WaterShapes

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

Natural Impulses: Jim Lampl’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004123Lampl_3A.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.


b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004123Lampl_3B.jpg

Jim Lampl
Lampl Landscape Service
Allison Park, Pa.

 

 

Master gardener Jim Lampl has spent years studying Japanese garden design, a background on full display in this unassuming watershape with its small stream and delicate waterfall.  Where others might have employed bolder flows, Lampl opted instead for an ennobling subtlety in creating a careful composition of rock, water and plant material.  In the process, he uses colors, layered views and natural forms that evoke the Japanese masters who have guided his work here and elsewhere.

Life in an Oasis

The Entrada Golf Course on the outskirts of St. George, Utah, stands at the heart of an unusual cluster of housing developments.  For the past five years, watershaper Richard Allen has worked non-stop to integrate the entire, grand composition through its watershapes, from big lakes and watercourses to intimate streams that run along the property lines of many of the homes – all in the name of creating a much-desired oasis in an arid landscape.
The Entrada Golf Course on the outskirts of St. George, Utah, stands at the heart of an unusual cluster of housing developments. For the past five years, watershaper Richard Allen has worked non-stop to integrate the entire, grand composition through its watershapes, from big lakes and watercourses to intimate streams that run along the property lines of many of the homes – all in the name of creating a much-desired oasis in an arid landscape.
By Richard Allen

When people talk about how much they love living in the desert, I’ve come to believe that what they really mean is that they love living in an oasis looking out onto the desert.

That’s profoundly ironic, but my clients in St. George, Utah, have all chosen for one reason or another to move to an extraordinarily arid place and seem universally to crave the presence of water in their immediate surroundings.  This is indeed one of the most important things they’re looking for in homes in our developments.

It’s one of the reasons why

Read more: Life in an Oasis

Cascading Exertion

1-22 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

Earlier in this sequence of articles and videos, I mentioned how much I enjoy the fact that pond installation is an improvisational art form:  You can roll through a design in your head and sketch it until your pencils are worn to nubs, but the reality is that working with boulders is a process of placement and on-site adjustment that ultimately brings a design vision to life.

That’s particularly true with waterfalls, which is why this single part of the series encompasses four videos and nearly 40 minutes of running time.  And as you will notice, there are probably more

Read more: Cascading Exertion

Striking a Chord

Nestled in the sprawling, 210-acre Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Ark., are four acres of rocks, plants and water assembled by landscape artist and Japanese-garden specialist David Slawson.  It’s a space that serves as the garden’s centerpiece and springs from what he calls his ‘triangle of accord,’ an approach that combines sensitivity to the site with the character and desire of the client as well as the beauty of indigenous rock and plant materials.
Nestled in the sprawling, 210-acre Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Ark., are four acres of rocks, plants and water assembled by landscape artist and Japanese-garden specialist David Slawson. It’s a space that serves as the garden’s centerpiece and springs from what he calls his ‘triangle of accord,’ an approach that combines sensitivity to the site with the character and desire of the client as well as the beauty of indigenous rock and plant materials.
By David Slawson

When I first walked the four acres of wooded ravines of what would later be christened “The Garden of Wind and Pine” at the heart of the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Ark., I was both delighted and daunted by the experience.

The delight came in the site’s sublime natural beauty, which reminded me of tromping through the woods as a child – an activity I enjoy to this day.  As for my sense of unease, I don’t know which was more significant:  the expansiveness of the dry drainage ravines that were to be converted to ever-varying cascades and streams, or the omnipresence of ticks and poison ivy.

When I made my first visit in the fall of 1999, the site was part of an undeveloped 210-acre woodland parcel on the shore of Lake Hamilton given to the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville by Verna Garvan.  She had long seen the peninsula as the ideal setting for a botanical garden and had spent two decades developing her vision, planting camellias and azaleas and a rose garden and commissioning a pavilion by the architect Fay Jones and his partner, Maurice Jennings.

I had worked in Fayetteville before, crafting a

Read more: Striking a Chord

Digging the Quarry

Widely regarded as one of the country’s most prestigious golf courses, The Quarry Golf Club at La Quinta, Calif., is also a significant point of pride for Ken Alperstein, managing partner at Pinnacle Design Co., a firm that specializes in creating expressive landscapes and watershapes for golf links nationwide.  Here, he describes what went into the waterfalls, streams, ponds, rockwork and landscaping that lend the setting such powerful charm.
Widely regarded as one of the country’s most prestigious golf courses, The Quarry Golf Club at La Quinta, Calif., is also a significant point of pride for Ken Alperstein, managing partner at Pinnacle Design Co., a firm that specializes in creating expressive landscapes and watershapes for golf links nationwide. Here, he describes what went into the waterfalls, streams, ponds, rockwork and landscaping that lend the setting such powerful charm.
By Ken Alperstein

Tucked into a small cove in the mountains behind La Quinta in California’s lower Coachella Valley, The Quarry Golf Club is hidden, ultra-private and basically unknown to all but members of the golfing elite and the wealthy few who play the course.  

First conceived by entrepreneur Bill Morrow and designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio, the course is a prime example of just how beautiful golf courses can be – and of how critical a role landscaping and watershapes can play in defining their character and aesthetics.

Our challenge was to embroider the course’s 18 PGA-sanctioned, championship-caliber holes with

Read more: Digging the Quarry

Clearwater Credence

The watershapes on this corporate campus serve as monumental employee amenities – fountains, streams, ponds and a lagoon that provide workers with views both intimate and expansive and with great places to relax, think or hold meetings.  Keeping these multi-purpose systems in top-notch condition is the mission of lake expert George Forni, who discusses here what it takes to meet the client’s demand for high-profile, highly specialized care.
The watershapes on this corporate campus serve as monumental employee amenities – fountains, streams, ponds and a lagoon that provide workers with views both intimate and expansive and with great places to relax, think or hold meetings. Keeping these multi-purpose systems in top-notch condition is the mission of lake expert George Forni, who discusses here what it takes to meet the client’s demand for high-profile, highly specialized care.
By George Forni

Even compared to other spectacular facilities established by Silicon Valley’s high-flying software industry, Oracle’s corporate campus is truly impressive.

The mirrored-glass architecture and warm, meticulously maintained grounds are only the start of the story.  As you dig deeper, you find a range of employee-oriented amenities both inside and outside the buildings that make it tough to do anything but admire the audacity involved in creating such a workplace – and envy the people who work there.

The management at Oracle makes no bones about it:  All of the opulence is designed to attract and retain employees capable of developing cutting-edge software systems.  That’s why you’ll see designer furniture in the offices, international cuisine in the restaurants and beautiful artwork throughout the compound.  It’s an amazing place, and one that has been scrupulously maintained since construction was completed in the early 1990s.

The watershapes reflect the management’s lofty sensibility and are an integral part of an overall scheme of plazas, rolling lawns, pathways and places to relax, meet or socialize with fellow workers.  Our role since 1998 has been to

Read more: Clearwater Credence

Natural Transitions

The home sat above the shoreline of Seattle’s Mercer Island like a modern, angular beacon.  The challenge, says watershape designer/builder Clayton Varick, was to weave the residence more successfully into its lakeside surroundings – a mission accomplished by setting up a string of pools, streams, waterfalls, ponds and plantings that effectively create transitions from the starkly geometrical to the breathtakingly natural.
The home sat above the shoreline of Seattle’s Mercer Island like a modern, angular beacon. The challenge, says watershape designer/builder Clayton Varick, was to weave the residence more successfully into its lakeside surroundings – a mission accomplished by setting up a string of pools, streams, waterfalls, ponds and plantings that effectively create transitions from the starkly geometrical to the breathtakingly natural.
By Clayton Varick

Finding ways to blend the angular rhythms of modern architecture with the sweeping splendors of nature constitutes one of the more difficult challenges faced by today’s watershapers.

In the case of the project pictured on these pages, we were contacted in 2002 about an enormous, modern-style home on Mercer Island overlooking the shore of Lake Washington, right near Seattle.  The property was being remodeled, and the owners wanted a set of watershapes that would enhance the beauty of the two-acre estate while more convincingly integrating the geometry of the structure with its woodsy lakefront setting.

The solution:  a set of watershapes that start near the house with perfect geometric forms that stick to the architect’s original design, then moves down the hillside through various transitional stages to a pond feature that looks like part of

Read more: Natural Transitions

Free and Clear

Along with an increasing demand for large, naturalistic watershapes in both residential and commercial settings has come an unprecedented desire for exceptional water quality in those watershapes, says George Forni, a specialist in the design, construction and maintenance of lakes, ponds and streams.  Here, using several of his projects in northern California as examples, he discusses just what it takes to meet both the demand and the desire.
Along with an increasing demand for large, naturalistic watershapes in both residential and commercial settings has come an unprecedented desire for exceptional water quality in those watershapes, says George Forni, a specialist in the design, construction and maintenance of lakes, ponds and streams. Here, using several of his projects in northern California as examples, he discusses just what it takes to meet both the demand and the desire.
By George Forni

Clear, polished water in well-designed, well-built lakes, ponds and streams:  What better way to communicate a powerful message about the value of the properties that surround them?  

In a commercial setting, for example, clear water in a meandering string of ponds will readily translate into office space filled with happy tenants, while the murky-water alternative could be just the eyesore that holds down the image and limits the facility’s financial success.   

The same principle works for watershapes at apartment complexes, where unseemly streams will almost certainly draw complaints from unhappy residents while cool, translucent water will become a point of pride and source of relaxation for tenants who otherwise might reflexively hold their noses as they pass by.  Or consider the private estate where ponds are meant for swimming:  Without question, these waters must have a crystalline clarity that attests to the water’s safety and potential for recreation.

Delivering this level of water quality is more and more a part of

Read more: Free and Clear

Skimmer at the Ready

1-8 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

I’ve always been a demon when it comes to getting everything having to do with my pond skimmers right:  If they’re set up properly, they’ll work so well that you rarely need to think about them – and that’s always my goal, both for me and for my clients.

Trouble is, you usually end up securing the liner to the faceplate at a fairly awkward point in

Read more: Skimmer at the Ready

Natural Patterns

Widely recognized as one of the country’s foremost authorities on watergardens, streams and cascades, Eamonn Hughes’ watershapes in the Pacific Northwest are among the most beautiful found anywhere in the world.  Here, he shares several of his favorite past projects, using them to define what it takes to achieve believable, naturalistic results with waterfalls, cascades, streams and ponds of any size, large or small, in just about any setting.
Widely recognized as one of the country’s foremost authorities on watergardens, streams and cascades, Eamonn Hughes’ watershapes in the Pacific Northwest are among the most beautiful found anywhere in the world. Here, he shares several of his favorite past projects, using them to define what it takes to achieve believable, naturalistic results with waterfalls, cascades, streams and ponds of any size, large or small, in just about any setting.
By Eamonn Hughes

So often, design comes down to an ability to see patterns.

I first learned this from my mother, a dressmaker who had an uncanny ability to look at garments for which there were no sewing patterns and then sit down and make them from scratch.  I seem to have inherited this talent, taking in a barren landscape and quickly visualizing how it will look with plants, rocks and water.  For this, I am happily in her debt.

Not everyone comes across such a gift by birth, but I believe that the ability to visualize is something most any watershaper can develop through experience and by taking the time to learn the “language” of any

Read more: Natural Patterns

Recent comments

  • Perhaps the most refreshing and insightful expression of how its done that I've read to date. Not quite sure what's more beneficial, the images or the verbal brushstrokes. What a fine bit of expression, Thanks Eamon...
  • I love to see waterfalls. When I read your article, I am so impressed by your achievement. I am a landscape designer w/ a B.S. in Landscape Architecture and B.A. degree in Fine Arts, w/ dual degrees, have used my knowledge to design landscapes, and teach art to children. If I buy your book, I woul...
View other comments

When Ponds Go Bad

A range of issues can conspire to make any good, man-made pond or lake head in the wrong direction.  Addressing those factors and remediating poor water quality is a real specialty, says pond/lake expert George Forni – one that calls for an understanding of biology and chemistry as well as hydraulics.  Here, he details the variety of techniques his firm employs when faced with a body of water that has taken a turn toward the foul and fetid.
A range of issues can conspire to make any good, man-made pond or lake head in the wrong direction. Addressing those factors and remediating poor water quality is a real specialty, says pond/lake expert George Forni – one that calls for an understanding of biology and chemistry as well as hydraulics. Here, he details the variety of techniques his firm employs when faced with a body of water that has taken a turn toward the foul and fetid.
By George Forni

It’s a fact:  A great many of the ponds and lakes in the western United States are simply not part of nature’s scheme.

Whether used for water retention, landscape beautification, fishing or swimming, these artificial, man-made bodies of water are inclined (and in some cases doomed) to be troubled, usually because of fertilizer- and pesticide-laced runoff from surrounding developed areas.  Indeed, some of these problem watershapes are filled with just about the worst water the environment has to offer.

As our business has developed, a large portion of what we do has focused on setting things right in these troubled watershapes and

Read more: When Ponds Go Bad

Sea of Tranquility

Tucked into a canyon within easy walking distance of the Pacific Ocean, the the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles is an oasis of water, plants and spiritual imagery.  At a time when exterior designers are often being asked to develop “tranquility gardens,” it’s a model space of beauty and serenity – and, for landscape designer Stephanie Rose, has become a place to fine tune her skills in plant selection and placement.
Tucked into a canyon within easy walking distance of the Pacific Ocean, the the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles is an oasis of water, plants and spiritual imagery. At a time when exterior designers are often being asked to develop “tranquility gardens,” it’s a model space of beauty and serenity – and, for landscape designer Stephanie Rose, has become a place to fine tune her skills in plant selection and placement.
By Stephanie Rose

During a lifetime of driving up and down the part of Sunset Boulevard where it finally meets the Pacific Ocean, I’d often noticed the sign pointing to “Lake Shrine” but had never taken the time to stop and have a look.

I suppose the “shrine” part of it made me think it was the exclusive preserve of adherents or members of the Self-Realization Fellowship – an organization I knew nothing about other than that their facility was in one of Los Angeles’ most beautiful locations.

I finally overcame my hesitation about visiting the Lake Shrine a couple years ago, when a friend told me it was a place where people of all faiths and religions were welcome to stroll, meditate and enjoy the tranquility of the setting.  Curiosity overcame skepticism and I finally visited the place.  What I found at the Lake Shrine was a serene, calm, meditative oasis of lush, beautiful gardens surrounding a lake.

To this day many years later, the minute I drive through the entrance gate, I’m always swept up by sensations of serenity and peace – and have since

Read more: Sea of Tranquility

A Pond After Dark

12-18 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

A surprising number of my clients come into the pond-buying process without having given any thought at all to how the watershape will look after the sun goes down.  That probably has something to do with the fact that the big natural ponds they’ve encountered in their lifetimes have not benefited from any kind of illumination beyond the occasional pole-mounted floodlight.

So they’re in for a treat when we complete their pond and they watch it

Read more: A Pond After Dark

You are here: Home