Jane's Delicious Garden
“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”
How we did it.
1. The pool was emptied and all the fish were caught and placed in a holding tank. (I make that sound a lot easier than it actually was.)
2. Anthony used ancient Euclidian geometric techniques to design a perfect ellipse in the shallow end of the existing pool.
3. The outer walls of the ellipse were built using bricks, with the inner step created with concrete and bricks. The walls rise 65 cm up above the edge of the existing pool, a good height for sitting on from the outside of the pool.
In its centre, the ellipse is 1.8 m deep, ideal for dunking.
4. Three inlet pipes were laid into one of the lower courses.
5. When the ellipse was complete, the interior was plastered smooth. Two overflow gaps were left on the top rim – a larger one, where the bulk of the water would flow over into the wetland, and a smaller one to trickle over the opposite side. These were made as shallow as possible so the level of the water would be very close to the top, creating a feeling of abundance.
6. Cracks were fixed and the interior of the pool and the ellipse were acid washed and painted charcoal with waterproofing paint. We also covered up the existing blue tiles, with the aim of removing as many traces of the original ‘blue pool’ as possible.
7. Suction pipes were laid out at the bottom of the gravel to suck the water through the wetland.
8. A 200 Watt high-flow submersible pump was installed inside a barrel, and a power cable was connected through the existing weir to electricity in the original pool pump housing. All the pipes were connected to the pump through holes in the wall of the barrel.
9. Anthony designed the pipe layout using a series of valves. By opening and closing these, we can adjust the level of the water in the ellipse. In summer we can have it full to the top, but in winter, when we don’t want to swim, we can drop the level below the step creating a sunny, sheltered nook, with the water still circulating below.
10. Gravel was added to one half of the remaining area of the existing pool. Using sand bags filled with gravel, a bank was built to retain the gravel on one side. This created different levels, ranging from the original depth of the deep end, to a few centimetres deep, providing suitable environments for various wetland plants. As the gravel was added, the pump barrel was positioned so its cover was level with the top of the gravel for maintenance access. Water lily soil was added to the deepest section of the wetland.
11. The original steps and gaps between the walls of the original shallow end and the ellipse were filled with gravel. All exposed pool wall area above the gravel and the interior of the ellipse were given a second and final coat of Hydro-Seal.
12. The exterior of the ellipse was clad in Latitude Tile & Decor Autumn cladding to create the impression of a natural stone wall rising out of the water. Larger pieces of the same stone were laid on top of the ellipse. The final level of the two overflows from the ellipse were checked to make sure they were both the same height. We didn’t want water flowing from one and not the other. The pool was filled with water using rainwater from my JoJo Tanks and municipal water. The entire system was tested.
13. Stepping stones and plants were added and the fish were returned to their pool after their holding tank sojourn. On the very first evening after we filled the
pool, a frog began croaking, the first I have
ever heard in my garden. Although the water was murky in the beginning, within a few weeks it cleared. After a month it was crystal clear and has remained so ever since.
And Tosca now has a dog-sized pool to play in.