“Yard Art” in Lake Ariel

Building landscapes and waterfalls isn’t just a hobby for Carrie Martini; it’s a way of life. For 19 years, Carrie has operated “Yard Art,” a business specializing in ponds and garden retreats. Her own backyard reflects the beauty and tranquility of her work. Featuring two 50-foot waterfalls, a prayer garden and an array of flowers and herbs, Carrie transformed her lawn in Lake Ariel into a space for herself, and her visitors, to enjoy. “I love to make beautiful things for beautiful people,” she says.

Carrie’s labor of love began eight years ago. She estimates the waterfalls took about a month to complete. They spill over into a swimming pond, which is home to five large koi fish. A fish named Silver has a special place in Carrie’s heart. While at a seminar, she found a fish that kept following her back and forth across the tank. She named him Silver and took him home, and he rewards her with love and affection. When she calls him, he swims over to the edge of the pond to be patted on the head. “He’s like a little dog,” Carrie says. “The other fish come to me for food; he comes for love.”

Construction on the prayer garden began two years after the waterfalls. Carrie modeled the garden after a medicine wheel, drawing from ancient Indian, European and Oriental roots. At each corner stands a gate to represent healing, and healing herbs spring up along the pathways. When visitors walk through the garden Carrie instructs them to write their burdens down on a piece of paper and toss it into the flames in the center of the circle. In this way, she explains, they can give their burdens up to God.

Carrie’s backyard retreat spans one and a half acres. She welcomes guests to walk through the garden, sit by the waterfall or even take pictures in front of the scenic landscape. People can also sit and swing in the hammock in the “secret grotto” behind the waterfall. Weddings and prom parties frequent her home, seeking the perfect backdrop.

Carrie always had a passion for art. She was adopted from California at a young age and has lived in Northeast PA ever since. Along with a love of art, Carrie also fosters a passion for karate by teaching at her new studio, Destiny Karate Tang Soo Do. She plans to put in a pond at her karate studio, further incorporating the two. Why does she love garden art? “It focuses on the mind, body and spirit,” Carrie says. “My art got really big, so I took it outside.” –Megan Kane