By Kurt Kraisinger
As a landscape architect, I generally approach projects with a balanced view of a space’s potential. I weigh all of the possible elements in the prospective design, envisioning pools, spas, decking, lighting, shade structures and plantings as well as the flow from the inside of the home out into the backyard and the uses to which the homeowner intends to put the space.
Every once in a while, however, the unique features of
By Ian McGregor
The modern concept of “outdoor living” took hold a long time ago – the very first time a homeowner set up a barbecue grill somewhere near the backyard pool, then figured out a way to enjoy a family meal al fresco.
This sort of casual and mostly seasonal approach held on for decades, but approaches to outdoor living took a giant leap forward in the 1990s, when swimming pools started being joined in increasing numbers of backyards by
By Paolo Benedetti
For quality watershapes, there’s nothing like a finish made up of mosaic glass tile: The material has a great look and a spectacular texture, comes in amazing colors and offers a full range of visual effects, from complete transparency to shimmering iridescence. It’s the perfect crowning touch for an outstanding project if the budget is right – and that’s where the trouble often starts.
Through the years, I’ve inspected more than 40 projects in which
By Tanr Ross
It’s a small backyard with a Texas-size easement – and a good thing that I like challenges, because designing a project for this outdoors-loving family in Katy was an exercise in making a whole bunch of ideas fit comfortably within an unusually constrained space.
As we learned, their gated-community property is separated from the street directly behind it by a tall boundary wall. This meant that there was no backing parcel to share
By Jimmy Reed
Even after years of operation in the tile-application business, we still find fresh challenges and new sources of pride in what we do. I think it’s primarily because we spend so much of our time focusing on fine details – the little touches that turn routine work into creative exercises and repetitive tasks into ongoing sparks of inspiration.
A case in point is the huge job on display in this article: The three watershapes encompass vast square footage that includes fields of
By Brian Van Bower
Working on a wide range of projects in a wide range of locales for a broad range of clients is an interesting way to make a living, I have to say, but in some cases the projects we participate in are so high end that we know we’ll only ever experience the finished product in pictures.
A case in point is the Ani Villas, a resort property in Dikwella on the southern edge of Sri Lanka, a large island off the southern coast of India. It’s a water lover’s paradise, with 270-degree views of the Indian Ocean as well as grounds dotted by multiple watershapes: two large main pools, numerous small private plunges for certain guest rooms, a pair of pools for kids, a weeping wall to greet visitors and a river/cascade system through portions of the property.
It’s an amazing place, and I’m proud to say we
By Ben Lasseter
When outsiders think of Texas, they very often assume that it’s flat as a pancake with no topographical distinctions to consider. That may be true in some parts of our big state, but where I live and work in the vicinity of Austin, there are areas that offer great views and have attracted developers who are intent on using those prospects to full advantage.
The spec home featured in this article is an example of this trend: It’s in Westlake Hills, a small neighborhood within Austin’s city limits that affords some amazing views of
By Shane LeBlanc
This is the story of the rebirth of a pool – and then some.
It all started when I was contacted by a homeowner who was in what I’d call perfectly reasonable distress: His swimming pool was a mess, he told me, surrounded by cracked decking, a crumbling slide structure and a deteriorating fireplace. He’d already spent a bundle on piers and other fixes recommended by engineers, hoping to
By Tanr Ross
As a designer, I am quite familiar with projects that involve a good bit of give and take between me and my clients. You know how it goes: the typical process of success by approximation as you work through sets of possibilities and navigate around a couple dead ends before a design is approved and accepted.
In a WaterShapes article earlier this year, for instance, I wrote about the ordeal of developing seven distinct
By David Tisherman
‘In my observation,’ wrote David Tisherman in his Details column for the August 2006 edition of WaterShapes, ‘steps tend to be afterthoughts and are seldom fully considered. But I’ve always taken them seriously because I see them as prime gathering places where people sit, move in and out of the water and in general spend a great deal of time.’
‘Children also jump from the steps into the deeper water and
By Brian Van Bower
Of all the design trends that have taken hold in watershaping through the past ten years, the one that leads us to work with plenty of slot-edge, perimeter-overflow systems may well be my favorite.
I’ve done them partway and all the way around pools and spas; I’ve run them up against all sorts of materials, from poured concrete to incredibly beautiful varieties of stone; and, most of all, I’ve appreciated the skill that goes into installing them and making these water-in-transit