Then there's the art of blending. For a "Natural Water Feature" to be convincing you have to blend it into it's surroundings.
This was built, my clients told me, "By a well known pond builder", not a Landscaper!
My clients called it "The Great Wall".
Although building anything with this type of rock is difficult, with experience it's possible to create something that looks very natural....but you've got no chance if the rocks are all similar in size, because again these are DIY rocks, and they are all similar in size because that's all the Merchants (that the Landscapers deal with) sell!
The biggest mistake he's made here is to not allow enough space to blend it in. The way it's been done it could never look anything other than a wall of rock. Basically a complete lack of imagination, and with Naturalistic Design and Build you must have plenty of imagination to be able to visualise the end result...BEFORE you start to build!
Next you'll see how we rebuilt it...make a visual note of the pines behind...
These are exactly the same rocks, but used with the addition of some very interesting pieces (which you cannot buy from Stone Merchants or Builders Yards) which make all the difference.
Also we have enlarged the pool itself and brought it further out from the fence. And that allows for more depth for the "Upper Waterfalls" and of course for the planting that blends it into the background.
As it was built before, there was no space to plant.
Sorry about the quality of the image...I stole it off the Internet...perhaps they'll sue me!
Here's a smaller very unimaginative version...why bother to do something like this for your clients??? It's just a wall with what appears to be nothing behind it, just space and presumably the pipes sticking out the back!
Again this is an advert for their work, so again they must think this is acceptable!
So anymore clues to help you to find the right person to create your dream garden? Well...
If only it was that easy!
Here's a ladies dream...she was told (I presume) that "they knew what they were doing". She was told (I presume) that "the ground would hold water". But I knew after just 5 seconds of looking at the ground that there was never any way that it would have held water!
Now what else might help you? Coming up next...if you saw this crew perhaps you might have an inkling that something wasn't quite right...
No problem I'll look after the fishy for you...just until the pond stays full, which of course it will...it's just global warming you see, nothing at all to do with us, and the boss says to ask for our money please...
Doesn't it just bring a smile to your face...but not if you paid somebody to build this!
If you look closely you can just see the two "Natural Streams" pouring out from the heap of rock...errr sorry, from the "Rock Garden".
And just look how cleverly they've planted the little crevices...so natural, you would think you were looking at a real mountain!
And this? I cannot bring myself to even think what they thought they were going to do next!
Now this IS a good piece of stone work...good, if it was a wall that is...but "Natural", I don't think so.
I call this the "Omaha" because it looks like it belongs on Omaha Beach with a machine gun sticking out of it!
The person that built this is a "Qualified Landscaper", which means he's got paper qualifications, which prove he can build walls, as you can see, but when it comes to "Natural Water Features", he doesn't have a clue about artistic or subtle.
You cannot be taught to create something that compares to the real thing, it's a feel, it comes from walking in mountains, from studying not books, but nature.
It comes from studying how water moves over and around rocks and with practice it's possible to recreate (in a very small and humble way) the work of Mother Nature.
And when you've got that you then have to create something that looks really natural in such a way that it DOESN'T LEAK!
And that to Landscapers (however good they might be at everyday Landscaping), is the difficult part and why they cannot avoid building monstrosities like this one, and most of the others in this section too!
Please no more!
Terrible use of rock...again too many all the same size and shape.
Another thing you have to have experience with is the "Power of Nature"...you need to know where to, and where NOT to, build water features.
There's almost always a way to accommodate Mother Nature, but it takes years of experience to get right...and even then sometimes you can get caught out. But experience allows you to build in options that allow you to modify your plans if necessary.
Here you can see a stream, well I say that, but you probably can't with so much rock! If you look closely you can just see a "paving slab" used as a waterfall, just above the top right of the birdbath. But what you can't see is that it comes out about twenty feet back up the hillside...so it's a fairly long stream.
Another fine mess! The water became trapped below the liner. AND THAT'S BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T EXPERIENCED ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW TO BUILD A LINED STREAM ON A HILLSIDE!
And whilst we're looking at this, a very common mistake is to build ponds that are too small for the streams that they have to fill.
Mathematically you have to know how much water, and therefore how large the bottom pond has to be, for the design to work.
As I mentioned previously, here's a fairly long stream, but there's not enough water in the bottom pond to fill the stream. In other words the pond would be pumped dry and still the stream wouldn't be full enough to recirculate.
To supply enough water for a stream this length, the bottom pool should have been at least SIX times the size.