Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!

Building a New Fountain Surround

A key feature of the South Garden is a fountain with a bronze centrepiece from which a delicate veil of water drops into a sandstone pool. Unfortunately, the original basin was built from bad quality stone. Only ten years old, the surround was already crumbling. We dared not even to clean it anymore as big chunks of stone would fall off each time! This left us no choice but to replace the whole basin - another challenge for resident landscaper Joe who embarked on this task in November. This time, we chose to build it with the same excellent stone we used for the monopteros in the park.

The old pool was drained and the surround taken apart, carefully avoiding damage to the paving slabs.

Draining the pool
Dismantling the damaged surround

The new stone segments were then assembled.

Assembling the new surround

These first steps were completed within a week. Next came a laborious process which took all winter: weather permitting, a layer of rendering was applied and then left to dry. Since the winter has been quite cold, frosty and wet, our opportunities were scarce. Three layers of rendering were applied altogether, in a mixture of 4 parts of rendering sand to 1 part of sand, plus a water proofing agent (S.B.R. bond), added as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Rendering

While the last layer of rendering was drying, the spaces between the stone segments were pointed with mortar. Using a paintbrush, several layers were applied.

Pointing

To protect the site from wind and rain and to facilitate the drying process, a gazebo was erected over the whole structure.

Gazebo

The final step of the lengthy process was to seal the new surround. Four layers of G4 Pond Sealer were applied; each before the previous one had fully dried.

Application of sealant

The basin is now waterproof – it can be filled, and the pump turned on.

As beautiful as ever, but hopefully for ever!​​​​​​​​