Use water features to create serenity in your yard

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    “Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo da Vinci

    The sound of running water soothes the soul and rests the mind. Many from near and far come to find peace at one of North Louisiana’s most beloved water features found on the grounds of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport.

    Gerry Ward, grounds and building superintendent for the gallery, says visitors flock to the grounds to enjoy the serene sound of the waterfalls.

    Six streams — some with waterfalls — wind throughout the grounds. Ward helps to maintain the 27 pumps that circulate the water flowing from the falls into the pond at 80 gallons a minute.

    Ward also keeps the pumps clean and streams clear of debris so that water visibility stays clear.

    Kip Dehart, R.W. Norton’s landscape director, points out another beautiful component to the water features on the grounds — the different types of animals attracted by the water. He and Ward have seen butterflies, turtles, hummingbirds and ducks that hatch ducklings every year at the pond.

    Reminding one of Monet’s Water Lilies series, the arched bridge over a koi and goldfish filled pond with the occasional turtle peeking out from the giant lily pads lulls visitors to a peaceful place with the murmur of running water.

    The R.W. Norton can be great inspiration for homeowners to create water elements in their own yard.

    Building beauty in the yard all over Louisiana and in Washington, D.C., Lloyd Overdyke is a locally licensed landscape architect. Overdyke designs, site plans and oversees the construction of an individual’s perfect water feature along with any beautification project in the yard.

    “As a landscape architect, my goal is to create outdoor ‘rooms’ that extend interior living to exterior. Water features always add a pleasant and aesthetic quality to any space,” Overdyke said.

    He says a successful water feature design complements the home and creates a cohesiveness of house to its surroundings. He says simple, geometric shapes tend to lean toward a contemporary style; whereas, a natural layout with boulders and waterfalls creates a more rustic or natural look.

    Local contractor Mark Yawn, owner of Comprehensive General Contractors Inc., built his own koi pond in a space with an erosion problem and was difficult to mow. Yawn designed it with small waterfalls and two creeks flowing in different directions so the family could hear and enjoy the water.

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