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Diggin' It

A waterfall that really rocks

All rocks aren't the same. The ones installed with a waterfall in an Oregon yard make it a special place.

(Page 2 of 2)



But Michael likes challenges. “I eat these things up. I thought, we can do it, if we do it just right,” he says.

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The crew started work the second week in December. The neighbors offered to let the landscape workers use their yard as a staging area. A large gravel landing — which later became the foundation for the house addition — was built on the uphill site so dump trucks could back in and deliver materials. The landing also supported the crane that then delivered the massive stones to the yard below.

When boulders started flying in, Dana says, “It was frightening — and exciting – but it was a wonderful thing to watch Michael work. He was so meticulous. He didn’t just slap rocks in there. He would have the crane guy lift it again and again, and you’re thinking, what difference does it make?”

The difference for Michael is in the patterns of the stones.

He likes using a local Columbia Gorge basalt because it is more porous, has more character. “The rocks will tell you,” he says. “There’s a grain to them. You can see when you set a stone, that’s the way it’s meant to be. If you put it too upright, or if it breaks the rhythm, it won’t look right.”

The winter storms kept pummeling them — cranes can’t operate in high winds. But crew members grabbed every chance they could to keep on building. Doing the impossible came down to the wire. They finished with two days to spare.

Dana and Dave hope the next people who buy their house like this waterfall as much as they do because, as Dave notes, “These rocks aren’t going anywhere now.”

Mary-Kate Mackey, co-author of “Sunset’s Secret Gardens — 153 Design Tips from the Pros” and contributor to the “Sunset Western Garden Book,” writes a monthly column for the Hartley Greenhouse webpage and numerous articles for Fine Gardening, Sunset, and other magazines. She teaches at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism & Communication. She will be writing about water in the garden for Diggin’ It. 

Editor’s note: To read more by Mary-Kate, check our blog archive. Gardening articles on a variety of topics can be found at the Monitor’s main gardening page. Also see our RSS feed. You may want to visit Gardening With the Monitor on Flickr. Take part in the discussions and get answers to your gardening questions. If you join the group (it’s free), you can upload your garden photos and enter our next contest.

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