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ABOUT CLAUDIA DE YONG GARDEN DESIGN
Claudia de Yong Garden Design launched in 2002 following the request to design a show garden for Dorset Water Lily Company. She went on to design five more for them at Hampton Court Flower Show winning gold and best in show (Tudor Rose). Claudia has also designed many private gardens in London and the South of England for a prestigious list of clients. Based in London and Sussex, she specialises in water and romantic landscapes. Plants are hand selected and sourced from specialist nurseries. She has an in-house team who are experts within their field at bringing her creations to life.
Claudia de Yong Garden Design
The owners’ love of Koi carp led to the creation of a stunning three tier pond in the quiet corner of a large garden
This was a very challenging project with the prime objective being to construct three ponds for the client’s Koi carp in a neglected paved area of a large garden, within a Grade II listed property and with the paved area measuring 5m by 3.5m. Stone steps leading up from the basement provided access to the area; there was also an upper access, which was via the drawing room French windows, which led onto an ornate metal bridge with three steps down to a short Yorkstone path leading to the paved area. The paved area was almost two metres above the basement level, and over five metres from the rear of the house. Between the house and paving, and on each side of the stone steps were several small very overgrown planting areas terraced to accommodate the difference in the levels. Low-level brick retaining walls provided the terracing; however, in order to construct the lower ponds, all of the brick walls were demolished and the foundations broken out. New onepiece Yorkstone steps over 2m long were to be constructed; there were 10 steps in total as well as new Yorkstone paving throughout.
The two smaller ponds, one each side of the stone steps would be 850mm lower than the main pond with internal dimensions of 3.5m long by 2.25m wide by 1.5m deep for the main pond, with the two smaller ones approximately 1.5m by 1m by 750mm deep. All three ponds were to be constructed out of reinforced concrete, (the client feared there may be settlement of the ground which the reinforced concrete method would cope with better) to accommodate the client’s preferred method of construction; we made over 20 wooden shutters from plywood and 100mm by 47mm timber. Due to the difference in levels it was necessary to make wooden chutes to be able to place the concrete; all concrete was mixed on site. Part of the filtration system and the pumps were to be situated beyond the rear wall of the main pond and to be below ground. This filtration pit was to have a system of removable hardwood decking panels to allow access for maintenance. To accommodate the large vortex filter and pumps the internal dimensions of the filter pit were 3.25m long by 1.25m wide by 1m deep. This was constructed using dense concrete blocks built on a reinforced raft foundation, which was thickened to 450mm around the edges. The rear wall of the main pond became the front wall of the filter chamber. Reinforcing mesh was placed behind the concrete blocks and the void filled with concrete; all the ponds were also fibre glassed. Lighting was to be installed in all the ponds, two waterspouts in the smaller ponds and a large fish head water spout was installed in the larger pond.
Access to the rear garden was through the house, but was convoluted – being through the front door, across the hall, through the drawing room, out via French doors, along the narrow metal bridge (which was just wide enough for a wheelbarrow), down the metal steps, along the path and down two stone steps to the paved area. The total distance from the work site to the skip was in the region of 50m. It was another one metre down to the two lower ponds. The access prevented the use of a micro digger, which meant that the entire excavation work was undertaken by hand-digging. The method of construction was to cast the base slab of each pond, fix the reinforcing mesh and set the inner and outer shutters and cast the walls. Pipe openings were formed through the 150mm thick concrete walls.
Sufficient excavated material was kept to be used as backfill around the ponds. We were not permitted to use any other part of the garden for storage or a works area to either fabricate the shutters or mix the concrete. The lower ponds were constructed first. The existing stone steps and brick walls were then broken out and removed to the skip, the new wall was to be built using reclaimed bricks. Drainpipes were then installed under the area of steps to allow connections to the overflow pipe and drain gully set in the filter pit concrete slab. The brick walls and brick risers were then rebuilt. The excavation of the main pond required the use of a conveyor system to remove spoil from the excavation, discharging directly into wheelbarrows. The project was completed by the installation of a bespoke fish head fountain, commissioned by the owner.
Facts & figures
- 55m4 / 120 tonnes of hand-dug excavation
- 18m4 / 40 tonnes of broken brick and concrete foundations.
- 12m4 / 26 tonnes of concrete mixed on site with a 110V electric mixer.
- 21 tonnes / 840 bags containing 25kg each of ballast.
- 5 tonnes / 200 bags containing 25kg each of cement.
- 4,500 reclaimed yellow stock bricks.
- 500 Class B engineering bricks.
- 10 bullnose Yorkstone steps 2.2m x 50mm.
- 15m² Yorkstone paving.
- 80 bags containing 25kg each of building sand.
- 100 bags containing 25kg each of sharp sand.