Friday, June 28, 2013

Our Magnificient Waterfall


Nature's SurroundSound

The ultimate spot on the pond that provides endless hours of fun for our children and dog and endless hours of peace for us is our magnificent waterfall.

Our Waterfall,  Cedarmere Farm

Like most people, Bob and I love the sound of water (actually, I am OBSESSED with the sound of water!).


Our Waterfall,  Cedarmere Farm


We thought a large waterfall that begins up a hillside, meanders its way down the hill and ends up in the pond would look spectacular.  The waterfall we envisioned would be about 90 feet long and would require about 80 tons of rocks and boulders.... 
Foolish?  Ambitious?  Why Not!


An Ambitious Project -- Well Worth the Risk!

A waterfall of the size and scope we envisioned was an ambitious project and one that could be either totally fabulous or disastrous (visually and financially).  But because we had the space and I am obsessed with streams and waterfalls -- I find the sound of trickling, running, rushing, and crashing water very soothing -- we decided to take our chances.  We knew that we needed to be careful in identifying the right person for the job. Because our desired waterfall would be so large and I had a specific vision for it, I knew I had to find a person who was as obsessed about water as I was.  In addition, because recreating nature is not a simple task, this person must be patient and meticulous in placing each stone, rock, and boulder.

As luck would have it, the very first person I contacted was Kenny Lowry, owner of Southern Grace in Madison, Virginia (which is really close to our farm).  Kenny and I spent a whole day chatting.  After learning about Kenny's background and interests, I knew that he was our man for the project.  Kenny was raised along the banks of the Shenandoah River in the Valley of Virginia.  His greatest childhood memories are beside mountain streams. Kenny still spends a lot of his hiking and backpacking time along mountain streams and waterfalls.

Kenny's obsession with the way water flows down cliffs, boulders, and streams is what helps him succeed in building water features professionally:
"I love to watch and study the way water flows over rocks and boulders; it's easy to get lost in the movement of water over rocks and boulders....  I draw from hours of observation to build my water features.  I have created thousands of water features the last 15 years, some large and some small. I have shipped them all over the country.  They were all bought for the same reason: to hear and see water moving."
Kenny explained that building water features is very easy for him because
"the rocks show me how and where to place them to recreate nature.  The best way to describe rock placement is the way a sculptor once told me 'the object is in the rock, I just have to uncover it by chipping away all the rock that's keeping me from seeing it.'"
In addition, Kenny explained that before starting a waterfall, you should
"look at the lay of the land.  Does it slope or is it flat?  Are there trees to wind the stream around?"
And finally, Kenny suggested that you
"[c]lose your eyes and paint the picture [of the waterfall] in your head.  Take a shovel and scratch the outline in the dirt.  The hardest part is to get over the fear of just starting.  Every water feature I have ever built started with a mental picture and the first shovel of dirt."


Our First and Most Difficult Challenge: Our "Stonehenge"


Cedarmere Farm

After the excitement of creating a "Stonehenge" was over (see, "Water, Water, Everywhere" Post, April 15, 2013), I began to worry that it would create an ungainly sight when it came time to build our waterfall.  Kenny did not let that be an obstacle; instead, he saw it as a creative challenge.  (Lucky us!)

Participating in the design of the waterfall was the most amazing project Bob and I had ever engaged in; it was very challenging, but also incredibly satisfying as the ideas became concrete and the project progressed.


Project Design

Two Streams

First, we decided that it would be interesting to have one stream running under StoneHenge down the hill ...


Stream Meandering Under StoneHenge
Cedarmere Farm

Another View of Stream Meandering Under StoneHenge
Cedarmere Farm

... and another stream running parallel downhill, but on the outside of StoneHenge ...

Stream Meandering Next to StoneHenge
Cedarmere Farm

   ... it continues to meander downhill ...

Stream Meandering Next to StoneHenge
Cedarmere Farm


We envisioned that while the two streams meandered their way down into the pond, they would meet various obstacles causing water to glide over flat boulders, trickle over small rocks, crash against larger boulders, and cascade down drops of various heights.

.... gliding softly over flat boulders,

Our Waterfall, Cedarmere Farm

Our Waterfall,  Cedarmere Farm

Our Waterfall,  Cedarmere Farm


... trickling over small rocks,

Stream Meandering Down To Pond
Cedarmere Farm

... crashing against large boulders,

Crashing Down Large Boulders, Cedarmere Farm


Crashing Down Large Boulders, Cedarmere Farm

Crashing Down Large Boulders, Cedarmere Farm

...  cascading gracefully down drops of various heights,

Our Waterfall,  Cedarmere Farm

Our Waterfall,  Cedarmere Farm

Our Waterfall, Cedarmere Farm

Our Waterfall, Cedarmere Farm

Our Waterfall, Cedarmere Farm

And then, the two streams would 
cascade down into a swimming hole

Two Streams Cascading Down Into Swimming Hole
Cedarmere Farm

Swimming Hole

Bob and I have always loved to dunk in swimming holes we found while hiking.  So, of course, we asked Kenny to build a swimming hole.  This swimming hole is about 20 feet across and holds about 30,000 gallons of water. (Yes, it's more like a swimming "pool" than a swimming "hole"! ).  To make it easier for little children (and old folks like us) to get into the swimming hole, Kenny built amphitheatre-style steps.  Kenny is not only artistic, but is also very practical.  (Again, lucky us!)

Swimming Hole and Alex
Cedarmere Farm

Views of Swimming Hole 

View of swimming hole from pump house

Swimming Hole
Cedarmere Farm

Delosperma cooperi
Delosperma cooperi
I love the contrast between the hard cold boulders and the brilliant colors of this ice plant.








Swimming hole cascading down to pond

Swimming Hole Cascading Down To Pond
Cedarmere Farm

Swimming hole and pond at dusk

Swimming Hole
Cedarmere Farm


The Last Descent

The water leaves the swimming hole through two more waterfalls and rushes down a short but impressive path down into the pond.

Water Cascading Down Into the Pond
Cedarmere Farm

Water Cascading Down Into the Pond
Cedarmere Farm


Put them all together and we have
our dream waterfall!


Our Waterfall, June 2013
Cedarmere Farm


Thanks Kenny, 
                                                 Christa, Bob, kids, and dog




BTW: If you ever want to build anything water related (a small bird bath, a garden pond, or a ginormous waterfall), you MUST first contact Kenny Lowry at Southern Grace.  He is willing to travel.  Here is his contact information:

Kenny Lowry
Southern Grace
540-948-2239
kenny@southerngraceva.com



2 comments:

  1. Christa... How lovely! Not sure i would ever get any work done. Thinking that pretty yellow chair would make the perfect place to read! Know your family loves this area! Kenny is talented in deed! Hope your 4th was fantastic! Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan,
      Thank you, we had a fantastic 4th. It's such a wonderful day. I hope you had a great one too.
      Christa

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