Award-winning landscape and water feature project in Ontario

Choice Logo120Creating large-scale ponds and streams that look as if they've always existed where they've just been built is much more difficult than you might expect. But it's one of Randy Tumber's specialties. For this project, Tumber & Associates rehabilitated a stagnant slough that collects runoff from the surrounding topography.

0208 20"Decades of neglect and anaerobic decomposition had created a deep sinkhole of thick clay muck nearly impossible to work with," says Jason Jayne, project manager for the Orangeville, Ontario, firm.

After taking a closer look, Tumber determined the sludge hole could be converted to a healthy 20,000-square-foot pond, though the hole required heavy excavation. "The pure mud conditions created difficulties in trucking it away, with excavators nearly being lost to the muck," says Jayne. "We installed huge 3- to 8-ton limestone boulders under the surface of the new water level to retain the pond and increase its depth. The final beautifully aerated pond quickly cleared due to the oxygenation of the new waterfalls, making it suitable for use. The entire meandering 250-foot-long water course was designed to flow from the upper entertaining and barbecue area to the newly engineered and enlarged pond."

Tumber also added a sandy beach to the pond area, and with a depth of 15 feet in spots, the family can safely dive from the shoreline.

"The whole area was naturalized with native plants, mature evergreens and beach pebbles," says Jayne. "There's even hand-selected driftwood to create instant permanence."

What the judges said:

Nonemaker"It's really tough to get every single stone placed appropriately on something this size, but for the most part, it looks like the hand of God put these there. This is someone who does a lot of work with boulders." ROBERT NONEMAKER, principal of Outerspaces, specializing in landscape and watershape design and construction, and Robert Nonemaker Exterior Designs, a watershape consultancy.

White"The project features a beautiful streambed that flows into a pond. I like the way the large boulders are used. They redirect the flow of water so that the stream meanders down the hillside rather than flowing straight into the pond. Appropriately sized stones, suitable water volume, and loose, mixed plantings also help to create a peaceful, naturalistic setting." LEE ANNE WHITE, photographer, landscape designer and writer; former editor-in-chief of Fine Gardening Magazine and author of numerous books including Taunton's Pool Idea Book.

Tisherman"What's making this work is how they're creating white water. They lined the bottom of the streambed with stones, which impede the water as it travels downstream. The water on the top of the stream is moving more quickly, creating turbulence - ripples, in this particular case. They make this look natural." DAVID TISHERMAN, principal and founder of David Tisherman's Visuals, principal and founder of Genesis 3 Design Group, and an award-winning designer and teacher.

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