By Eric Triplett
I’ve often seen rock placement described as an “improvisational art” by others who’ve written for WaterShapes, and I couldn’t agree more. Once the liner’s in place and it’s time to dress it up with everything from large boulders to tiny gravel, I get the sense that this is less a construction task than it is an exercise in creative manipulation.
You’ll see some of that creativity on display in the two videos linked below, but what you’ll also see is that experience really does count: In setting rocks in place, you end up handling and rotating and flipping and fine-tuning the positioning of dozens or hundreds or even thousands of the final composition’s individual pieces. It’s a process I know took me a lot longer to complete when I first started out in this business, and I’m willing to concede that what I now do with relative speed looks significantly better than what I did when I “took my time” while first learning the ropes.
Couple points: You’ll notice that we work without gloves. That’s another sure sign of experience, because this work is brutal on the hands and it takes a long time to develop the callouses and finger strength required to make the work go quickly. The second thing is, if you’re going to be in a situation where folks are tossing rocks from place to place – even if the distances are short – you need to be working with people you trust.
And a final note: Most clients (and some professionals) have a hard time believing that pond liners are as tough as manufacturers say they are. You can take my word for it, they are remarkably durable, or else this business of adjusting and readjusting rocks would be even more difficult than it is. They do tear and can get pinched, of course, but from my perspective, we couldn’t be working with a better material than the 45-mil EPDM liners we recommend to our clients.
To watch us install rocks on the lower level of the pond and around the fish cave, click here. To see the process on the top level, with the coping and near the skimmer, click here. And as always, be sure to watch to the end: I may sign off early, but there are details that follow!
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.