By Eric Triplett
Our work in this backyard was only part of a larger project – a big part, to be sure, but once we were done a landscape crew came on site and kept on working. That’s not unusual with a project on this scale, but we were so happy with our work that it was a bit disappointing not to paint the entire picture.
In some sense, however, I think this made us focus all the more on what was within our control as contractors. As we washed down the rockwork and saw the water gradually becoming clearer and clearer, we knew the space was special and that a lot of the finishing touches we were adding would be responsible for the degree to which the homeowners would enjoy the space for years to come.
The key for us is always creating opportunities for people to get close enough to the water to enjoy it, safe and secure in the knowledge that we’ve set up large, stable, flat stones in strategic places to allow the homeowners and their family and friends join in the experience. Some of the stones are for standing, others for sitting. Some allow people to cross over the stream: That’s something I always love finding when I’m out hiking along a watercourse, so why not here?
We intend for our work to be observed on all levels, not just from a select few. That’s why we focused on making the headwaters as presentable as possible, doing what it took with our source streams to make it seem as though the composition was fed by natural springs. And we stuck with that disciplined approach all the way down the slope.
As the water cleared, we could see how our decisions about waterfall shapes and pool depths and gravel use were all coming together. Fast and slow, deep and shallow, easy and cascading, planted and bare – we packed a lot of variety into a relatively small space, leaving behind a watercourse of soothing beauty that will bring smiles to the faces of all who come near.
A do-it-yourselfer might be able to achieve this, particularly if he or she takes the messages of this video series to heart. But as I see it, experience is the best teacher, and it’s not something that you pick up on the job the first time through – not by a long shot.
To see this project as we left it for the landscape crews, 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.