Last year we installed what I laughingly call ‘The Beach’ in a small area just outside the patio (less lawn area to mow, hurray). It is a patch of ground covered with round Caledonian pebbles, which are lovely pastel colours when dry and quite jewel-like when wet. The patio extends out into it as a path with a curve and a bit of height, so that it has the feel of a jetty. It is lovely to sit on the path, dangle your legs over the edge, soak up the sun and pick through the pebbles (I’ve always loved stones).
There’s a bench with its back to the copper beech hedge around the patio and the edge of the pebble area is marked with olive trees in terracotta pots. The borders at the back are in major development throes. They are in continuous shade (being north of next door’s house and fence) and the soil is still very heavy clay. Apart from grasses, euphorbia and crocosmia everything else has/is being devoured by slugs and snails. I’ve just planted some new things and I’ll see how it goes. Currently we are experiencing torrential rain and I can see the ‘S’ things sliding out into the open, so I don’t hold out much hope.
Our intention was always to put a water feature in the slight dip in the area and we’ve deliberated for the last year on what exactly to install. In the end it seemed right to put another extra large pebble (drilled) there for the fountain: like a mill-stone but more in keeping with the stony beach theme.
We swept back the pebbles and cut the membrane to install a reservoir so that the water will be recycled. Then it was back to digging clay. See what I mean!
Once the reservoir was in, levelled and the soil back-filled around it, the landscaping element was much more fun to do. We went looking for a few more large pebbles so that it didn’t look so isolated. Then we switched on the pump and hey pesto …. a water feature.
I am not the only one who likes pebbles by the looks of it!
Anyhow, within a few weeks we noticed that the drilled stone was routinely marked with bird droppings, so we kept an eye out to see what was using the rock as a perch. We discovered that most of the larger birds around the place love to drink from the fountain. The magpies enjoy hopping from rock to rock to the water. The dratted wood pigeons love to bask in the sun on the path and then cool down in the little stream.
And best of all, I’ve noticed that the woodpecker calls are a lot closer these days and the reason is that they also stop to drink at our new fountain too. Here is the beautiful green woodpecker (Picus viridis) cautiously flashing his red crown as he drinks: