excerpt from the Time Colonist, June 27 2014 by Grania Litwin
Jorien credits her husband with the vision that transformed the garden from depressing to uplifting, but Eric explains a waterfall was the only solution with such a rock face.
“The rock kept fracturing during excavation, we had to claw back more and more, so we ended up with a very steep cliff. My vision was to turn a problem into an asset.”
Even before construction began, Aaron Wing, of Chi Earth & Waterscape, started building a stairway fit for a giant, nestled into the trees. He also created a pathway along the top, back of the property, a cascading waterfall, stream and deep pool.
“We went in with some really big machinery and started to shape and place,” said Wing and one day an enormous boulder almost toppled the excavator.
Wing looped each rock with a piece of three quarter-inch chain, then hooked it to the excavator, and lowered it into place, adding different rocks to prop it up. “You can’t just knuckle them into place,” said Wing, who has a degree from the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific and also took architectural drafting and landscape design at Camosun College.
“For the stairway we excavated down to bedrock then worked our way back up, placing each rock. There is no real science to it. You have to visualize as you go.
“The biggest challenge was the waterfall. Normally you build from the bottom up, but here we did it top down because there wasn’t enough access at the bottom.
“This job really pushed our limits, and the machines’ [limits], but really good jobs always involve a little blood, sweat and tears.”
He designed the pool to be two metres deep, to keep the water cool and allow fish room to retreat from predators, and built it with a concrete wall on one side, which supports the patio, and a natural rock cliff on the other.
It is lined with rubber, and Wing built benches at different levels underwater, to grow everything from deep aquatic plants to the ones along the margins, and floating water lilies.
“Aaron is a true artist,” said Eric.