I started writing this post when we were prepping for our garden tours in June. But I think it's worth sharing since it is really about the fact that even garden hardscaping needs attention over time. Just as with plants, nothing is ever really finished in a garden.
We designed our pond with one corner lower by a half-inch than the rest of the perimeter. Essentially it directs the overflow in a big rainstorm to that spot where it pours over the edge and follows the natural drainage path on our property. We turned that necessity into a garden feature by digging out the drainage path and lining it with rocks to make a dry stream when it's not raining.
Over the course of 20 years the smaller rocks have become embedded in dirt from years of rainy pond overflow. So Mark got a truck-load of gravel to top it up again.
This necessitated multiple trips up and down a sloping path with loads of rocks which he then spread around using a rake. He smiled for the camera but it was a tough job and one that I did not help him with, other than keeping him supplied with water.
Proper tools and safety measures are in evidence here: the water and ear protectors when using the leaf blower to clean out the area before he began working. He gives me a hard time when I make a banana smoothie because the blender is so noisy he thinks I need ear protection even for that! He is very good about using protective gear.
In addition to topping up the rocks in the stream, Mark added more mid-size boulders to emphasize the stream edges. We also pulled out a bunch of German iris plants that no longer bloom because of too much shade. So we added pine needles to make a path that skirts the edge of the stream.
This shows the corner of the pond that allows for the overflow during rainstorms. It is not really obvious that the edge right there is a fraction lower, but this is the only spot where water ever overflows during storms. The moss on the far right of this image is growing on hard-packed clay soil in a fair amount of sun. I frequently walk on this moss instead of the adjacent stepping stones. It is very low and flat and just filled in of its own accord with no help from me.
The stream splits when it goes under the bridge.
This view shows an area in the foreground that is ready for some new ground cover plants. The small gray gravel is the wheelbarrow working path that crosses the stream over a limestone paver that was once a step in our state capitol building. The mulched area to the left is the former moss garden which I am just beginning to redesign and plant.
Now that there have been multiple rain storms since Mark reworked the stream, the dust has washed off the rocks and they aren't such a pale presence any more. Just a beautifully refreshed feature and one that I enjoy every time I cross the stream — which is pretty much multiple times every day!