By Eric Triplett
I’m generally a low-key guy, but I love almost everything about building waterfalls. I like discussing a site’s potential with my clients. I like going to the supply yard and selecting stone. And while I don’t mind letting others take the lead with the digging, I do like laying out shelves and setting the pond’s interior contours in ways that will maximize a waterfall’s drama and viewability.
But if you asked me what I like most about this process, it would have to be setting stones in our waterfalls and doing what it takes to turn visions into working reality.
As the videos linked below demonstrate, laying stones out into a pattern that will ultimately become a waterfall is a highly deliberate, highly improvisational art. You could study stones at the supply yard for hours and think you have things pretty well organized, but when you actually get on site and start wrestling with hard objects that can weigh hundreds or even thousands of pounds, your sense of control can take a beating if you lack patience, persistence and a mile-wide stubborn streak.
Encouraging and maintaining that sense of control is one of the reasons why, in the video, I so strongly recommend taking the occasional step back and viewing the scene from a range of vantage points around the site. For one thing, I know that working up close limits my larger, three-dimensional perception of what’s happening and that a bit of distance will help me see more clearly how the composition is coming together. Almost as important, my hands and back benefit from a break, however brief, from the job of pushing around big rocks.
This video has two parts: The first is about putting the stones in place (click here); the second is about finishing the job and using foam to lock the stones in place for the long haul (click here). The cool thing is that the parts were completed about a year apart, so the footage of the finished waterfall includes grown-in plants and really shows where we were headed when the whole process started.
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.