Creating a beautiful stream in your garden - David Domoney
Not every garden already features the magical effect of water but creating a natural looking stream within your garden can help turn a blank canvas into a charming, animated space with many benefits.
When you’re out for a woodland walk and you hear the steady trickle of water and see the rippling surface of a stream, there’s something so enchanting and calming about it. So, harness the benefits within your own garden with a stream that’s either self-contained or flows down into a pond.
You don’t need to have a huge open water area for the stream to trickle in to, and you don’t need a mountain for the stream to begin. Instead, you can simply start off with a flat or slightly sloped expanse of grass and transform it into a pond-less stream which cascades down, for the water to be recycled over and over.
Start by skimming off the surface of the turf and digging out the area to hold the reservoir of water. This allows there to be a constant flow of water feeding through the stream. The reservoir or sump should be fitted with a pond liner. As this is a pond-less stream that doesn’t feature any large, open expanses of water, the sump can be made safe and accessible using Oase Maxima blocks. These are clever because they are really robust, enough to be walked or even driven on.
When digging, keep the soil nearby because the turf and soil will be reused in and around the stream to create a natural finished look.
Within the sump will also be a chamber like ProfiClear pump chamber where the pump goes inside to keep it protected. This means the pump is separate, with an easy window at the top, allowing easy access for maintenance.
Line the area
Streams don’t sit on the surface of the land, instead you’ll need to dig a trench to create the curvatures for the liner to sit in. This means you can create a meandering effect to achieve a relaxed and informal ambience. At the top of the pond, situate the Spillway Box 15000, it may look like just a box, but it is an important element in the stream.
The strength and durability of it means it can withstand much weight on top of it so it can be disguised by rocks and plants for a natural finish. This bit of kit manages the flow and spread of the water for an even, smooth cascading of water.
When you get to the stage of putting the liner down, you want to secure it in place with large rocks and boulders. Not only is this practical to keep the liner secure but also helps the space to look natural because it allows the plastic to be covered.
One of the most exciting parts of this process is choosing the plants as the finishing touches. Before planting, it may be ideal to mound up lots of soil around the edges to create a natural finish, rather than a flat, two-dimensional appearance on the surface.
When the soil is in place it can be left to establish and settle before planting the array of perennials and shrubs. Among your choices, I highly recommend using an assortment of ferns to reinforce the soft, relaxing atmosphere. Polypodium dryopteris (oak fern) is bright green in colour, thriving in a shaded spot with moist but well-drained soil. On the other hand, Athyrium niponicum var. pictum (painted lady fern) has lance shaped fronds that grow up to 30cm long that are darker green-grey in colour, with a purple tinge. This type also thrives in shaded or partial shaded spots, which makes it perfect for positioning under an established tree or shrubbery.
The yellow, green, and bright orange foliage of euphorbias add some vibrancy to the corridor of plants surrounding the stream. Choose a variety like Euphorbia palustris (marsh spurge) which flourishes in permanently moist spots with plenty of sun or opt for a shade tolerant type like Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs Robb’s bonnet).
Although, it’s not all about the foliage, Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove) does the trick of encouraging pollinators to the area.
The final addition is LunAqua Power LED which illuminates the pond through the evening to make it an inviting space all year round. The lights can be used around the perimeter of the stream or can even be placed within the water for a spectacular shimmering effect.
Benefit from the beauty of water by creating a beautiful pond-less stream in your garden. With these tips for practicalities and plants, you’ll have a thriving space that appeals to wildlife too.