When my wife and I decided to completely redo the back yard, we decided we wanted a water feature in one corner (this was prior to my even thinking of a garden railroad). We wanted something as natural looking as possible, and we wanted something that one could really hear. After looking at many commercially-produced fountains (some quite large and made for a large corner space), it became obvious that nothing we could buy "off the shelf" would work. They all looked like just what they were - artificially produced resin imitations of rock.
One of my best and oldest friends, Mick Murray, was then living only a few blocks away. A professional bricklayer and stone mason, we contracted him to build us a water feature. The only constraints we place upon the job were the two previously mentioned - it had to look natural, and it had to be loud enough to be easily heard, without being overwhelming. Other than that, we turned him loose.
Mick designed and built the falls from scratch using natural stone. The central stone alone is over three-feet tall, and weighs over 1000 pounds. Pretty darn good, especially considering he'd never before built any kind of water feature! Cathy and I couldn't be happier with the end result!
This was taken today, 2/24/01. It's obviously been raining. The track in front of the falls is temporarily supported on 3/4" pressure-treated plywood. I plan for a Howe Through Truss scratchbuilt from redwood to replace this temporary deck. Hopefully, this summer will see that project completed.
SCLCo No. 1 crosses in front of Mick-elangelo Falls on the temporary bridge.
The Falls are equipped with spa lights, and look pretty terrific at night too!! This photo was taken prior to the railroad installation.
This photo is from July of '99, and was taken just after the project's initial completion. Once we decided on which plants to use, Mick came back and built planters into and around the Falls.