WaterShapes

The web site for all professionals and consumers who've made or want to make water a part of their lives

Making the Wild Waters Flow

Overseeing the design and installation of naturalistic, mostly large-scale watershapes for high-end developers and residential clients in the Salt Lake City area is clearly a passion for Derk Hebdon.  Since he arrived in town three years ago and helped establish Bratt Inc.’s waterfeatures unit (which he now owns), he’s watched strong local market emerge and rise to a level where the watershapes are truly worthy of their dramatic surroundings.
Overseeing the design and installation of naturalistic, mostly large-scale watershapes for high-end developers and residential clients in the Salt Lake City area is clearly a passion for Derk Hebdon. Since he arrived in town three years ago and helped establish Bratt Inc.’s waterfeatures unit (which he now owns), he’s watched strong local market emerge and rise to a level where the watershapes are truly worthy of their dramatic surroundings.
By Derk Hebdon

Graced by an abundance of beautiful, natural streams, cascades, rivers and lakes spread across spectacular native landscapes, Utah is a dream location for watershapers.

Not only is there a rising demand for crafted streams, ponds and cascades that look like they really belong, but the state itself is also a genuine design laboratory.  Indeed, I send our crews out into the “wild” periodically to do nothing more than hike up and down local watercourses to see how Mother Nature does things.  These waterways are

Read more: Making the Wild Waters Flow

Beyond Vision

Creating a garden space for the sight-impaired and physically handicapped presented landscape architect Bruce Zaretsky with a meaningful challenge – one that, he says, prompted him to rethink some of the fundamentals of garden layout and aesthetics.  The first fruit of his new thinking is this space, in which the serenity and delight of relaxing in a garden space is opened to a wider range of visitors than most designers ever have cause to consider.
Creating a garden space for the sight-impaired and physically handicapped presented landscape architect Bruce Zaretsky with a meaningful challenge – one that, he says, prompted him to rethink some of the fundamentals of garden layout and aesthetics. The first fruit of his new thinking is this space, in which the serenity and delight of relaxing in a garden space is opened to a wider range of visitors than most designers ever have cause to consider.
By Bruce Zaretsky
 
The process of designing a watershape or garden usually requires the designer to answer a number of questions – the vast majority of them having to do with seeing the water and the landscape.  Indeed, from considerations of color and scale to managing views and ensuring visual interest within the space, much of the designer’s skill is ultimately experienced by clients and visitors with their eyes.

But what if your client is blind or wheelchair-bound or both?  How do you design for them?  What colors do you use in your planting design?  Would you even care about color?  How will they move through the space and what experiences will await them?  What would be the most important sensory evocation – sound, fragrance or texture?

These are the sorts of special questions we asked ourselves after being approached by clients who had the desire to create a sensory garden for visually impaired and physically handicapped people.  The experience shed a whole new light on the power of non-visual aesthetics and prompted me to

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Sealing the Deal

2-5 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

The project we’ve been covering in this series of videos is definitely in the home stretch, but there are several key details that still need our attention.  The most important of these from the perspective of long-term performance is properly securing the liner to the faceplate of the waterfall/filter unit.

As seen in the video linked below, this step in the process is all about preventing leaks:  No matter how small they might be, the fact that they’d allow water to

Read more: Sealing the Deal

Pocket Change

The way pond/stream artist Bob Dews sees it, simple structures he calls ‘dirt pockets’ could revolutionize the way plants are used in naturalistic watershapes.  For starters, he says, these pockets give him unprecedented flexibility in taking care of the aesthetics.  In addition, they also offer benefits when it comes to the sustained health of the streams, ponds and cascades he’s been installing for clients in the most beautiful parts of North Carolina.
The way pond/stream artist Bob Dews sees it, simple structures he calls ‘dirt pockets’ could revolutionize the way plants are used in naturalistic watershapes. For starters, he says, these pockets give him unprecedented flexibility in taking care of the aesthetics. In addition, they also offer benefits when it comes to the sustained health of the streams, ponds and cascades he’s been installing for clients in the most beautiful parts of North Carolina.
By Bob Dews

To make a pond or stream successfully “natural,” the designer and installer must know what it takes to produce a convincing illusion that the end product is actually a naturally occurring body of water.  

It’s no secret in the trade that this illusion is made or broken at the edges, where the physical boundaries between waterway and the hardscape and plantings must be both precisely controlled and completely concealed.  Necklaces of stone won’t cut it, nor will waterlines sharply defined by lines of terrestrial plants.  In fact, the challenge here is to make visually linear boundaries disappear, and that’s a tall order for even the best pond/stream designers and builders.  

In my own projects, I work almost every day in tweaking and refining my approaches to these margins and edge treatments, and I’ve come up with many ways to enhance the natural appearance of my ponds and streams.  In recent years, I’ve been honing a technique for landscaping in and around the water that’s given my work an entirely new dimension:  It’s a type of planting container I call a “dirt pocket” – a simple structure that lets me plant a broad range of non-aquatic plants directly in contact with

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A Window into Nature

Microsoft’s corporate campus near Seattle has been the birthplace of much of the world’s most significant consumer-electronics technology.  When it came time to adorn the ultramodern facility with a watershape of it own, the scope and complexity of the system was intended to reflect the scale and grandeur of the world’s most famous software company – and to fit a circumscribed space as though it had been there from time immemorial.
Microsoft’s corporate campus near Seattle has been the birthplace of much of the world’s most significant consumer-electronics technology. When it came time to adorn the ultramodern facility with a watershape of it own, the scope and complexity of the system was intended to reflect the scale and grandeur of the world’s most famous software company – and to fit a circumscribed space as though it had been there from time immemorial.
By Jon Mitovich

Take the world’s most prolific consumer technology company on one hand and, on the other, its desire to augment its corporate headquarters with a natural exterior environment intended to capture geological processes that span millions of years:  It’s a collision of present and past, of technology and nature, that is filled with meaning as well as exciting potential.

Those sorts of thoughts and paradoxes were somewhere on everyone’s minds as we approached the design and installation of a grand-scale watershape at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., corporate campus.  Our aim:  to create a spectacular and entirely

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A Clear, Clean Public Service

The structures and grounds at the Cross Valley Water District’s headquarters in Clearview, Wash., stand as a prime example of how a public facility can send important messages to the community about responsible environmental stewardship.  According to landscape architect Sandra Hasegawa Ingalls of Foresight, Inc., the project’s watershape is a key element in a broad program that makes this facility what she hopes is a model for others to come.
The structures and grounds at the Cross Valley Water District’s headquarters in Clearview, Wash., stand as a prime example of how a public facility can send important messages to the community about responsible environmental stewardship. According to landscape architect Sandra Hasegawa Ingalls of Foresight, Inc., the project’s watershape is a key element in a broad program that makes this facility what she hopes is a model for others to come.
By Sandra Hasegawa Ingalls

Sometimes it’s the small things that give a project its character and value.

In the case of landscape design and installation at the Cross Valley Water District facility, we were able to take a relatively modest property and transform it into a demonstration campus that illustrates how man-made environments can be used to enhance the natural surroundings and meet the needs of human beings – and do it all with grace and harmony.  

I became involved in this project in June 1998, when I was approached by Brandt McCorkle, Lee Beard and Galen Page of Page & Beard Architects.  That firm had been chosen to design the water district’s new headquarters building and had developed a craftsman-style structure that blended perfectly with its rural, wooded surroundings.   

Set on five acres in Clearview, Wash., the district office serves

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Harmonic Resonance: David Slawson’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041225Slawson_25A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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David Slawson
Cleveland

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The Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Ark., features an amazingly realistic composition of stone, plants and water known as “The Garden of the Pine Wind.”  Designed and built by landscape artist David Slawson, the space includes waterfalls organized by three main weir structures that descend 90 feet from top to bottom; a gorgeous stone-arch bridge; and a range of orchestrated streams and pathways all rendered with maximum attention to detail, lines of sight, stone materials and plants.

Watershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

 

David Slawson

Cleveland

 

The Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Ark., features an amazingly realistic composition of stone, plants and water known as “The Garden of the Pine Wind.”  Designed and built by landscape artist David Slawson, the space includes waterfalls organized by three main weir structures that descend 90 feet from top to bottom; a gorgeous stone-arch bridge; and a range of orchestrated streams and pathways all rendered with maximum attention to detail, lines of sight, stone materials and plants.

Cool, Clear Water: George Forni’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041223Forni_23A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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George Forni
Creative Environments
Alamo, Calif.

 

 

 

Sometimes man-made ponds and lakes are created for swimming as well as for their rustic beauty.  In this project, George Forni installed an extensive filtration and circulation system to create crystal clear water for a large pond that not only reflects the beauty of the surrounding landscape but also encourages the homeowners and their visitors to jump in for a dip.  The pond is fed by a small, meandering stream, while grassy edge treatments and sub-surface rocks offer easy access to the water.

Duffer’s Delight: Ken Alperstein’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041221Alperstein_21A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Ken Alperstein
Pinnacle Design
Palm Desert, Calif.

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The watershapes found on golf courses often stand among the largest and most detailed naturalistic streams and ponds found anywhere.  This California project, designed and installed by Ken Alperstein’s firm and known as The Quarry, features extensive watershapes, vast planted areas, expanses of natural and artificial rockwork, thousands of yards of meandering streams, huge lakes and cascades that beautify the course while blending it visually with the striking geology of the surrounding desert.  

Full Gallop: Jim Morris’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041210Morris_10A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Jim Morris
Natural Pools & Waterfalls
Denver

This composition in water, stone, plant material and bronze stands at the main entrance to Invesco Field, home of the National Football League’s Denver Broncos.  The work of Italian sculptor Sergio Benvenuti, the seven broncos gallop up a rocky slope in a 72-foot long, 35-foot wide space leading into the stadium.  Jim Morris’ firm prepared the structure, hydraulics and stonework for the broncos, producing an iconic watershape that has become one of Denver’s most photographed attractions.

Rugged Renewal: Mike Raible’s, E.J. Biernesser’s & Pete Biernesser’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004129Biernesser_9A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.
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Mike Raible, E.J. Biernesser & Pete Biernesser
Glacier, Inc.
Glenshaw, Pa.

 

 

This mountain lake had been utterly devastated by a storm and is a case where the watershaping and landscaping arts have been applied to aid a natural body of water.  In reclaiming the site’s awesome beauty, the crews at Glacier, Inc., moved hundreds of tons of boulders and carefully restored a long stretch of shoreline that now features streams and pathways leading down to the lake, where stones have been strategically placed just below the water’s surface to facilitate fly fishing.

Imperial Splendor: Katsura Rikyu as a Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004127Roth_7A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Katsura Rikyu, Kyoto, Japan
Presented by Douglas Roth
Journal of Japanese Gardening
Rockport, Maine

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Described by Japanese garden expert Douglas Roth as being akin to “walking into a three-dimensional painting,” Katsura Rikyu is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful of all the world’s Japanese gardens.  Roth traveled to Kyoto, Japan, to photograph and bask in Katsura’s transcendent beauty while defining for us the near-hypnotic effect its natural forms, meandering waterways and paths, asymmetrical spatial balances and generations of painstaking care have always had on visitors.

Passion’s Power: Melanie Jauregui’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004125Jauregui_5A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

 

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Melanie Jauregui
Biomirage Landscape & Garden Design
San Diego

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Garden designer Melanie Jauregui bases her stylistic approaches on cues she gleans from extensive conversations with her clients.  This thorough brand of “sympathetic design” very often results in beautifully evocative watershape compositions such as this one, where her use of an arched bridge, terraced edge treatments, natural materials and richly varied plant selections combine to create a space that draws visitors in while fully reflecting the values, needs and sensibilities of the homeowners.

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