The Centre Bed incorporating the Water Feature
Following completion of the steps we turned our attention to the centre bed. As has been said, this was originally an ornamental pond with a central fountain. When we came to Leahurst the surrounding wall was in a poor state, the pond had been filled in and was being used as a flower bed. We had a new surrounding wall built outside the original when the swimming pool was installed and continued to use the bed for planting. We thought that more could be made of of this and decided to make a tiered bed with a central monolith as a focal point.
The centre bed as it had been since the pool was installed - and starting work on excavating the soil
As a water feature the central point of the bed would have a stone monolith with a hole drilled through it so that water could be pumped up to cascade down the sides of the stone into a reservoir tank beneath - the image above shows the channel dug to lay the electric supply to the pump.
The reservoir tank in place with the start of the second tier - and the second tier completed
The second tier was built up above the level of the rim of the reservoir tank. The space between the tank and the surrounding brickwork was filled with sand and aggregate and a smooth concrete surface layed funnelling water that would land on it back down into the tank.
The grid in place with a butyl liner over the surrounding concrete - and the finished project
It was necessary to overlay the concrete surrounding the tank with a butyl pond liner lipping over the tank so that no water would be lost. The water would be pumped up through the monolith to cascade down to the surrounding stones on its way back to the tank to complete it's cycle.
The soil in the lower tier would inevitably be very dry as it has quite little depth over the old concrete surround for the oginal pool. Consequently here we decided to plant succulents such as Semper Vivans. The upper tier, on the other hand, would still be well drained but nowhere near so dry - ideal for small Alpine plants. The water would simply recirculate and would only need topping up to compensate for evaporation.
The Alpines ready for planting - and the tiered beds early on
The finished project with the planting more established
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