Stream at home

The sights and sounds of wa­ter tum­bling over stones soothe the soul at this in­spir­ing wood­land gar­den in Michi­gan.


f hik­ing a stretch of the Ap­palachian Trail is on your ad­ven­ture bucket list, David Baker’s gar­den of­fers a taste of the ter­rain—in Ann Ar­bor, Michi­gan. A moun­tain stream in­spired David’s front yard, a slop­ing wood­land ex­panse, where wa­ter and blooms cas­cade grace­fully, like the belle of the ball de­scend­ing a grand stair­case. Water­falls feed a brook that plays hide-and-seek with me­an­der­ing stone paths. Three pumps cir­cu­late the wa­ter, mostly roof runoff routed to the stream via buried drains. It’s a scene from The Last of the Mo­hi­cans, or maybe a Thomas Cole paint­ing.

Though the gar­den clones a bit of Ap­palachia, its DNA is all Mid­west­ern. David bought a pickup just to haul plants from nurs­eries in Lake County, Ohio, and he axed all the non-na­tive trees, want­ing to lay avian lead vo­cals over the back­ing track of rush­ing wa­ter. “I love birds,” David says, “and na­tive oaks pro­vide forage and habi­tat for mi­grat­ing song­birds here.”

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