The Joy of Mud – Part 3 – the endgame

Well, that’s another messy project finished.

Here’s how it went. We last saw the hole looking like this:

The next step was to complete the drainage channel and to backfill behind the stones with several buckets of 20 mil river gravel to bring the surface well above water level. The point, obviously, being to provide drainage, but also in the hope that capillary action would keep the gravel nice and damp:  The stone in the middle at the back will disguise the raw clay face of the bank.  I like my stonework to look as natural as possible, but there’s no way to hide the fact that this channel is man-made.  After a lot of thought, I decided the best solution would be to try to make it appear as though some, at least, of the right hand side of the channel was the termination of a natural rock shelf, and that the steps on the right were part of it.

The next part of the process was to build up the  right hand side with more stone, pack it with gravel, and then to start building a wall at the back that would look as though it was a layer of splintered sandstone.


The great thing about wet clay is that you can use it just like cement, bedding stones into it and smearing the joints, just as though you were building with brick.The final stage was to dovetail the wall into the existing step, and build it up over the place where the water seeped from the bank.Thirty litres of ericaceous compost were tipped on top of the gravel and left overnight in the rain to bed down. Now it was just a matter of  an hour or two with a wire brush and a bucket of water to  do the final clean upThe surplus stones went into the burn. I can get a bit sentimental about stones. I like the thought that a stone which has been buried for twelve thousand years since the end of the last ice age can be brought into the light of day again, and can become a home for fresh water shrimps and caddis fly larvae.

What are the plants? Tell you next time.


6 thoughts on “The Joy of Mud – Part 3 – the endgame

  1. That is beautiful! My goodness I love those rocks. I somehow had this idea that you were reusing cut stone, but it sounds as though they occur naturally in that block form? And it the clay as mortar is a wonder. Then I thought “oh, and now plants, and I wonder what they are…” And I still wonder what they are!

  2. I didn’t expect such a beautiful thing! I’ve been wondering too about the geometrical form of the stone you have. I like the colour too.
    I like natural looking ponds and I must say this isn’t the case. BUT it looks like something build ages ago and it is absolutely fascinating. Well done!

    • I’m really lucky in my stone. It’s a soft sandstone which lies underneath the clay, and water, frost and time split it into wonderful rectangular blocks of all sizes

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