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A Dynamic Landscape at the Water’s Edge

February 2016

The new Water Garden, set to open in the next year, is an intrinsic part of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s comprehensive water recirculation project. But just as important, it will highlight the beauty of water as a design element at BBG. Construction crews have been hard at work on three design features that will create visual interest and engage visitors with the new garden.

At the southern end of the Plant Family Collection, the stream now meanders through a newly laid boulder field. The 1,200-square-foot site is dotted with boulders and smaller rocks that can act as an overflow plain in case of large storm events, but it will also serve as an area where people can sit or explore the waterside habitat.

Beyond the boulder field is the forebay, a small reservoir that functions as a sedimentary deposit before the Water Garden. It is separated from the larger body of water by a weir, a physical structure that acts as a small dam regulating the flow of water. When enough water collects, it will flow over the weir into the larger and shallower pond, free of most sediment. The finished garden will include a wooden pedestrian bridge spanning the weir.

The landscape will be completed with special plantings surrounding the pond and stream. All the species selected are riparian, or “wet-feet” plants that can adapt to fluctuating water levels. Large-leaf plants will add scale, texture, and color, while irises and sedges will create varied heights at the water’s edge. Each of these distinct features will contribute to a dynamic landscape and beautiful new garden for visitors to enjoy.

The boulder field, ready for plantings. Excavation of the forebay in progress.

Green Facts

The Garden is working to save water, and you can too. The average New York home wastes as much as 11,000 gallons of water each year—that’s 30 gallons a day!