Creating with Nature: A Backyard Oasis

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Written by Jenn Craig

backyard waterfallThis is an introduction to an oasis in north-east Guelph that is personally made and has achieved the enjoyment of a space for peacefulness, contemplation and oneness with nature.

Anyone who visits Sandra McL’s backyard knows of what I speak.  Not only does she have a yard of beauty and colour in both design and plants, but one part of this little ecosystem is a special hand-made waterfall to add to the charm.

A few years ago Sandra decided to go about adding a water feature, but she wanted one that was unique.  So, research and attending a waterfall building class at Royal City Nursery were in order. This gave her the know how, supplies and advice to make it perfectly hers.


backyard garden oasisThe lessons taught her logistics and design, including how to place pools and curves to enhance the water flow, sound and overall look instead of just a straight downward direction.  She also now knew the depth to dig the reservoir to be able to enjoy the sight and sound all year long.  Nature enjoys it just as much as we humans as it serves for seasonal baths by robins who love splashing around; drinks are enjoyed by chipmunks who like the freshest, coolest water from the top of the falls; and even wintering animals can enjoy it too.


Sentimental moments are cherished when it comes to admiring the many rocks, each placed for its perfect spot along the path; most having been hand-picked on summer days in the Lake Huron area.


A glance around the yard brings notice that the plants surrounding the babbling brook are also hand-picked to compliment the water feature to provide a full effect water scene.  This view still seamlessly flows into the surrounding gardens in a very natural, beautiful way.  It’s not until you pass through the house that you remember that the hustle and bustle of Guelph is so near.  It makes you tempted to step back in the door or run around to the side gate to sneak back again so that you may continue to appreciate the awe of relaxation that such a piece of natural art majestically brings to its audience.  

natural backyard retreat


Attended St. Matthias many years ago and keep in the loop about St. Matt's happenings through my mom (Reta Craig) and sister (Jennifer Craig) and more currently, my work to bring the St. Matthias Community online.

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