Lessons from the world leader in water features and pond design
A number of things have helped establish Aquascape products as the best and most popular water gardening solutions in the world. A continuing commitment to excellence is a way of life at Aquascape. We’re pleased to represent these fine products in western Canada. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the water feature and pond design philosophy of the world’s water feature leader.
Build to scale
Many people try to build water features that are too large for the size of the yard. The key to a great looking water garden is to make everything to scale. If a natural slope exists on the property, you have a palette to work with, allowing higher waterfalls. On flat surfaces, waterfalls that are too high tend to look like chimneys rather than natural falls. Keeping to a height of two or three feet offers a great looking waterfall that’s easy to maintain. Well designed, your waterfall usually looks larger than it actually is.
Construct a proper berm
As the base of your waterfall, a proper berm is of utmost importance. The biggest mistake contractors make is building a berm that’s too small, and therefore out of scale. We use all the excavated soil to form the base of the berm. Our BioFalls are the apex of our waterfalls. We compact the clean topsoil even with the rim of the BioFalls for at least a few feet around it. If surrounding earth looks “piled up,” it will appear contrived rather than natural. Also, leave room for terrestrial plants. Planting the surrounding area directly beside the BioFalls and stream will help immensely in making the waterfall blend into its setting.
The role of biofalls in waterfall construction
The BioFalls plays a valuable, if not crucial, role in waterfall construction. It enables water discharged from the pump to pool up and flow downstream. The discharging of fast-moving water out of a pipe doesn’t allow the water to pool up, spread out, and flow naturally as our BioFalls do. Our solution is much more natural. The BioFalls also speeds up construction. Rocks can easily be fitted into places beneath the BioFalls snout. When the BioFalls is installed, the base of the entire waterfall is complete.
Use the same stone throughout
We use a consistent type of stone called Aqua-Blue. Quality actually increases when you work with the same stone, for a number of reasons. Using the same type creates consistency and lets you maximize each rock’s effects due to their predictable properties. This lets the designer visualize how the water will flow, and to imagine the sound accurately.
Don’t use too much stone
To avoid a cluttered look, place your stones carefully. Remember, the look you want to achieve is that of water having eroded away the earth and exposed the stones. If you create a mountain of stone, you lose the natural appearance. And vary the shape and size of the rocks in a stream and in the waterfalls for a natural look.
Use expanding foam
Water seeks its own level. Traditionally, contractors use mortar to channel the water where they want it to travel and to secure the stones in place over the liner. The problem is that mortar cracks easily. Cold temperature and shifting soil causes the mortar to slowly separate from the stones and eventually detach. Expanding foam on the other hand has favorable properties for use in waterfalls. It flexes and gives. It can be sprayed between cracks and will expand to fill the voids.
Work with curves when building streams
The biggest mistake contractors make with streams is to build them too narrow and too straight. This makes them prone to leaks and doesn’t look natural. We use ten-foot-wide EPDM liners, allowing us the freedom to twist and turn a stream into a natural look. The average stream we build has areas that narrow down to two feet at the turns and widens out to six or seven feet on the straight-aways.
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