Just add water
Make a splash for natural impact
Habitat profiles four water feature projects from around Perth and asks their creators to share their tips for incorporating water into the garden.
This stunning 1m-wide, 15m-long pond was fabricated in one piece and installed with a crane into a West Leederville garden.
Bryn Sergeant, of Steel Planters, said the pond was originally meant to be rectangular but the plans were changed to accommodate a big tree at the further end.
Steel Planters, which along with its sister company Flux Impressions specialises in custom steel work and timber items for outdoor areas of the home, worked on the water feature with Tim Davies Landscaping, which constructed the upper feed.
The raised decking offsets the pond, which has been sealed inside and filled with koi.
Steel Planters, 0438 002 796, steelplanters.com.au.
This semi-naturalistic creek bed was created by landscape designer Janine Mendel, of CultivArt.
“It’s designed to look like a dry riverbed when it’s not flowing so the rock placement is very important, ” Ms Mendel said of the look, which was part of the design of her own Karrinyup garden. “It takes a very talented landscaper to place the rocks as they may appear in nature and make this type of water feature look natural.
“The impetus for this design was that I wanted a natural look but also something that would look equally good without water in it.
“It can be challenging incorporating a naturalistic water feature in a contemporary context so it’s important to make it an integral part of the overall landscape design, rather than an isolated design element.”
The feature is filled with WA river stones sourced from Creation Landscape Supplies in North Fremantle.
A big subsurface reservoir tank houses a dirty-water pump in the base and the water is piped back to the overflow via a bio filter, which removes any bacteria.
Constructed from a butyl liner, Ms Mendel said the shape of the water feature was formed with sand. “This allows for the larger rocks to be embedded into the base of the liner, giving a more natural look, ” she said.
“Once these have been placed then smaller pebbles fill in the gaps so no liner is exposed.”
Although chlorine is occasionally added to remove any algae from the pebbles, Ms Mendel said it was a very low-maintenance water feature, requiring little upkeep since it was installed seven years ago. CultivArt, 0414 865 747, cultivart.com.au.
Reminiscent of 1970s nature-inspired Japanese designs, this feature weaves naturally into the existing contour and elevation of the sloping Cottesloe garden.
“In a way this is more of a retro style of water garden, ” Andrew Beck, of Sustainable Garden Design, said.
“The client’s request was that we create a two-tiered waterfall entering into an existing pond, as well as a recirculating stream incorporating the weathered moss-covered limestone from the site.
“It was essential to them that they could move around the pond and access every section of the terraced garden with ease.”
Access to all levels of the terraced garden was achieved through the creation of a natural limestone staircase, enclosing the pond. This is punctuated with informal sitting spaces, spiralling gently up towards the top of the garden.
Mr Beck said time was the biggest cost due to the large pieces of capstone, some weighing up to 180kg, which were carefully moved by hand and mortared in place. One particularly big, elongated piece of limestone was selected to create a natural bridge, spanning the pond and allowing access to a previously unused part of the garden.
Another challenge was to carry out the installation without disrupting the native goldfish and blue marron in the existing pond.
Sustainable Garden Design, 0405 303 824, sustainablegardendesignperth.com.
Ascher Smith, of SolScapes, used her skills in horticulture and technology to create a simple yet beautiful water feature for this Swanbourne garden.
Ms Smith said the feature, which consists of a big granite bowl with customised, stainless-steel spouts, was well thought-out.
“I like to custom design all of our water features to offer a purpose-built application for each client and design, ” she said.
“I feel water features are more timeless when they blend into their surrounds.”
The installation process was timed to coincide with other work at the home.
“Part of the installation had to happen prior to the brick rendered boundary wall going up so the plumbing and electrical (work) could be run through at this time, ” Ms Smith said. “This meant the water feature design and installation became an important part of the early construction phase in the landscaping.
“It’s much easier to incorporate a water feature into your design and construction earlier on rather than adding them in at a later stage.” SolScapes, 0422 069 310, solscapes.com.au.
Pictures: Peta North
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