The Koi Pond is the centerpiece of the Coval gardens. The lower pond is ten feet deep, and sits directly over the original site of the 1913 Alexander house, which had as its foundation a deep and massive concrete wine cellar. When the Starrs purchased the home in 1948, the Alexander home was demolished, but the cellar stayed and was reclaimed as a swimming pool, finished with interior plaster and a aggregate deck. When the Covals began their remodel of the home in 1982, the pool still remained, but they had visions of an indoor pool to the east of the main house, so the Alexander cellar would finally fall from use.
A number of designers and landscape architects with impressive portfolios proposed designs for the courtyard area, but the formality of the waterscapes bordered on the pretentious, leaving Barbara Coval wanting. She envisioned a pond quiet and subdued, seamlessly blending into the landscape, and most importantly, alive with natural flora in the pond itself. One afternoon Barbara and David Eck sat outside sketching and talking about what could be, and within a couple of hours, a simple plan emerged. A talented pool designer, John Fish, who had been retained to design the indoor pool, refined the concept and worked out the mechanical requirements of circulation to the upper pool. The design settled, the pond structures were installed using high quality pool construction techniques, utilizing massive quantities of reinforcing steel and hand finished gunite.
At this point Scott Hackney of Marenakos Rock dropped by to begin conversations with Myer and Barbara Coval regarding the indoor pool waterfall. Seeing the pond in progress, Scott could immediately envision a pond that was beyond what anyone has previously imagined, and after sharing his creative vision with Myer, was given carte blanche to make that vision a reality. Marenakos was at the time just beginning to liberate granite from the Hansen Creek Quarry in the Snoqualmie Pass, which was rich with massive weathered specimen stones difficult to find today. Over six hundred tons were brought in for the Coval pond alone, and a massive crane worked for weeks setting the boulders precisely to Scott’s liking.
The setting of the granite required a remarkable orchestration between the crane operator and the man on the ground. For Scott, who would stand beneath a two ton stone as it dangled in the air, relationship and trust with the crane operator can mean his life. Positioned in the crane was Bill Hyde, not only Scott’s business partner but his essential partner in the creative process as well. Setting stone is the perfect integration of art and craft; Scott sensing a composition of shapes, conveying that sense with mysterious signals and subtle body language to Bill, and then with elegant precision, Bill silently answering with gentle placement, stone by stone.
One of the notable elements in the pond is the “hogsback”, an arrangement of granite flats occurring naturally in granite fields. The hogsback is a composition of granite stones that form a strong linear shape, rising down the centerline from the upheaval of earth below. The Coval Pond hogsback begins deep in the pond and rises into the landscape above, inviting one to venture out onto the stone itself.
Surrounding the pond is a breathtaking array of plants and trees, including Japanese Maples, Japanese Black Pine, Flowering Dogwood, a specimen Japanese Wisteria, Water Lilies and a rich variety of other specimen plants. A shallow bog to the east supports a gorgeous array of grasses and downed logs. The pond attracts nesting Mallard ducks every spring, as well as Herons, Eagles, and deer. The Japanese Koi and Catfish that thrive in the pond easily escape these natural predators, finding safety in the granite boulders deep in the pond.
An underground vault holds the pond mechanical systems, consisting of a circulation pump, strainer and isolation valves. The vault also contains electrical for lighting, well pressure tanks, and distribution valves for estate irrigation. The vault is heated and ventilated to assure protection of all enclosed components.