Book & Media Reviews

Packaging Your Finest Work
By Mike Farley One of the greatest contrasts I’ve found between watershapers from the pool and spa industry and watershapers with backgrounds in landscape architecture is the way representatives of the two groups handle their portfolios. Landscape architects are taught that
Selling the Dream
One of the questions I always ask prospective clients is, “Why are you investing in a pool and not a recreational vehicle, boat or vacation home?” Obviously, I’m not interested in having them rethink the decision to purchase a watershape; rather, I’m trying to draw them more deeply into
Steve Jobs: Master of the Presentation
You hear it all the time these days: Now is the time to improve all aspects of what you do for a living. I’ve taken that message to heart and, in striving to upgrade all facets of my work as a watershaper, have come to a somewhat shocking realization: For all of the countless presentations I’ve made to clients, I’ve never
All in My Head
Last year was the worst I’ve endured since I was a novice in the pool and spa industry.  At the time, I found myself taking comfort in the fact that I wasn’t alone, that the recession was to blame for my ebbing sales and that we were all in the same boat.  Misery, it seems, loved company. But I snapped out of it late last year.  I now believe (as I should have last year) that when you constantly tell yourself things are bad, you almost ensure that they will be that way and stay that way.  What I did to escape the trap was to
Modern Landscapes for Living
By now, we all know that pools and certain other watershape forms have been around since ancient times. It’s my strong suspicion, however, that most of us who design and build backyard swimming pools today would fail a pop quiz about
On the Art of Construction
Most watershapers know that the work we do requires knowledge across a wide range of disciplines -- a cluster of skills that includes, among others, geology, materials science, structural engineering, construction techniques, hydraulics, architecture, art history, color
Packaging a Designer’s Messages
It only makes sense that designers should promote themselves in ways that reflect their abilities.When we look at the materials many watershapers use to market their services, however, it's obvious that everything from
Finding Fitness in the Pool
It’s been important to me for two reasons: First, I’m convinced (as others in this magazine have argued) that the watershaping industry is doing both itself and its clients a disservice by not promoting the remarkable healthfulness of aquatic activity. I think this is a deficit we desperately need to address — and also that this effort must begin on a solid base of knowledge and fact. Second, as I progress through my forties, I’m finding that running is becoming more and more difficult because
Selling the Dream
One of the questions I always ask prospective clients is, “Why are you investing in a pool and not a recreational vehicle, boat or vacation home?”  Obviously, I’m not interested in having them rethink the decision to purchase a watershape; rather, I’m trying to draw them more deeply into their commitment, identify what’s important to them and use the information as part of my sales effort and, later, the design process.   Although my clients will express themselves in different ways, their desires almost invariably boil down to wanting a place for family to gather and have fun, to share good times with friends and to enjoy measures of luxury and beauty.  In essence, almost all of them want to take the wastelands that are most backyards and turn them into private resorts. I thought about how I approach these issues a lot after
Ten Landscapes: The View East
For a long time now, I've been dismayed by what I see when certain of my fellow watershapers attempt to incorporate "natural" elements into their pool designs. The ubiquitous piles of rocks and the odd grottos slapped onto the ends of freeform pools are so common I can only conclude that