Hillside Water Garden

Berkeley, CA

Inspired by trickling High Sierra streams and emboldened by the success of water features designed for local clients, the architect and his wife Roslyn built their own miniature mountain stream over the course of several months.

First, the steep hillside was terraced by digging into the ground and filling lower Versalok block walls with the extra soil. A rounded terrace was created and next, a high backed eye-shaped pond. The deep water and higher walls behind were designed to discourage marauding raccoons. The wall below and to the right of the pond is bench height, ideal for sitting and relaxing pondside. Flagstone waterfalls cut into the more ordered block walls.

After the second waterfall, a river-rock lined stream flows from a small pond. The stream cuts through the smoothed Indian cobble terrace and plunges across one last flagstone waterfall into the lower pool.

A pump recirculates the water to the upper fall. Water plants and mosquito fish now make their home here. A great variety of birds bathe in the gentle stream and at the top of the falls. Hummingbirds are regularly seen splashing in a favorite flagstone channel above the lower fall.

For more information on the technical aspects of the pond components, visit Pondsaway, a helpful and knowledgeable business specializing in pond construction, located in Santa Cruz, CA.


Deck construction by Harlan Bradley, Carmel California

Landscape construction by the architect and his wife

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