By Scott Christie
My recent article in WaterShapes left readers in some suspense.
As reported last time (click here), we were most of the way through the design process and were actually getting ready to start important work on site when the homeowners sprung something new on us. They’d just returned from a trip to Europe, and they’d been so inspired by what they’d seen that they wondered if we could inject a sense of the “Old World” into the project.
The goal had previously been about creating a naturalistic setting in which wilderness seemed intent on reclaiming the space. Their fresh desire was to make explicit the notion that a
By Scott Christie
There’s a lot to be said for working with the same homeowners through extended periods on various projects on single sites. From easier communications and familiarity with personalities to full awareness of site dynamics and the capabilities of local talent, the advantages of these long-term relationship quickly collect in long lists.
In this particular case, we at Hess Landscape Architects (Lansdale, Pa.) have worked on one particular property for a pair of clients for ten years now. This has included a variety of projects on an estate that covers
This was one of those cases where a project that offers all the indications of a direct path to success took a couple of weird turns that complicated things in unusual ways.
The pool and spa are located high up in Trousdale Estates, a canyon-hugging neighborhood above Beverly Hills, Calif. The views are magnificent all the way to downtown Los Angeles in one direction and to the Pacific Ocean in another – and the spaces in which the pool and separate spa had been placed took the fullest possible advantage of those prospects.
Our client was a multifaceted home-design/build company that had a distinguished track record with this sort of all-concrete
By Gary Novitski
With the effects of the Great Depression still rocking the economy in the mid-1930s, the Works Progress Administration became a major employer and creative force that put many still-treasured public facilities on the map. In fact, there are few cities in the country that don’t boast a park, bridge, post office or some other public structure built by some of the millions of laborers who found work through the WPA.
In 1937, Vincennes, Ind., was a particularly fortunate beneficiary of WPA’s prowess in the form of the Rainbow Beach Aquatic Center – one of the most innovative and distinctive of all such facilities built up to that time. The goals were two: to provide jobs for the unemployed and to address an alarming increase in
By Grant Smith
It all started in the years following World War II, when large parcels of undeveloped suburban land were carved into tracts in which, all too often, as many homes as possible were included to accommodate huge population influxes. In a nutshell, this is why so many of the lots in places like southern California are relatively small.
We do lots of our work in these “bedroom communities,” and I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked to shoehorn full-featured pools and spas into tiny backyards with limited access. It can be done – we at Aqua-Link Pools & Spas (Carlsbad, Calif.) frequently tackle small-yard projects – but each of them carries
By William Drakeley
As watershapers, we all have one common goal in mind: We don’t ever want our concrete pools, spas, fountains or waterfeatures – whatever it is we’ve just finished building – to move at any time, in any way at all.
This is true no matter the physical or geological circumstances. On a slope, on the flat, elevated above a parking garage or set on rock or in sand or clay, wherever we’re working, we follow
By Mike Farley
I consider myself fortunate to work in a part of the country where the soil holds few mysteries. There’s a lot of clay, which means we make our shells stronger than you typically do in the sandy soils of Florida, but we don’t generally have the sorts of steep slopes where you have to worry about having a pool
By Chuck Baumann
Some of the most intriguing projects begin with an element of mystery.
I received a call from a prominent local designer who informed me that he was putting together a Dream Team for a special client and a special site – but for now, no name would be attached: All we were to receive was a reference number (15-LLC) and a location along with a preliminary plan and some photographs. I wasn’t alone in receiving this preview: Other top-tier exterior-design professionals had been
By Shane LeBlanc
We may have wrapped up the project discussed here more than five years ago, but I still see this backyard almost every time I take clients around to see examples of our work. The way I figure it, there’s no better way to start a portfolio tour than by knocking prospects’ socks off.
There’s lots of cool stuff going on here, some of which can readily be seen: the sweeping, Lautner-style perimeter-overflow edge around much of the free-form pool; the glorious water-on-water vanishing edge overlooking a large pond; a nice, full-featured spa; and the floating
By Kurt Kraisinger
It’s been my good fortune through the years to have worked with some wonderful clients who’ve inspired me to take the extra step, think in different ways and do everything possible to make them happy.
This family was on that level: They love entertaining friends and relations, yet more than anything, the four of them enjoy spending time together – a throwback to the “Leave It to Beaver” spirit of the 1950s and ’60s. At every turn, they were easygoing and patient in ways that made
By Andrew Kaner
Did you ever have a client who knew exactly what he or she wanted in a project, only to change direction once he or she heard the price? That happened with the poolscape discussed in this article – but with an unusual twist.
The homeowner, a prominent South Florida businessperson, had purchased the waterfront property with its existing pool. And he wasn’t finished: He also purchased two neighboring homes, flattening one to make way for a sculpture garden and setting up the other as staff housing. When we saw the site for the first time, the main residence was
By Skip Phillips
I’ve noticed through the years that, from my perspective at least, some of my favorite projects come with the best stories. The poolscape seen here is definitely one of these.
The client started things off by purchasing a house in an ultra-high-end neighborhood, then personalized it with all sorts of details, materials and finishes that turned the existing house into an extremely comfortable Country French-style estate. The one element it lacked, he figured, was a nice swimming pool.
While he was considering his options, the home next door – one with
By Mike Farley
One of the important lessons I learned as a young watershaper is that I am not a surveyor.
Working on a pool design in the hills south of California’s Napa Valley many, many years ago, I found myself on a sloping lot, broke out my line level and figured I could, with some patience and care, map all of the relevant elevations and develop a suitable design based on my observations of the contours.
As it turned out, I was