Launch Slideshow

Photo by Jay Rosenblatt

Category: Waterfeatures

Category: Waterfeatures

  • Photo by Jay Rosenblatt

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  • Photo by Jay Rosenblatt

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  • Photo by Jay Rosenblatt

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This mystical water garden with its hobbit-like treehouse creates the illusion of a bottomless lagoon through the use of organic black dye, which tints the water.

Secret garden

This mystical water garden with its hobbit-like treehouse creates the illusion of a bottomless lagoon through the use of organic black dye, which tints the water. Measuring 35-by-16-feet, its depth averages just 12 inches.

“There was no reason to go much deeper,” says Anthony Berardo, who worked with designer Lawrence Butynski on the project. “It’s a budget solution, and also for safety because there are lots of kids in the area.”

Floating along

Another illusion: The four bluestone steppingstones appear to float, but actually sit on pedestals. It’s all set on a woodsy property located 150 yards from the main residence. “The river birch on the edge of the pond and all the flowering trees were brought in by my firm,” Berardo continues. “There were very large, 2-foot-diameter cherry and dogwood trees already there.”

Once upon a time

Because the project had to be built in spring, the timing proved challenging. “We had to deal with rain-saturated lawns,” Berardo recalls. “We built supports [to avoid] tearing up the grounds during construction. … The trees had to be handled carefully so they wouldn’t lose their integrity.”

The end result was breathtaking, and several clients subsequently asked for exact replicas. “We didn’t want to do that, so we added different features to theirs, such as a flat-screen TV in the treehouse.” The project was part of the “Mansion in May” fund-raising event for a local hospital. Afterward, a couple with four children purchased the property, and the adults ended up spending more time at the waterfeature than the kids.