Michael, the kids and I did all of the work creating our water garden ourselves.  Friends and neighbors also willingly stepped in on occasion to help us clear the stumps and move some boulders when necessary.  Michael and I came up with the design and layout of the water garden on paper before a shovel was ever placed into the ground.  We worked together clearing the yard, mixing and pouring concrete, and constructing the water garden in general.  Michael was in charge of the bulk of the digging, electrical and plumbing work, while I was responsible for most of the landscaping duties (design and aesthetic issues, dirt and rock placement, plants, etc.).  The final result was very much what Michael and I had envisioned, which couldn't have made us happier.

August 17th 2002

Work continues - The water garden begins to take shape:

Green marking paint shows where the water will flow. The yellow marking paint indicates where the flagstone steps will be placed.

The Rose Festival Airshow was going on, so we were entertained by the jets flying overhead in formation as we worked.

August 22nd 2002

The Montana River Rock, Flagstone, and Basalt Boulders Arrive:

 

August 24th 2002

The First Test:

Michael tests the lower falls using a garden hose.

This is the first time we had ever turned on the water to the upper falls area. It worked!

The upper streambed is filling with water. It becomes obvious to us that we are going to have to do more flow control work at the head of the fountain.

Michael rests, enjoying the fact that the water does flow as it was meant to.

A celebratory drink.

Despite the apparent success of the piping system, we found that we had a leak somewhere in the bed system. Over a number of days of trying to track down the leak (and re-doing two of the waterfalls), we lost a lot of water out of the main pond. The lack of pressure against the walls, combined with the saturation of the dirt with water from the leak (which turned out to be at a gasket point in the upper falls), caused a catastrophic collapse of the southern wall of the main pond (where the trench had been dug for the piping). We were forced to dig out the collapse and put in a form in order to pour concrete there. Once we had tracked down the leak, we also poured concrete in the base of the upper falls before re-doing the whole gasket/liner system in the top pond. It was a very frustrating and time-consuming setback.

 

The next page shows the whole front yard beginning to come together as rock placement and landscaping continue to evolve in our water garden project.