Outdoor Living, Fire Features, Amenities & Lighting

Water with a Difference
We all know how much watershapes add to the beauty of any setting, but I suspect we also tend to take for granted the integral role water plays in sustaining those environments.   It's obvious that no landscape would survive long without a steady infusion of water to nurture its plants.  Less obvious, however, are ways in which water can be used to make some places more hospitable to other life forms that inhabit them. This isn't really new.  As has been noted in several articles published in WaterShapes, water has been used in arid climates for centuries as a prime source of "air conditioning" for
Making the Shade
I truly enjoy including shade structures in my designs.  Whether I'm working with an overhang, an arbor, a loggia, a pergola or some other structure (and, yes, they are all different), I see them as ways to create visual extensions of a house - and wonderful places to enjoy being next to the water. There is, of course, as much art and skill to designing and installing the right shade structure as there is to setting up all of the other features of a great backyard.  Done well, a structure that projects out from a house will pull your eye from inside to outside while it provides relief from the sun.  Similarly, freestanding shade structures
Strands of Light
I love the versatility of fiberoptic lighting:  The technology works equally well in conjunction with landscaping or architectural features, and because there's no electrical current to worry about at the light fixtures themselves, they're a natural around water.   Better yet, you can use fiberoptics to create traditional point-light sources, or you can set them up as mellow bands of light over long stretches.  I don't use fiberoptics on every job, but when the situation is right and the customer is willing, I'm eager to dig in and design a system that will wow them for years to come. As is true with any lighting system, the main reason to use fiberoptics is
Made in the Shade
In recent years, I've noticed a tremendous increase in the demand for shade structures - so much so that it would seem the era of slathering on suntan oil and basking in the sun in search of a savage tan might be gone forever. It's an exciting trend that really expands the creative possibilities for watershapers working across a broad range of styles and pricing levels.   And no one could be happier about that than me:  For one thing, I'm fair-skinned and burn easily; for another, adding
Night Visions
It's a simple fact:  No matter where you are on the globe, ultimately it's dark exactly half the time.  So no matter how beautiful your watershapes may be, if you don't fully consider lighting as a key component of your projects, you may be robbing your work of half its potential for pleasing your clients.   That makes it a bottom-line issue, because lighting adds real value to most any watershape installation with a long list of benefits.  For starters, it extends the time a watershape can be used beyond daylight hours.  It also adds