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water art or water features - water fountains, water chains, joyful water sounds and movement

 
steward
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So, here at base camp at wheaton labs, Paul and I have been dreaming of some kind of water feature...some day. Especially one that would make a pleasing, lovely flowing water sound to drown out the last tiny bit of road noise that makes it over the berms to our outdoor living space.

We're not sure exactly where or what, and I thought permies would be a great place to start accumulating some examples.

The Willy Wonka waterfall compost thread shows a decorative concrete waterfall that Paul Abbott made, didn't like so much, and then started using for compost tea...


...which reminded Leila Rich of a biodynamic flowform waterfall.
.

We'd probably prefer not to have concrete forms, and I'm not going for the biodynamic swirls necessarily; though I think this one is rather beautiful:
.

We have SO much rock here, that something simpler, like this might make more sense:

(From River Rock Water Gardens)

That same company, created this fun dual-sided water feature that could modified, perhaps with more natural basins, and might really help improve our weird, unfinished patio-like area between our house and office.
.

Something simpler might be a rain chain like this (or other) all copper rain chain (Amazon affiliate link):


Do you have a water feature you like? Perhaps something that's a part of a permaculture system and that would add a pleasing water flow sound and a lovely aesthetic?


 
Mother Tree
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I liked this this one in Tamera - it seemed to be part art,  and part model of how their water retention system worked.







 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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My personal favourite is this one, though it's designed by nature, not by man, and probably took rather a long time to build.



 
Posts: 113
Location: Central Maine
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I hope to be able to sculpt cob into a water feature.  Something that would catch the rain and then flow through like a waterfall maybe.  You could do anything with a little sculpting.
I know you would have to seal the cob to do this, but I haven't gotten to that point yet.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
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Ooooh! Those pictures are exactly what I was hoping for, Burra! Though waiting for nature to create one, however more beautiful, is a tall task.

Have any pictures, Sarah of what you're dreaming of?
 
Sarah Houlihan
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http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/Earthship/Visit/WaterSystem.htm
This link has some pictures of how the cob was sculpted to simply direct the water.

I can't find anything where people have done much decoative sculpting.  I make make some rapids for the kids to race boats or a cascade with a mermaid or something.   It's a summer project.  I don't have too much yet.
 
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My dream house will have a water feature like that, flowing into a cold soaking tub and then emptying into the kitchen garden swales
 
steward
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Has anyone ever built one of these flowforms? Are there plans out there? What are the measurements for a DYI build? I would love to build one someday.



 
pollinator
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Sarah Houlihan wrote:http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/Earthship/Visit/WaterSystem.htm
This link has some pictures of how the cob was sculpted to simply direct the water.



That's not Cob, it's cement with an acrylic coating.

Cob is just dirt and straw.  It doesn't tend to work well anywhere that gets wet regularly.
 
Posts: 307
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From my way of thinking, the most important feature of any water works is that it look like it could actually exist in Nature. That is the problem of using cement. It doesn't look natural. Its also the problem with just plunking a pile of rocks down and having water pour out of them. The land needs to be shaped and contoured, then the rocks fit into it so it could possibly be an outcropping and spring. That for me is the problem with the "Burra" pictures above. The rocks look added, not organic to the site. And they aren't rooted to the land by being surrounded by trees. You wouldn't find something looking like that in nature (Unless possibly in the desert? -But where those pictures were taken is obviously not desert.). The "Burra" feature may have looked much better if they had dug a deep swale first, then placed the rocks. It might also help to add more twists and turns to the water flow.

There is a famous radio personality who often says that any good humor must contain at least a grain of truth in it. Its somewhat the same with any architectural art. It must fit its placement, to really be good art. There has to be "truth" to it.

Adding flowing water is important to any landscape, ...if possible. I don't much care for the "manufactured" waterfalls that rely on electricity to work. That's not the best use for electricity. But if you can use a windmill pump and hydraulic ram pump, its nice. If you can properly do it, flowing water can greatly increase the enjoyment, look and sound to a place. Properly done, it creates and refines (sometimes corrects) the Feng shui of the Land. It's not something done lightly. There is one best place on your property to build your house. There is the right direction to face it. Same with fences and barns, ...and water. Give it time, maybe Pray a bit. Dream it first. Then have at it.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
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Whatever a water feature is built with - I'd love to see pictures for ideas! Personally, we'll likely avoid cement ourselves, though I think what some folks make with it is quite beautiful.

I did a rather lousy quick search and found loads of landscapers that install "streams" or "creeks." With enough money I suppose, and the right pumps and filters and water source(s), a creek can be yours!

This one was the closest to looking like it might be in a slight draw, even if a manufactured draw.


(From http://lambslandscapes.com/water-features/)

I like that the large rocks (they look like real rocks) lining the banks appear solid enough that they could keep the shape anchored fairly well even if there was extra flow (you know, if there is some natural flow there as well).

We're not opposed to a pump and fountain either, just brainstorming (dreaming, really) random ideas. I'd love to see pictures of more!!
 
pollinator
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:

Sarah Houlihan wrote:http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/Earthship/Visit/WaterSystem.htm
This link has some pictures of how the cob was sculpted to simply direct the water.



That's not Cob, it's cement with an acrylic coating.

Cob is just dirt and straw.  It doesn't tend to work well anywhere that gets wet regularly.



Definitely true, even when it's been sealed well in my experience. One tiny, incessant drip from condensation onto the cob bench in the greenhouse/sunroom drills a hole that I have to patch up and seal with oil again every few months. Barely a nuisance, but it's definitely a good teaching device! Cob is a great material for building so many different things, from walls to furniture, but it can get a bit tricky up here in Maine with the damp climate, wild temps during the winter months and all the wind-driven rains and snows. The more I've lived with it, the more I've been forced to learn it's limitations

And on-topic, I've always been partial to these guys - nice and loud, fairly simple to maintain, low power consumption and aesthetically pleasing

water-barrel-fountain.jpg
[Thumbnail for water-barrel-fountain.jpg]
 
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Some of the 'Giochi d'acqua' at Villa d'Este, Tivoli, Italy, nearly 500 yrs old.
P_20180401_143404.jpg
[Thumbnail for P_20180401_143404.jpg]
A 16th century water powered organ, still playing all the hits from c. 1570. Water is used to compress the air in the pipes, then it powers the cylinder that plays the notes
P_20180401_141425.jpg
[Thumbnail for P_20180401_141425.jpg]
C16th flowform
P_20180401_140914.jpg
[Thumbnail for P_20180401_140914.jpg]
Diana
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Jim Fry wrote:. That for me is the problem with the "Burra" pictures above. The rocks look added, not organic to the site. And they aren't rooted to the land by being surrounded by trees. You wouldn't find something looking like that in nature (Unless possibly in the desert? -But where those pictures were taken is obviously not desert.). The "Burra" feature may have looked much better if they had dug a deep swale first, then placed the rocks. It might also help to add more twists and turns to the water flow.

There is a famous radio personality who often says that any good humor must contain at least a grain of truth in it. Its somewhat the same with any architectural art. It must fit its placement, to really be good art. There has to be "truth" to it.



Those 'sculptures' were as much a model to illustrate their main water retention landscape design as they were art.

You might prefer photos of the real thing...







The system works rather well - as you say, in the original photos it certainly doesn't look very desertified any more!
 
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I like your water fountains collection!
 
garden master
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I think these are some pretty flowforms of water







And, I think the restoration of this creek is pretty, too.

 
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I have taken a liking to this flow arts discussion.

It's interesting, Dave Burton,
how in the last video you posted ("Sound garden creek flow restoration") one of the things they are doing to restore the creek is to remove debris. I can see how doing that makes sense to have a nice little lovely hangout area at the creek with less fear of snakes and spiders at the sound sculpture installation, but in my experience with creek restoration, organic matter debris actually helps filter the water, and in general is a good way to slow down the water and allow more of it to slowly seep into the surrounding land. And in so doing, increase the fertility of the land. I hope those folks are leaving the debris alone in the creek in the surrounding area. Removing it all would take away shelter and food source for their little fishy friends they are so fond of! I'd like to see more about how they were growing the watercress and what the design of directing or slowing down the water for the crops was.

-Lemon
 
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Water is such a therapy. A relaxing therapy.
 
pollinator
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Machu Picchu had some interesting water features.





But the Inca were doing cool stuff with water all over in their territory

Peru, Tipon Archaeological Site- the main Inca aqueduct


 
pollinator
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This is a lovely thread, thank you so much for creating this discussion Jocelyn.
You didn't mention if  you lucky enough to have a small water flow nearby the house?
I too, love the sounds of water. While our home is far from road noise, I built our water features during a series of droughts in order to ease the natural desire to flee to wetter climes. This spurred a love of fish that hasn't declined, now that the weather cycle has changed to lots of rain and snow.  
Here is a video of the waterfall in the 2600 indoor pond adjacent to our dining room.

Yes that is a cement mixing trough from Big R. No it isn't real pretty by itself, I think the rock-work around it makes up for it. It makes a wonderful sound which emanates the house. It is also a deep water culture bed capable of growing plants on a raft bed.

Halloween-snow-2018-greenhouse-trout-pond-DWC-waterfall. I need to get seedlings going for this years gardens as well as the greenhouse. Even so all these plants made it through Winter which of course makes us very happy.
In the outdoor Koi pond which is an old hot tub I have a very low wattage pump still capable of moving water through the filters keeping the pond clean and clear. If I let the outflow of the little pump sit above the water it makes a lovely trickling sound as well.
Great Stuff the spray foam foam in a can product makes one for ponds that is black and waterproof. I know it isn't a cool natural product, however the need for something like this is too keep the water from the pump flowing exactly where you want it to flow as opposed to flowing under the rocks and or out of the feature.
I haven't used it as it is so windy here,  we have a massive issue with evaporation and an outdoor water feature with waterfalls would need constant topping up. Water feature spray foam is used in conjunction with pond liner and natural rocks laid on the fresh gooey foam. If done properly the foam is invisible the water goes where you want it to go.
Brian
         
 
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