Tuesday, June 5

Building a Dry Stream Bed

Building a Dry Stream Bed, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

This garden has a pond that appears to extend under a low deck. There will also be an overflowing urn fountain about 25 feet from the pond. The water will flow over the rim of the urn and disappear into a hidden reservoir under the container. We wanted to visually connect the urn fountain with the small garden pond as well as solve a drainage problem.

The solution was to build a dry stream bed using the same stones we used in the pond and around the urn. The dry stream gives an illusion of flowing water and in the imagination and mind of the garden visitors, the urn is a perpetually flowing source of clear fresh water for the pond.

In order to fool the eye and create as natural-looking a stream bed as possible, I took my inspiration from the way bedrock, boulders and cobbles come to rest in a mountain stream. Too many times when folks attempt to create a dry stream bed in their landscaping it results in something that looks really unnatural -- or worse. The tendency people have is to dig a swale or channel; line the edges with large rocks and fill the center with smaller river rock. That isn't the way river dynamics form streams in nature!

In the center of the above poster, you can see the rough sketch I started with before this garden was started. Fortunately I was able to stay involved in the construction process to make sure the final results matched what was in my head.

another view of the garden a little further along in construction:

Links that might help:


Above, more pix from this garden installation. Click on any of the photos to see a larger version, and from there, you can see the entire album. Enjoy!


pepektheassassin said...

You have talents I never dreamed of!

Meg in Nelson said...

I just found out about your landscaping flicker, so I shall revisit there in due course. I'm interested to see if you've worked on very slopy sites before.

And then there's the other problem - how do you improve an existing, horrible-looking garden... I still think Dr Maureen's house call is best - so get to work, make a lot of 'living' and save me!!!