It’s natural for me to wax poetic about my work. Gardening and garden designs are what I call my “magnificent obsession” – so much so that the other arts in which I have an interest and for which I even have talent will generally take a back seat.
After more than 19 years as a professional landscape designer, I am still driven and excited by the challenge of creating comprehensive landscapes for my clients. I thrive on the complexity of organizing the myriad elements required to create outdoor spaces that function properly, are beautiful and harmonious to the eye – and even touch
I like a good challenge in my work, and I like to have fun making it happen. This project embodied the best of both experiences.
The project displayed on these pages was built for a wealthy client who lives on a working horse ranch in the rolling green countryside near Ocala, Fla. Our company, Certified Construction, was up to the task. We build hundreds of highly customized watershapes each year for a variety of theme parks, resorts and high-end residences. Most have highly developed “themes,” so we’re accustomed to providing our clients with heavy doses of imagination and creativity.
The basic marching orders on this job were straightforward: The owner wanted a theme park on his property for his kids – and he didn’t really care about
At our firm, we treat every project and every customer as if they’re one of a kind – which in truth they are.
And we’ve been lucky in developing a high-end clientele that, on the whole, is looking for something special: They enable us to treat each project as an individual work of art; at the same time, they challenge us to stretch our own abilities and increase the variety of design solutions we bring to the drafting table.
In many cases, this requires something of balancing act between what clients think they’re after and the practicalities of the site itself, the architecture of adjoining structures and the views of surrounding areas. For that reason, each of our
By David Tisherman
For me, the simplicity and elegance of the International Style was just about the best thing going in 20th-century design. The followers of Walter Gropius in the Bauhaus movement held this simplicity – expressed as a cleanness of line, a uniformity of materials and the establishment of clear relationships among architectural planes – in absolutely the highest regard.
I always try to integrate these design principles into my own work – and one of the ways I do so is through the ledger detail we’ll examine this time around. It’s an expensive
Recent commentsView other comments
This really wasn’t a job for the timid. The ground was unstable, access was limited, and the customer could afford to make massive changes along the way. Other than that, of course, the project was a piece of cake.
The truth is, I enjoy a good challenge. People who know me well are aware that I revel in tackling jobs that test my mettle – and this was definitely one of those cases. Ultimately, it turned out to be one of the most satisfying and beautiful projects I’ve been involved with in a long while.
The site is located on
Vanishing-edge pools are all about changing the relationship of the water to its surroundings. They enable the water to reflect views and create visual links to the surrounding scenery in dramatic and surprising ways that simply can’t be achieved with conventional designs.
The same distinction is true of perimeter-overflow systems and pools with deck-level (or slot-overflow) designs, which is why I classify all three together as “water-in-transit” systems. There’s a lot of diversity under that big conceptual umbrella, but these pools share
If you can’t see potential in every backyard you walk into, then you’re in the wrong business.
Yes, some projects are more inspiring than others, and some spaces seem to offer you more to work with than others. Without exception, however, our clients’ yards present us with opportunities to develop programs that take advantage of what’s there in ways that bring balance and harmony and interest to any setting.
Speaking for myself, I’m no more energized in a project than when I get the opportunity to right a wrong and replace a past mistake with a fresh, interesting design – and that was certainly the case in the project discussed in this article and in my past several “Details” columns in this magazine. The setting was special, the clients were great and I was given free rein to work with color, shape and line in vivid, interesting and even startling ways – all in keeping with their wants and desires.
SETTING THE SCENE
To recap information from recent “Details,” this pool/spa combination with its associated decking, walls, planters, outdoor cooking facilities and private garden area are located in a narrow yard at the base of a slope in Pacific Palisades, Calif. It’s a spectacular
By David Tisherman
Let me introduce you to an exciting project I’ve been working on most of this year. Right from the top, I’ll say that even in the realm of the unique and rarified, this one is truly amazing.
The clients are quite well-to-do, and the moment you walk into their home, you can’t help recognizing that they are accomplished art collectors with an eye for modern masters as well as folk art. Their beachfront Malibu, Calif., home – one of
Water can be a central feature of any design, but in many cases it is just one element among many of equal (if not greater) importance.
In the case of the project pictured here, the owners, a gentle and loving family, established and have maintained a vision of just the sort of warm and nurturing home and landscape they wanted, one in which the lives of family members and friends would be sustained, enriched and enlivened. Their vision (and their involvement with us) might have begun with the water, but it has since expanded to include
In conceptual terms, watershape filtration is about as simple as it gets: Water that picks up insoluble organic materials in the form of dirt, debris, dust and algae is drawn by the pump to pass through a filter medium of one type or another. The medium – whether sand, a cartridge or diatomaceous earth – traps these materials and lets only clear, clean water back into the vessel.
When the pump sends the cleaned water out of the filter, that water returns to the pool to dilute the dirty water in a continuous cycle of cleansing and dilution that ultimately results – when the system is set up the right way – in clear, clean water that’s both aesthetically pleasing and safe.
Sand, cartridge and diatomaceous earth filters have long dominated the market, and each requires a filter tank with internal components specific to the filter medium it uses. There are common components (as discussed at the end of this article), but it’s important for the watershaper to
By David Tisherman
Color is amazing. It provides us with some of greatest opportunities we ever have to create spaces that are emotionally evocative and visually compelling – yet it is also one of the most difficult design details to understand and put to good and effective use.
Trouble is, there’s no easy way to simplify the challenge: Color is indeed a tough nut to crack, and that’s as true for architects, artists, fashion designers and the people who choose colors for new
By Lew Akins
Of all the points that are hard to get across when working with clients on a pool design, the one highlighted in this video can be among the hardest: You can paint word pictures until you turn blue; you can show countless photos; you can even take your clients on tours of completed projects and try to show them what you mean: If they have their hearts set on a colored interior finish (that is, pretty much anything beyond plain
‘Project of a lifetime” may not be enough to describe our work at Cima del Mundo.
If you’ll recall, the hilltop home had experienced many changes since its original construction in 1925, including service as a makeshift monastery as well as a stretch of years in which the property was abandoned and