When my husband and I purchased our home it was sitting on 2 acres of what could already be called a quiet sanctuary. We had the mountain, the trees and plenty of deer and other wildlife. My husband and I would sit on our deck and talk about someday building a Koi pond and waterfall. Our dream was to have the waterfall flow from down the mountain and as we sat outside: the sound of water would complete the setting.
Even at night, or especialy then, there is serenity.
The project began like most others, with a contractor to clear the trees, and dig the pond. We were given a completion date, and were excited that we were on our way to fulfilling our place of refuge. The contractor worked a day, and then disappeared for several days, at which time I called and told him to retrieve his equipment from our property. Refusing to be a “victim” of his work schedule, I began to complete the work myself.
I had just taken early retirement to do things which brought me more personal satisfaction, and this certainly fit the bill. If you saw me, you would think that this little lady would never be able to complete such an enormous task. I am all of 5’4” and weigh about 120 pounds. My son, Chris and I commenced to renting the heavy equipment and digging the pond.
The stones used to build the pond, were delivered by truck and deposited on our driveway. I carried each stone up the hill and began laying them for construction of the pond. When I got to the waterfall part which required much larger stones, I called in a couple of professionals to help with the load. These men showed me how to dig the hole in the side of the mountain to make it as though the water was coming out of the ground. Perfecto!
Early Fall. The fan shaped steps are to the left. I called in a brick mason to build the fireplace.
Upon completion of the Koi pond, I began to use a shovel and bricks to create “fan-shaped” steps which would lead to a bench we had installed near the water. Each brick in these steps was carefully and lovingly placed to make the walk to the oasis easy and inviting. Once this was done, I looked around and knew that I wasn’t finished. To make it all come together I began to take what was once unused and under-utilized areas of our backyard and make those areas part of our sanctuary.
Koi Pond, early Spring. There is an iron mermaid sitting on right side of the pond by the main waterfall.
Early Spring, the Koi emerge from below.
The sound from various water sources fills the atmosphere.
When not sitting on the bench by the pond, we relaxed on the open porch.
View [zoom] from the bench by the pond.
Sometimes, we need to give Mother Nature a hand, and embrace and improve on what we are given. I had never been a brick-layer or landscape architect, but had a vision and determination to create something special. If I can do it, pretty much anyone can.
Night view from back/kitchen exit of the house.
Our sanctuary is comforting and beautiful 24 hours a day. When we added a water feature on the back side of the house; the sounds of serenity began to echo around all who desire to partake.
This was previously a wooded area. [side back yard]
View of side back; in the Summer, the planters were used to grow vegetables. Part of the previously wooded area.
This place is now one that I rarely visit. We gave up this sanctuary when we sold this home to a larger family, deserving of all its glory. The main reason this family wanted our home was the peaceful feeling they experienced while visiting – and not wanting to leave. This sanctuary was a gift of love to ourselves when we, along with nature, created it…it was a gift of love to allow it to belong to someone else.
Friends were stunned that I was willing to let go of the sanctuary which I had worked for many months to create. We had enjoyed it for several years and it felt as though we were "paying it forward" for others to enjoy. The new owners told me that they could have never created such a space. Maybe they're right about that. What I do know is that my feeling of elation trumped my feeling of loss upon walking away. We can go there when we choose; but it feels better to have given them this gift of serenity, than to now go visit what is no longer mine.
We are now working on creating a special sanctuary at our new home. It takes time, much preparation, and work. I look forward to sharing this new place of peace. This one is starting from inside the home.
Copyright: 2010, joyonboard
All photos from personal library