May 31, 2010
Water Feature Installation- Part II
Well it finally stopped raining long enough for me to finish the water feature today. Last week I found the rock I needed at the Bailey Stone Co. in Oneonta, AL. The rock I chose was Tennessee river rock, of which I purchased two sizes. One was the size of a large grapefruit or softball and the other the size of a golf ball to a small baseball. The rock had been smoothed and rounded by the force of the running water from which it was taken. It had varied colors and textures which made it even more appealing. I purchased five hundred pounds of the river rock and four hundred pounds of Alabama flagstone. I returned home and proceeded to install the underlayment fabric and pond liner in the prepared hole . The underlayment fabric is used to provide cushioning and protection from any sharp rock fragments that might puncture the liner. Once that was installed and smoothed out, I placed a row of brick pavers around the periphery to anchor the liner and hold down the edges. Next, I stacked pavers around the inside perimeter of the basin to raise the height of the millstone for a more dramatic effect. The pavers were stacked approximately 7-8 inches high, and a brick was placed in the middle to elevate the pump.
The pump was placed on the paver and the electrical cord pulled through a gap in the brick and up the side of the basin. The particular pump I found at Lowe's had two unique features. It has an automatic sensor that will automatically shut off the pump if the water level gets to low, and secondly, it also has a submersible light with a two foot cord so that the light can be placed in a strategic location along the periphery to illuminate the fountain at night. The millstone was then placed on the pavers and the fountain head lined up the center of the millstone. This was no easy task in that the millstone is made of granite and weighs in excess of 100 pounds. Next, I filled the basin with water and started the pump to make sure it would work properly. I had bought a fountain attachment for the pump and chose the head that both my wife and I agreed gave the best effect. Satisfied that everything was a go, I filled the basin with the river rock only to discover that I had not purchased enough rock! It's amazing how much rock you can fit into a hole 12" deep and about 4 feet in diameter. Anyway, Friday afternoon Cynthia and I made our way back to Oneonta to pick up another seven hundred pounds of river rock and about fifty more pounds of flagstone.
While we were there, we stopped at the Horton Mill Bridge, one of the covered bridges for which the area is noted. On the way home we stopped at A&P's Farm and purchased some strawberries, onions and fresh squash. I had a nice conversation with Andy about his farming methods and irrigation. He has a machine that basically creates a raised bed while simultaneously laying an irrigation line and covering the raised bed with black plastic. Andy told me that using the black plastic warms the ground faster, uses 40% less water, and yields four times more than conventional gardening techniques. Irrigation is from three ponds on the property that is pumped through the irrigation lines. Andy also told me that water soluble nitrates are pumped through the irrigation lines so that fertilization is more uniform and delivered directed to the root area of the plant. I was blown away by the technology. Cynthia talked with Paula, the other half of A&P about the availability of other vegetables and if they planned to have a stand at the Trussville Farmer's Market this summer. Paula indicated that they were going to sell their produce and the market would be located at the new Trussville Springs development on Hwy. 11. This is only about a mile from the house so I know we will be giving them some business this summer.
Back home with the rock, I pressure washed the round rock and flagstone to remove as much dirt and mud as possible. I had to remove the smaller rocks from the fountain, and finished filling the basin with the larger round rock which I felt was more pleasing to the eye and had offered more color combinations. The smaller rock was then added to fill in any holes and obscure the black liner around the edges. Next, I trimmed off the excess underlayment and liner and placed the flagstone down slowly to fit the pieces until a suitable pattern emerged.
Saturday, it rained and it rained and it rained. In between the deluge, I removed some sod so that the flagstone would be level. It was while trying to wedge up a 4" piece of sod that I pulled a muscle in my back. "Call it a day". The rest of the day was spent lying in a prone position, applying Icy-Hot to the affect muscles, and taking large doses of anti-inflammatory meds and pain relievers.
Sunday the rains continued and I continued to recuperate from the muscle strain. I did manage to get to Home Depot and purchase some pulverized rock used to level and secure pavers along with some pea gravel.
Today and the rains subsided. I arranged the flagstone and tried to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible, but not perfect. I put the paver material down and leveled the flagstone, then swept the excess into the cracks between the flagstone. Next I washed the pea gravel and swept it into the cracks in the flagstone and covered the outside edges with a thick layer to hold the paving material and flagstone in place.
Well it is finally finished and I have to say I am quite pleased with the end result. Friday night at the auction we got a great deal on a teak garden bench so now we can sit back and enjoy the new water feature.