The Mountain Waterfall Mosaic

The Mountain Waterfall Mosaic is located at First Baptist Church of Asheville, and it was the last part of the Memorial Garden that we completed there. The waterfall was a collaborative effort between Hammerhead and the crew at Medallion Pools led by Mark Dorsey. While Mark and crew took charge of the waterwork elements of the waterfall, Hammerhead was charged with designing and installing the stone.

Details About the Mountain Waterfall Mosaic

The waterfall is located at the end of the stream path. In fact, the bluestone that runs throughout the stream path represents the flowing water and widens as it reaches the pool. The floor of the pool is completely done in the bluestone as well. The sky in the waterfall mosaic is also bluestone, and I like the implied metaphor here. These elements were key components of the design created by Steve Wyda and Ryan Blau of Vision Design Collaborative, the landscape architects who designed the Memorial Garden.

Stream Path Leading to Waterfall

Stream Path Leading to Waterfall

The spillway is made of mountain stone, while the sun and sunset clouds are made of Tennessee sandstone. The Tennessee sandstone is used throughout the entire project at First Baptist Church of Asheville, including in the stream path, the labyrinth itself, and several of the benches. The mountains are made of a native stone that is sometimes called Emerald Gray. We were able to source it from Marion, NC, a town about an hour east of Asheville.

Mountain Waterfall Mosaic

Mountain Waterfall Mosaic

Our Thoughts About this Project

The waterfall was a very challenging build. It wasn’t one project but rather ten small projects combined, each with its own specific components. And when it was done and the water was flowing for the first time, it immediately became my favorite. The sound of the water washed away the months of stress of getting the whole garden finished.

Our completed waterfall flowing

Our completed waterfall flowing

At Hammerhead, it’s the challenges of the project that get us excited. We will take on almost any project, but we do have a couple of rules: no veneer and no water features. Of course, we broke both of these rules for the waterfall. The mosaic background – the mountains and the sunset – is a cut stone approach to veneer. It’s 4 inches thick, basically the depth of the brick, and is affixed to a block wall coated in shotcrete. I am proud to say, it doesn’t look like any lick’em-stick’em I’ve ever seen.

I try to avoid the naturalistic water features that are so commonplace now. Making mountain streams is Mother Nature’s domain, not mine. But this waterfall had just the right balance of creative freedom in the design, execution, and technical challenges to keep us all engaged and excited about the outcome. It’s my favorite project – for now…

Our completed waterfall flowing

Our completed waterfall flowing

Reclaimed Granite as a Resource

We like to incorporate reclaimed granite into our projects. It’s a sustainable way to add colorful detail and depth to a stonework project. Working with reclaimed granite allows us access to unique stones from exotic places including Africa, Brazil, and China. We typically get our granite from local countertop fabricators who are usually happy to see it go. Salvaging it from countertop contractors allows us to put to use a beautiful, relatively inexpensive material that was previously destined for the landfill. The entire cityscape of “The Village” is made of reclaimed stone. The colorful patchwork quilt effect came from juxtaposing the wild colors. We sandblasted the surfaces to remove the slick polish, making them safer for walking.

A mosaic rug of reclaimed stone

A mosaic rug of reclaimed stone

We used reclaimed granite to create planets in orbit around the Sacred Circle fire pit. Truly blue stones are hard to come by, but we were able to find a piece to make planet Earth. We even included Pluto, though we gave it an odd orbit, fitting its status as a demoted planet.

Jupiter and Mars made of granite scraps are set into a bluestone patio.

Granite scraps make a cool addition to this bluestone patio.

We also use granite as an element in our creative wall mosaics.

The Sultan

The Sultan