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Built river beds

Catherine Stewart

Catherine Stewart

November 22, 2012

A natural-looking water course is not the easiest thing to design and build, but in many naturalistic gardens, anything more formal or artificial looking would jar. I won’t go into all the issues of waterproofing and correct falls here, as this gallery is about the look, rather than the construction details. A natural water course doesn’t even have to have permanent running water. A dry stream or creek-bed can channel run-off water during rain but be dry at other times, which can be a good way to prevent erosion of nearby surfaces and garden beds.

Get out into your local bush or forest to observe how nature does it best, but by looking through the photo gallery here, you should be able to pick out some important design points:

1. Use the largest rocks to define the main outline of the river bed and then, working inwards to the centre of your stream, infill with medium-sized rocks, small rocks and then pebbles for the centre of the stream.

2. Place one or two larger boulders in the centre of your stream

3. Mix irregular or jagged boulders and larger rocks with smoother rounded pebbles

4. Using the stone that’s local to your area will always work best

5. Clumping and strap-leaf plants like grasses, rushes, sedges, ferns and bromeliads have good texture contrast against the solid rock

Click on any photo to see a larger image slideshow. You can also click photos in the slideshow to see a full-size version.
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