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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
By Jeromey Naugle
From the start, this one was all about reflections.
The client was building a beautiful new home in Paradise Valley, an older, high-end suburb of Phoenix, Ariz., that nestles up against the base of Camelback Mountain. His greatest desire was to pull the dramatic structure and its setting together with a big, courtyard-style pool that would offer him special, unique perspectives on his surroundings, both up close and in the distance.
To make it happen, the home builder had taken some pencil sketches provided by the client and his interior designer and handed them off to his
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