At Ian Barker Gardens, our mission is to create beautiful, functional and timeless gardens. Our Balwyn project, designed and constructed 11-years ago, is a true testament to this. Ever since we first published images of this project, we’ve had several questions asking how we created this incredible water feature.
So, due to popular demand, we’ve decided that it’s time to let you in on the secrets behind how we created this masterpiece.
A bit of background
Like all of our projects, the water feature began as a design – created by Ian Barker himself. Our clients had large glass doors in their lounge room that connected the interior to the landscape. Ian wanted to create a timeless feature that our clients could enjoy from both inside and outside – and the design of this water feature was born. Construction was no easy feat and below we’ve outlined each step of the detailed process:
The first step was the excavation phase. Our construction team did this by hand, rather than using machinery, to protect the root structure and sensitivity of existing large trees on the property.
After the excavation was complete, we constructed the hidden steel and pipework. You can see where we created a holding bay to house the pump in the top right of the image.
Next, we completed the concrete foundation pour, ensuring all the preliminary electrical and plumbing works were in place.
We used polished black granite for the exterior walls and secured the slabs together utilising a product called Megapoxy (a.k.a a super, super glue). This was a critical phase as the walls had to be millimetre perfect – even the slightest incorrection would disable the water from flowing evenly. Once the walls were in place, we waterproofed and bandaged the base of the feature. The three plinths you can see in the photo provided the foundation on which the glass-reinforced concrete bowls (GRC) would sit.
The next stage was to secure the GRC bowls on top of the plinths. You can also see here that we have run some cable to prepare for the install of lights.
The second last step was installing the lights and finalising our construction in preparation for the water to be poured.
The final step was the most nerve-wracking. As the water poured into the feature, we held our breath with anticipation, hoping that everything would work as planned. Seeing this result was possibly one of the most satisfying elements of the build.
The final structure we created was a 290mm deep rectangular polished black granite pond constructed on a reinforced concrete base, with three bowls sitting atop the pond’s surface, creating the illusion that they are floating. Water flows out of the bowls into the pond and then again over the pond’s edge, into a hidden reservoir. When the water feature is running, you can hear a subtle cascading of water, while the ripples created on the surface appear calm and still. Thanks to the polished black granite, the pond is highly reflective and provides a mirror image of the bowls, sky and magnificent trees above. We repurposed existing Buxus plants located on our client’s property to create a lush green surrounding as a finishing touch.