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

0Poolside waterfeatures are awesome, says Bruce Riley, filling an area with sound and controlling key views into and out of the yard and around the water. Here's a look at ways to assess what clients need from these details -- and address a few issues they might not anticipate. 

 

 

 

When the opportunity to try something new came his way, Scott Cohen stepped up with an ingenious water-wall system that did more for his clients than he ever could have imagined.
When the opportunity to try something new came his way, Scott Cohen stepped up with an ingenious water-wall system that did more for his clients than he ever could have imagined.
By Scott Cohen

This project started in a most unusual way, with the client telling me how little he liked the property he and his wife owned and that a move was likely in the near future. But in the meantime, he said, she wanted a pool.

So there I was, sizing up a challenging site and wondering if

It was a fairly straightforward consultation that became much more fun, writes Paolo Benedetti, as he made a few corrections, offered a few suggestions and found a fellow traveler on the road to visual perfection.
It was a fairly straightforward consultation that became much more fun, writes Paolo Benedetti, as he made a few corrections, offered a few suggestions and found a fellow traveler on the road to visual perfection.
By Paolo Benedetti

When the call came, it was immediately apparent just how narrowly defined my efforts on the project would be.

The basic design for the pool and its spa was already complete, which made perfect sense given how completely they had been integrated into the home’s overall footprint. What the architect wanted, I learned, was an expert who could come in, evaluate the plans and basically keep him and his team out of trouble with respect to all of the details and practicalities related to

Asked to work on a spa after a general contractor had started its construction using an ill-advised approach, Grant Smith moved forward knowing there'd be conflicts on site -- but confident that the clients had his back as he worked to rescue a key feature of their remodeling project.
Asked to work on a spa after a general contractor had started its construction using an ill-advised approach, Grant Smith moved forward knowing there'd be conflicts on site -- but confident that the clients had his back as he worked to rescue a key feature of their remodeling project.
By Grant Smith

If I had my way, each of our watershaping projects would start with participation in the design-development phase, followed by a teamwork approach aimed at delivering a wonderful composition to deserving, contented clients. This, however, was not one of those smooth-sailing projects, not even close.

By the time I was contacted about this one, remodeling of the house had already been under way for three-plus years and seemed to be following a roundabout path toward completion at some elusive future date. I wasn’t surprised to learn that

 

It was a most unusual remodeling project, notes Carla Sovernigo. Partly it had to do with its scale and complexity, but mostly it was because it took three full years to finalize the design and then another whole year to align every last detail with the clients' highly refined ambitions.
It was a most unusual remodeling project, notes Carla Sovernigo.  Partly it had to do with its scale and complexity, but mostly it was because it took three full years to finalize the design and then another whole year to align every last detail with the clients' highly refined ambitions.
By Carla Sovernigo

Participating in a major project is sometimes like watching a child grow up through various developmental stages: Good things take time!

Our own involvement in one of these endurance tests started when we were called out to a 25-year-old home in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: It was being updated from a dreary, dated style to something modern and contemporary for clients who were all about luxury, five-star amenities and state-of-the-art detailing.

The architect and the home builder

Working with unusually large material is a distinct technical challenge in tile application, reports Jimmy Reed. As always, planning and surface preparation are crucial, but the keys in this specific project were patience, skill and a raw determination to stick to a simple, elegant grid.
Working with unusually large material is a distinct technical challenge in tile application, reports Jimmy Reed.  As always, planning and surface preparation are crucial, but the keys in this specific project were patience, skill and a raw determination to stick to a simple, elegant grid.
By Jimmy Reed

There’s no denying the fact that, after many years of hard work, my company enjoys a solid and perhaps unmatched reputation for being able to approach perfection in the application of fine tile to the interiors of pools and spas.

As I see it, we’re all about discipline and mental energy – that is, the training and raw skill that goes into applying sheet after sheet of tile with precision as well as the level of concentration required to

Building watershapes to other's specifications is something he enjoys doing, writes Dave Penton -- particularly when he gets to work with ambitious designers on great projects.
Building watershapes to other's specifications is something he enjoys doing, writes Dave Penton -- particularly when he gets to work with ambitious designers on great projects.
By Dave Penton

Through the years, I’ve been involved in a number of amazing watershaping projects in the southern California region. I’m particularly comfortable with hillside work and have designed and built breathtaking pools and spas on my own, but I spend most of my time these days building to the specifications of ambitious architects and designers who know exactly what they want but

The stakes for a watershape designer are pretty high when the client is a noted architect, observes Shane LeBlanc -- particularly when you're working 3,000 miles from your home base and need to find professionals capable of bringing your bold, ambitious ideas to life.
The stakes for a watershape designer are pretty high when the client is a noted architect, observes Shane LeBlanc -- particularly when you're working 3,000 miles from your home base and need to find professionals capable of bringing your bold, ambitious ideas to life.
By Shane LeBlanc

As an independent designer of custom watershapes, I’ve learned a lot about self-reliance and the degree of passion it takes to persuade clients to come along with me in exploring opportunities to turn backyard swimming pools into exceptional works of art.

I’ve also learned how important it is to play well with others. Earlier in my career, when I

The home sits on the edge of a lovely golf course, but it's backyard definitely needed help. Completely reimagining the space, Juliet Wood inserted a pool, a spa, a cabana, a sweeping staircase and an amazing water wall to create a fully integrated resource for outdoor family fun.
The home sits on the edge of a lovely golf course, but it's backyard definitely needed help.  Completely reimagining the space, Juliet Wood inserted a pool, a spa, a cabana, a sweeping staircase and an amazing water wall to create a fully integrated resource for outdoor family fun.
By Juliet Wood

As is true of many designers, I carry a large number of unusual ideas in the back of my mind, waiting for the right site, the right client and the right project to pull them out and put them to use. Some of these ideas are innovative or even wild and most of them are unconventional – otherwise, they would have found quicker paths to my drawing board.

In the project covered in this article, I was lucky enough to break out two of these special ideas – one an unusual transition from the home’s upper level down to the poolscape, the other in the form of

It was a challenging site for a long pool that would overflow on all four sides. But with the right foundation and a well-engineered shell, writes Grant Smith, the project came together beautifully -- although it apparently wasn't enough to get his clients to stick around to enjoy the view!
It was a challenging site for a long pool that would overflow on all four sides.  But with the right foundation and a well-engineered shell, writes Grant Smith, the project came together beautifully -- although it apparently wasn't enough to get his clients to stick around to enjoy the view!
By Grant Smith

As an engineering-oriented designer/builder, I know that it simplifies a project if I’m working with like-minded clients: They tend to listen well and get a quick grip on crucial details that have an influence on the outcome. They also tend to operate on the conservative side of the construction spectrum, preferring not to take unnecessary risks for themselves or their families, friends and neighbors.

In the project discussed here, not only was the client an engineering and general contractor, but he and his wife were successful real estate investors with extensive holdings. As a result, they had the wherewithal, knowledge and desire to have the pool and spa behind their San Diego-area home stay put on the middle of a long

Every watershaping project starts with a big box of possibilities the designer digs through in selecting features that meet the needs of the site, the clients and the budget. Kurt Kraisinger will examine this early digging to start a brand-new series on how designs come together.
Every watershaping project starts with a big box of possibilities the designer digs through in selecting features that meet the needs of the site, the clients and the budget.  Kurt Kraisinger will examine this early digging to start a brand-new series on how designs come together.
By Kurt Kraisinger

The backyard-design process, it’s been said, is something like completing a jigsaw puzzle: You start with a framed space and assemble available pieces to fill in the picture.

But there are two problems with this common analogy: First, the number of available pieces far exceeds the physical capacity of the frame and, second, there are no precut tabs or notches to guide placement of the selected pieces. So you’d be closer to the mark if you said that design is like the worst, most challenging jigsaw puzzle ever – and even then, the typical backyard-design task is much harder.

Shining a light on this process is

Called back to a pool he'd bid on unsuccessfully ten years earlier, William Drakeley found that the winning contractor had fallen short in several ways. It was now up to him to persuade an extremely reluctant client to start all over again, this time with a more suitable approach.
Called back to a pool he'd bid on unsuccessfully ten years earlier, William Drakeley found that the winning contractor had fallen short in several ways.  It was now up to him to persuade an extremely reluctant client to start all over again, this time with a more suitable approach.
By William Drakeley

As we were wrapping up a WaterShapes article called “Working at Water’s Edge” back in the fall of 2018, it occurred to me that there was another story to be told about one of the projects highlighted in the text.

In that article (click here), a pool I wrote about was set up on the edge of a large, manmade lake. I briefly noted that I’d been called to the site as a consultant after having seen the place several years earlier as a designer/builder who hadn’t won the contract. In this article, I’ll go back to my initial contacts with the client and tell a fuller story of a trying relationship that, slowly and with great difficulty,

It's always fun working with clients who know what they want but don't think they can have it, writes Shane LeBlanc. And that's particularly true when they're great collaborators who've already taken steps to set the tone and prepare the space for a crowning aquatic touch.
It's always fun working with clients who know what they want but don't think they can have it, writes Shane LeBlanc.  And that's particularly true when they're great collaborators who've already taken steps to set the tone and prepare the space for a crowning aquatic touch.
By Shane LeBlanc

If I’ve learned one truth about working with water in confined areas, it’s that success is most often measured by how much more spacious an added watershape makes those areas seem.

The funny thing in this particular case is that the yard wasn’t especially small, sloping away from a formal house down to a rustic cottage set on the edge of the property. What was crowded was the upper-level area into which we decided to insert a big part of the pool: It was hemmed in on one side by the home and on the other by the lot’s setback – a span of maybe 28 feet – below which the available space opened up and flowed down for about 30 feet to the cottage.

In quick order, I found myself confronting three

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