Using scenic water was a new venture and one that I've really been looking forward to. A japanese garden wouldn't be complete without a koi pond. The search for the right container for the pond took a few weeks. I just couldn't find anything quite right. Then I found a mother of pearl saucer in the candle section at walmart. That'll work!
I glued in the stones and some moss to the bottom of the pond, and added a couple of koi to the bottom and one on a rock. The instructions for the scenic water are to put it in hot water till it turns fluid and then pour it into the container. I was a little dubious about the fact that the scenic water was yellowish in the jar and, as it turned out, it stayed that way in the pond. So I melted the whole thing down, ripped it out, cleaned off my fish and rocks and started over again.
This time, I left out the moss just in case that had contributed to the nasty yellow color of the scenic water. I glued the rocks and fish back into the saucer like so:
Instead of the scenic water, I used an acrylic kit I found in the craft section at walmart. It's simple to do......pour two bottles together, stir well and then pour into the saucer over the rocks and fish. The only drawback I could find was that it takes 24-48 hours to harden, so I didn't layer in the fish as I had originally planned. Instead, I used tweezers to set them down into the "water" on top of rocks and along the bottom.
Once it had set, I was pleased with the overall look. The water is crystal clear and has no bubbles. I glued the saucer into the garden and then added a border of grasses and tiny green rocks for a border.
Covering the foundation with the dirt and tuft was actually done after I had made the individual components which is why I've blogged them in this order. (the pictures show them in place after the turf was done just because they photographed better that way).
The foundation is a sheet of mdf from the local hardware store. It's what I usually use for display bases for my house. The first step was covering the mdf with a sheet of cork to give it a light brown textured base to work with. While it sounds like a needless expense and step, the light brown texture shows up faintly as an undertone beneath the coffee grounds and gives it a nice texture as well. It also helped the coffee grounds to ahdere better than they would have with a smooth surface.
I sprayed the cork with aresol adhesive to be sure I got a nice even coating. I worked in 12"x12" sections so the glue wouldn't dry before I got the coffee grounds on. After spraying each section, I sprinkled the coffee grounds over it, then used a rolling pin to smooth and tamp them into the glue. After it had time to set just a bit, I stood the board on it's side and tapped the underside lightly to shake off loose grounds.
After the whole surface was covered, I gave it a light coating of clear spray acrylic to hold the top in place, then let it all dry.
The next layer was the coarse moss. I wanted to give the garden the look of rich loam in the spring...deep brown with green ground cover beginning to make it's appearance. The process was the same as I used for the coffee grounds. I sprayed it with the adhesive, then sprinkled the coarse turf over the top and rolled the rolling pin over it to tamp it into place, and gave it another coat of clear acrylic.
All in all, I was pretty pleased with the way the landscaping came out. The stepping stones are circles of felt used to stick onto the bottom of furniture. They're a kind of granite gray color to begin with, and I sponge painted green paint on them to get a marbled look. I made the arched bridge from the plans in the Dollhouse Miniatures magazine, and tucked a little sand garden into one corner. You can see the finished effects in the next blog entry.