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Dale's series of farm improvement projects --- Living tree, wisteria and grape bridge  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I've decided to build a small bridge across the seasonal stream. It's dry from May to November. During the winter, flow goes from a trickle to a torrent. A cascade of little waterfalls plunge to the valley below. This bridge only needs to be a couple feet above the water. It will be less than 20 feet from where the stream drops abruptly, so there's no danger of it flooding. I expect the span to be under 15 feet. Grapes and wisteria will be planted on the banks of the stream and trained along young plums or some other flexible wood. The trees will be bent across the stream and lashed together. Plums send suckers everywhere. I'll prune and weave them to produce two bottom rails and two arches for railings. The vines will be trained along the trees and woven into the bridge shape. It will be put to use as soon as it is strong enough to support foot traffic. The entire little valley (some call it a ditch) is to become an orchard. The bridge will be mostly just a landscape feature, but will be used when moving around the orchard. For 8 months of the year, it's safe to step over the stream. During the winter deluge, it would be a nice spot to view the waterfall from.

Photos to follow.
 
Dale Hodgins
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We're a little past the trickle stage now. The flow is currently about one garbage can every two seconds. It will increase until the 4 ft culvert is nearly full. It gets pretty loud.

I've cleared the approaches that were covered by small trees and brambles. The water rises by as much as 3 feet at peak flow. I will run some ropes across at different heights to determine the maximum rise. There's not much chance of water backing up. The land drops off abruptly about 30 ft past the bridge.

The cascade is nice now and not dangerous. Soon it will be difficult to walk to it in the steeper spots. Rain, snow and rotting leaves make it quite slick.
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Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6691
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6691
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
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The first two photos show the slopes that lead to the bridge site. Flat rock steps will be added. There's already some big rocks above and to the sides of the culvert.
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Brian Jeffrey
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Location: Connecticut
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I really like living bridges. I hope it comes out better than this one!



 
Dale Hodgins
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Brian Jeffrey wrote:I really like living bridges. I hope it comes out better than this one!





It will have to be much smaller. If it's half as good, I'll be happy. The deck needs to be only 4 ft from the stream bed and it may be 15 ft long. I was thinking about using alder or cottonwood, as a base, so it could rot away quickly. This would allow it to be made purely of vines in as little as 5 years. I think I'll play it safe and use Douglas fir. By the time fir rots, the vines should be well established.

Wisteria can be very invasive. I need to investigate all manner of vines, to be sure to get the right mix.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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It's moving along nicely now. I climbed down and found exposed bedrock. This is the only place on the land where I have seen bedrock. It will need about 60 steps to get people safely to the spot where the cascade drops about 12 ft. Until last week, I didn't know about the straight drop. From the top, it looks like a series of rapids.

Even with my good hiking boots on, I slid a little. Eventually the flow will be about five times what is seen here.
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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Here's a view from the falls to the cottage.

This cedar has been dead for more than a century.

The maple is in a perfect spot for viewing from the top. The steps will start near it.
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I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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