on shelter; beyond the edges, I’m free to set off the pond like a gem in an elaborate setting.
One note: Rock placement, plant placement and edge development are all improvisational, and I work as I go in each area to make things work as the site takes shape through my mind’s eye. I see this as an individual activity (and as the main source of my own pride in a project), but I have to say that it’s insanely helpful to have someone else working with me to place dirt, move rocks, use a tamper, fetch materials and plants and, in general, allow me to keep my focus on the jumble of tasks at hand.
In this video (click here), my son provided the extra arms and hands that made things go smoothly. On larger projects, that arm/hand count can multiply many times, but it’s important that I keep my focus on the design, delegate tasks when I can, take opportunities to teach others what I know and how I do it – and always stay true to what I’ve been seeing as each specific phase of the project unfolds.
It’s nice to be visionary, but I know from experience that it’s a tough solo act.
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.