Thursday, April 10, 2008

Water features

Many customers have asked me “how do you make a water feature”.

One of the hardest ideas I try to convey to my customers is the fact that I don’t make water features, they actually make themselves. Of course there are the basics like pond liner, pump, containment, rocks and gravel. You can explain that you dig a hole and you put in the pond liner, place the pump at the bottom, place rocks and the different physical aspects of building a puddle.

If you have been making water features long enough you will know that the water feature makes itself. You never know what you are going to get for materials. You can request from your vendors that you want some flat rocks for the falls and some tall rocks for the verticals, but really what you get is the luck of the draw. That is where making a water feature becomes an art. Each piece of art is different, just as in nature no two waterfalls are the same. So is true in trying to duplicate nature. When I get a customer to commit to a water feature as a part of a hardscaping package what I really am selling is trust. They will need to trust that water will be falling and that it will be beautiful. That is about all I can promise.

Don’t get me wrong I can take a picture and photo shop in some rocks and some water and give an overall rendering. But when it really comes down to the process it will generally not look at all like the rendering. The placement of one rock can change the dynamics of the entire project. I am not making this up. I have spent as much as two hours placing a 100 lb rock to get just the right look, or to change the flow of the stream altogether. It is such a wonderful process, and one I take so much pride in that process that I limit the number of water features I do each season so that I can pay attention to detail and be proud of the finished product. When someone asks me how I make a water feature I simply say “I don’t, they make themselves”.