By Steven Swanson
After starting in the pool industry more than 40 years ago as a service technician, I gradually became involved in repairs, then remodeling work and, finally, with design and new construction. I’ve now built commercial and high-end residential projects, done numerous vanishing-edge installations and have pursued designs and details I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing back in 1979.
But there was one look that I’d never had an opportunity to work on with any of my clients: a perimeter overflow.
That all changed last year in a backyard in Alamo, Calif., and the interesting thing is that
By Kurt Kraisinger
This was a fun one – a project that was fully within our comfort zone but pushed us into new territory and gave us an opportunity to shine in a unique design context.
We had worked with the property-management firm before, and they called us in to have a look at a large space behind a multi-story office building in Overland Park, Kans., where we were also to meet with the building’s owner and some of the project’s stakeholders.
We had done well in our
By Raymond Jungles
As a landscape architect, I’m passionate about creating gardens of every variety. But I like my work to benefit as many people as possible, so I get particularly engaged when these spaces are accessible to the general public.
This explains why I love working on botanical gardens and exploring the ways they allow me to focus on plants and education in fundamental ways. Through the past 30 years, I’ve had the privilege of working on slices of four different botanical gardens, so I also know the
By J. Wickham Zimmerman & Chris Roy
As our business has evolved through the years, more and more often we’ve found ourselves involved in designing, engineering and installing waterfeatures associated with hospitals, medical centers and other healthcare institutions. These projects usually fall under the heading of “wellness gardens” or “healing gardens” – that is, spaces set aside for patients, families and staff to decompress, meditate or simply take a break.
While these watershapes are generally simple in concept, there’s typically more to the way they’re designed and built than meets the eye – a fact that adds an extra layer of
By Peter Arnold
It was the perfect confluence of needs and ideas: Mattamy Homes, a Canadian developer based in Toronto, was working on a project in Edmonton, Alberta – a new community called Stillwater that they wanted to elevate with an “amenity center.” This key space, we learned, was meant to promote healthy, active lifestyles by offering residents a play area that would include both a skating rink and a unique splash pad.
As planned, the community was set up with wilderness areas, hiking trails and other opportunities meant to encourage enjoyment of the great outdoors. To capture that spirit in the splash pad and playground, Mattamy Homes enlisted the services of Calgary, Alberta-based Park N Play Design, a designer and installer of custom indoor and outdoor recreation spaces throughout Canada.
The resulting splash-pad design includes a large, custom-fabricated set of spray rings that provides fun for children of all ages while at the same time creating an eye-catching, artistic visual at the heart of
By Ken Alperstein
A glance at our portfolio of dozens of golf-course projects dating back to 1990 shows that no two of them are exactly alike – despite the fact that our mission in each case has been exactly the same: It’s our goal with every project to leave behind grassy patches that have seemingly been draped across natural terrain that has been there, untouched and untrammeled, since time immemorial.
In other words, we’ve crafted elevation changes, watercourses, plantings and other defining features so carefully that it seems like folks who enjoy chasing little white, dimpled
By Ken Alperstein
We’ve participated in the construction of lots of great golf courses through the years, but this one was something special.
It started for us at Pinnacle Design (Palm Desert, Calif.) with a call from one of the world’s top golf-course architects, Ted Robinson, Jr., who let us know that we had to rush to prepare a presentation for a client in South Korea. As he explained the situation, if we couldn’t win over the chairman of the conglomerate that was building the 27-hole course, the job would go to
Through the years, Bruce Zaretsky has designed enough healing gardens that he knows just how comforting they can be for patients, caregivers and loved ones. But they only work, he notes, when designers keep some basic principles and several user-specific design factors in mind.
By Stephen Pevnick
From the start, the systems I call “Graphical Waterfalls” have always been about combining art and technology to create something unusual and visually arresting.
As discussed in a WaterShapes article in August 2007 (click here), it was an idea that began in the first year of my professional teaching career at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It became an earnest professional pursuit when I asked a professor in the music department if I could borrow some time on his
By Joseph M. Serpe
When New York’s Long Island comes up in conversation, most people think about the Hamptons, exclusive summer resorts, incredible estates and beaches by the mile.
But that image has a flip side: For many years, in fact, Wyandanch, a hamlet within the town of Babylon, N.Y., has been a community that has had very little go its way, with poverty-stricken streets, gang activity and not much going on that would make its citizens hopeful about
By Maria Hetzner
As customer demands continue to push the creativity of watershapers to new limits, industry professionals need to stay atop the trends – and nudge those of us on the supplier side to new levels of creativity as well.
In some cases, this means learning how to construct new environments, such as the vanishing edges and beach entrances so many clients now want. In other cases, this expanded creativity comes from a need to know what products are available from manufacturers.
Although once they were the product of on-site construction skills, sheeting waterfalls now fall largely into the category of
By Paul Ryan & E.C. Medley
Given the way bodies of water interact with gravity, a great deal of the personality of any swimming pool is set by the flat surface of the water and its reflective qualities. In our work, we’ve found a variety of ways to capitalize on that flatness by creating focal points that are distinctly vertical in nature.
In fact, we’ve found that working on the “y axis” and focusing on upright structures as diverse as arches, walls, columns and waterfalls can yield a variety of stunning visual effects: Exterior spaces and vistas can be connected or distinguished, architectural shapes can be contrasted or echoed, shadows or reflections can be cast, and privacy or openness can be enhanced.
The fact that these effects cut both ways makes them appealing to a custom builder who strives to give clients something unique and lets the characteristics of the individual setting drive the design process. It makes the work more challenging, yes, but it also makes it more fun and rewarding.
In many cases, the vertical elements we use can be subtle and retiring – a slightly raised bond beam, for example, or a small waterfall. More often than not, however, we gravitate toward the bold and declarative by integrating water into architectural forms and creating dramatic and
By George Forni
What is good lake construction? What makes some pristine and beautiful while others seem fetid and slimy? To discover the answer to these and other questions, we need to start by defining what we mean by “lake.”
It may seem arbitrary, but the distinction can be an important one, especially to people who own them. You don’t want to insult anyone by calling their lake a pond or lagoon, for example. By the same token, you don’t want to seem ill-informed or unprofessional in referring to their waterfeature as a lake. Given the different