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The Color of Uniqueness

By Mike Farley

Note: This book review was first published in the November 2008 issue of WaterShapes. Given what has happened in the economy since then, we think the book is just as relevant today as it was then — perhaps even more so.

MikeFarleyBookNotes1cAs 2008 draws to a close, it’s apparent that we are

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Timeless Landscape Design

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes1bWhen I was a landscape architecture student, my coursework on residential landscape design wasn’t much to speak of — just one project in a single course. In those days, in fact, expressing any interest in residential spaces made you

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Design from Italy to India

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes1aThere was a time not long ago when most of my clients wanted swimming pool environments that were designed to suit a design theme of some sort that was separate and distinct from the house. It wasn’t unusual, for example, for clients here in Texas to ask for outdoor areas that replicated Rocky Mountain settings or tropical lagoons.

Those projects still come along from time to time, but in the past few years, increasing numbers of my clients want

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Watershaping and the Issue of Trust

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes8I’ve spent some time in the past couple months looking for a good book about trust.

I ran into some clunkers along the way, with many of them impressing me with how boring and preachy they could be. But I never had

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Uplifting Ideas for Trying Times

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes7When times are tough, I sometimes find it useful to think about the things in life that I’m able to control while giving less thought to those I can’t. The plain fact is, no matter how troubling the news is or how tough the economy makes our working lives, nothing

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Two Tales of Two Architects

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes6Earlier this year, I attended the Texas Pool & Spa Expo in Fort Worth — and, upon arrival, was treated to an unexpected earful.

As soon as I reached the show floor, I walked over to greet my friends at the Genesis 3 booth. Before I could even get in a good round of "hellos," David Tisherman asked me if I'd ever been to the

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Maximizing Positive Feelings

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes5Whether we think of them this way or not, watershape and landscape designs have the ability to create emotional responses among our clients.

In that sense, we're actually in the business of provoking those feelings. When we do things right, the conjurings are positive and are at their best when we successfully forge links to our clients' treasured experiences. If we miss the mark by not properly considering

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Remembering Ferruccio Vitale

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes3As someone who has spent years digging into the history of landscape and watershape design, it comes as something of a surprise to me that, alongside the luminaries who dominate discussions of the origins of familiar design approaches, motifs and styles, stands at least one practitioner who is not

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Recent comments

  • Dear Mike Farley I very much enjoyed your past review of my book; Ferruccio Vitale; Landscape Architect of the Country Place Era. I now write to tell you about my latest and what I most believe is a unique publication. I have written a three volume work, Space and Form: Design Theory in Landscape A...
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Capturing a Gift from the Skies

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes4The numbers are eye-popping: Just about one percent of all the water on Planet Earth exists as fresh water suitable for human consumption. And depending on where you live in the United States, anywhere from a quarter to almost half of that precious resource

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Defining Resources

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes2Those of you who've followed this column for any length of time know that it's all about my hunt for resources that will help me become better at what I do. As I see it, my job here is to share what I discover in the hope that my own information-seeking journey

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The Creative Side of Concrete

By Mike Farley

MikeFarleyBookNotes1Concrete is an utterly amazing material, but it's so widely used — so pervasive in our world — that it's easy for the average person to take it for granted and barely give it a second thought.

As watershapers, of course, we don't have the luxury of

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Structured Thinking

MikeFarleyBookNotesIt might sound a bit strange to put it this way, but when it comes to design work, one of the most useful things you can do is to think about how you think about design.

If you're like me and have been working as a watershape designer for more years than you care to count, much of what you do is now

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