WaterShapes

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

Mountain Majesty

The property may be in Missouri, but the clients wanted a 'mountain lake' to go along with their big, Rockies-style lodge.  Kurt Kraisinger was happy to oblige -- both for the change of pace and for the scope and scale of what proved to be a vast, detailed and lengthy endeavor.
The property may be in Missouri, but the clients wanted a 'mountain lake' to go along with their big, Rockies-style lodge. Kurt Kraisinger was happy to oblige -- both for the change of pace and for the scope and scale of what proved to be a vast, detailed and lengthy endeavor.
By Kurt Kraisinger

Who says you have to live in the Rockies to get the perfect mountain home?  These clients are living that dream just outside Kansas City, Mo.

Not long ago, they purchased land north of the Missouri River near Smithville, a rural outpost known for its rolling hills, plentiful trees and tobacco farms.  It’s a place where relatively low-cost land is still available, and people have started buying acreage and building their

Read more: Mountain Majesty

Edge-Wall Essentials

Vanishing-edge pools have been around for a long time now, but Paolo Benedetti is aware that good numbers of watershapers are still making fundamental errors in their design and construction -- including some problems he seeks to address with a few helpful tips.
Vanishing-edge pools have been around for a long time now, but Paolo Benedetti is aware that good numbers of watershapers are still making fundamental errors in their design and construction -- including some problems he seeks to address with a few helpful tips.
By Paolo Benedetti

Vanishing-edge walls have been a common design detail for the past 25-odd years and have been the subject of seminars and workshops almost as long as I can remember.  Still, it’s clear that there are several key points about how they should be designed and installed that elude watershapers who persist in treating these key structural components as little more than glorified in-pool spa dam walls or some other internal detail.

You can probably

Read more: Edge-Wall Essentials

A Jewel in the Woods

Working with a property owner who insists on an unconventional approach to a project can be a challenge.  But it definitely helps, reports William Drakeley, when that client is also open-minded, imaginative and absolutely set on achieving brilliant, gem-like results.
Working with a property owner who insists on an unconventional approach to a project can be a challenge. But it definitely helps, reports William Drakeley, when that client is also open-minded, imaginative and absolutely set on achieving brilliant, gem-like results.
By William Drakeley

It happens only rarely, but every once in a while you run into a client who wants to do things out of sequence.

Most often, we’re asked to work on projects where there’s an existing home that needs a watershape.  Just as commonly, we’re brought in when a home is being built at the same time as a new pool and its associated environment.  In the case described in this article, however, our client owned a 20-acre site with little more than

Read more: A Jewel in the Woods

Safety Always

Liability is a huge issue with commercial aquatic facilities and waterparks, notes Johnathan Roberts, a fact that has led many operators, managers, designers and builders to focus on safety in ways that go well beyond lifeguard stands, first-aid kits and omnipresent signage.
Liability is a huge issue with commercial aquatic facilities and waterparks, notes Johnathan Roberts, a fact that has led many operators, managers, designers and builders to focus on safety in ways that go well beyond lifeguard stands, first-aid kits and omnipresent signage.
By Johnathan Roberts

Swimming continues to grow as a preferred method of exercise and physical therapy for people of all ages, with commercial aquatic facilities seeing healthy increases in patronage year after year.  And whether it’s water aerobics, resistance training, water walking or aquatic yoga, there’s now much more to this popularity than traditional swim lessons for newcomers and laps or competitions for those with developed swimming skills.

With this popularity comes

Read more: Safety Always

Applied Arts

Pool and spa designs are getting better and better by the day -- deftly contoured, crisply detailed and increasingly elaborate.  It's an approach to watershaping that requires Jimmy Reed and his crews to reach beyond excellence, he says, to all-new levels of craft and skill.
Pool and spa designs are getting better and better by the day -- deftly contoured, crisply detailed and increasingly elaborate. It's an approach to watershaping that requires Jimmy Reed and his crews to reach beyond excellence, he says, to all-new levels of craft and skill.
By Jimmy Reed

One of the things I like most about working in the watershaping business these days is how clever and creative designers and builders have become at what they do.

It’s not just the big details such as vanishing edges, play-pool configurations, sun shelves or swim-up bars.  And it’s about more than beach entries, grottos, laminar jets and cool spillways.  Those are all great, every one of them, but what I’m talking about here is the attention to the small things – the subtle ways more and more watershapers are finding to make

Read more: Applied Arts

Managed Elevations

It was a Mid-Century Modern home that needed the right poolscape:  That task was well within Kurt Kraisinger's design sweet spot, and he responded with a dramatic, low-slung vision complete with a fire feature, broad decks and a pizza oven -- not to mention a big, blue duck.
It was a Mid-Century Modern home that needed the right poolscape: That task was well within Kurt Kraisinger's design sweet spot, and he responded with a dramatic, low-slung vision complete with a fire feature, broad decks and a pizza oven -- not to mention a big, blue duck.
By Kurt Kraisinger

It definitely helps to have a good reputation within the local design community.

In this case, an architect I’ve known for years and have worked with on numerous occasions – someone with whom I’ve gotten so familiar with on the job site that we’ve become good friends – called me in to meet clients who needed help beyond the work he was doing on their house.

He thought we’d be a good fit, and he was right:  From our first meeting, the clients and I

Read more: Managed Elevations

A Fuller Experience

Some clients want all the benefits of a manufactured spa to go along with their inground pools.  As Dave Hoffman explains here, there's a ready-made option for these folks, one that's easy to design into a poolscape so long as you keep a few basic practicalities in mind.
Some clients want all the benefits of a manufactured spa to go along with their inground pools. As Dave Hoffman explains here, there's a ready-made option for these folks, one that's easy to design into a poolscape so long as you keep a few basic practicalities in mind.
By Dave Hoffman

I’d hazard the guess that most experienced pool designers and builders have run into this scenario:  The clients want a pool, and they also want a spa – but not just any spa will do.

Through the years, these clients have been in the attached spas of friends’ inground concrete pools, but this is not what they want.  That’s because they’ve also experienced portable spas and prefer their performance:  superior jet action, diverse seating arrays and options, more features and

Read more: A Fuller Experience

Riverside Recreation

To win this backyard project in competition with three big Atlanta architecture firms, Shane LeBlanc had to call on his eye for grand-scale details in creating a delightfully asymmetrical poolscape -- one that looks polished, inviting and fun from every conceivable angle.
To win this backyard project in competition with three big Atlanta architecture firms, Shane LeBlanc had to call on his eye for grand-scale details in creating a delightfully asymmetrical poolscape -- one that looks polished, inviting and fun from every conceivable angle.
By Shane LeBlanc

Sometimes, things come together in just the right way.

I’d been called in to a multimillion-dollar property with a large, three-year-old house on it, right next to the Chattahoochee River on the northwestern fringe of Atlanta.  There was an existing pool, but the homeowners wanted something new – a composition that befitted the home’s elegance and said more about

Read more: Riverside Recreation

Weighing Possibilities

Through the years, Brian Davis has been asked to try all sorts of 'wonder products' -- a process that has made him so skeptical that he tests almost everything he sees.  As he discusses here, that included a thermo-polymer option to Portland cement-based pool finishes.
Through the years, Brian Davis has been asked to try all sorts of 'wonder products' -- a process that has made him so skeptical that he tests almost everything he sees. As he discusses here, that included a thermo-polymer option to Portland cement-based pool finishes.
By Brian Davis

As a general contractor, I am steadily bombarded by information about new products that claim they will forever change the way I look at whatever category the novel gizmo occupies.  This sort of marketing has turned me into a skeptic whenever I see something new come along, basically because experience and communication with other contractors have showed me that few of these novelties ever fully live up to the hype.

Some contractors respond to this slippery situation by sticking solely with what they know, which, in my view, is

Read more: Weighing Possibilities

Following Lines

When it comes to refining the way mosaic tile projects come together, says Jimmy Reed, there's no substitute for persistence in working on intersections where surface planes flow into one another.  It takes patience, he adds, and a crew trained to pursue visual perfection.
When it comes to refining the way mosaic tile projects come together, says Jimmy Reed, there's no substitute for persistence in working on intersections where surface planes flow into one another. It takes patience, he adds, and a crew trained to pursue visual perfection.
By Jimmy Reed

Through many years of applying small pieces of tile to the complex sorts of surfaces found in pools, spas and other waterfeatures, I find most of the challenges (and opportunities) come in figuring out intersections – that is, places where planes meet, contours change and, in general, a whole lot of attention needs to be paid to getting things just right visually.

We at Rock Solid Tile (Calabasas, Calif.) have been fortunate to find ourselves involved in many projects in which

Read more: Following Lines

Pigments and Pools


Colored plaster and aggregate finishes are found in more and more watershapes these days.  But as Que Hales, Doug Latta and Kim Skinner discuss, not all pigments are created equal -- and knowing how to choose among the options can be the key to a project's success.
Colored plaster and aggregate finishes are found in more and more watershapes these days. But as Que Hales, Doug Latta and Kim Skinner discuss, not all pigments are created equal -- and knowing how to choose among the options can be the key to a project's success.
By Que Hales, Doug Latta & Kim Skinner

There are few things prettier than the classic sky blue that results from the combination of white plaster and clear water.  In recent times, however, amazing and even startling colors and color combinations are appearing within swimming pools and other watershapes courtesy of either integrally colored plaster, white plaster paste coupled with colored aggregate or colored paste with a colored aggregate.

Various textures are also available courtesy of these finishes, with surfaces ranging from

Read more: Pigments and Pools

Working the Angles

The inside of the client's home reflected her refined style sense, but the outside, well, not so much.  That led Kurt Kraisinger to pursue a path that transformed her humdrum suburban backyard into a sleek Contemporary showpiece -- one with a subtly nautical presence.
The inside of the client's home reflected her refined style sense, but the outside, well, not so much. That led Kurt Kraisinger to pursue a path that transformed her humdrum suburban backyard into a sleek Contemporary showpiece -- one with a subtly nautical presence.
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

Read more: Working the Angles

Indoors Out

When Ian McGregor approaches a backyard project, he does all he can to embrace the entire environment.  In doing so for this project, he created connections between existing indoor spaces and new outdoor rooms that echo familiar functions while injecting dashes of fun.
When Ian McGregor approaches a backyard project, he does all he can to embrace the entire environment. In doing so for this project, he created connections between existing indoor spaces and new outdoor rooms that echo familiar functions while injecting dashes of fun.
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

Read more: Indoors Out

You are here: Home ARTICLES Pools/Spas