WaterShapes

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

Defined by Details

When Jimmy Reed approaches intersections of planes in tile surfaces, he sizes up the situation and figures out ways to complete the transitions with polished visual dexterity.  It's not easy work, but he knows that these deft touches turn the common into the awesome.
When Jimmy Reed approaches intersections of planes in tile surfaces, he sizes up the situation and figures out ways to complete the transitions with polished visual dexterity. It's not easy work, but he knows that these deft touches turn the common into the awesome.
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

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Slices of Heaven

Working at a distance is nothing new for Brian Van Bower, whose projects frequently carry him across the globe.  But this one on a beach in Sri Lanka tested his limits, both in the scope and scale of the project and in the fact that it was all done without him ever visiting the site!
Working at a distance is nothing new for Brian Van Bower, whose projects frequently carry him across the globe. But this one on a beach in Sri Lanka tested his limits, both in the scope and scale of the project and in the fact that it was all done without him ever visiting the site!
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

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All About the View

The hilltop spec house called for a soft-spoken pool and spa that didn't interfere with the great view beyond.  So he started with a simple form, writes Ben Lasseter -- then focused his creative energies on details that make cool impressions when it's time to take a closer look.
The hilltop spec house called for a soft-spoken pool and spa that didn't interfere with the great view beyond. So he started with a simple form, writes Ben Lasseter -- then focused his creative energies on details that make cool impressions when it's time to take a closer look.
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

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Trash to Treasure

The old poolscape had its problems -- chief among them having been built partly over a huge trash pit.  Correcting that situation was no fun, but it was only the first step in a process that saw Shane LeBlanc revise and upgrade the space from the back door to the view beyond.
The old poolscape had its problems -- chief among them having been built partly over a huge trash pit. Correcting that situation was no fun, but it was only the first step in a process that saw Shane LeBlanc revise and upgrade the space from the back door to the view beyond.
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

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Drain Wisdom

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With new rules and varying codes, setting up drain systems for pools and spas is more complicated than it once was, notes Paolo Benedetti.  Here, he offers a bit of technical advice that will help clarify the process -- and make it easier for systems to pass inspection.

 

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Shared Vision

Faced with a small site but encouraged by clients who gladly accepted his initial design proposal as presented, Tanr Ross applied all of his skills in creating a backyard environment that combines great entertainment spaces with family fun -- no change orders required!
Faced with a small site but encouraged by clients who gladly accepted his initial design proposal as presented, Tanr Ross applied all of his skills in creating a backyard environment that combines great entertainment spaces with family fun -- no change orders required!
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

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Smart Steps

10-year logoBy 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

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Edged in Green

A client's request for a turf edge to go along with his perimeter-overflow pool confronted Brian Van Bower with an unusual challenge -- and led to a solution that serves as the crowning touch for a project filled with watershapes from one side of the property to the other.
A client's request for a turf edge to go along with his perimeter-overflow pool confronted Brian Van Bower with an unusual challenge -- and led to a solution that serves as the crowning touch for a project filled with watershapes from one side of the property to the other.
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

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Watching pH

7-27-16KS0What happens when the water added to a newly plastered pool has had a chance to interact fully with its new surroundings?  That's a big question, writes Kim Skinner -- one that has implications for the long-term appearance and maintenance of countless watershapes.

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Racing to the Finish Line

With winter slowly ending, Barry Justus knew that he had no time to spare in converting this homeowner's dream of a personal five-star resort into a multi-watershape, party-ready reality.  This included the hidden slide and the vanishing television -- all on a rigid deadline.
With winter slowly ending, Barry Justus knew that he had no time to spare in converting this homeowner's dream of a personal five-star resort into a multi-watershape, party-ready reality. This included the hidden slide and the vanishing television -- all on a rigid deadline.
By Barry Justus

For most residents of southeastern Canada, the winter of 2013/2014 was memorable for off-the-hook low temperatures, plenty of snow and lots of discomfort.  For me and my crew, however, what we’ll recall most is how hard we worked right through the teeth of the inclement weather to make a huge project deliverable by its May 2014 deadline.

As was reported in the first article of this

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Against the Clock

Faced by a firm deadline and the realities of over-winter construction in Canada, Barry Justus knew he had little time to spare -- and a whole lot to accomplish in a few short months if he was to have any hope of completing a grand-scale project in time for a springtime party.
Faced by a firm deadline and the realities of over-winter construction in Canada, Barry Justus knew he had little time to spare -- and a whole lot to accomplish in a few short months if he was to have any hope of completing a grand-scale project in time for a springtime party.
By Barry Justus

Living and working on a part of the globe where the winters are severe is almost balanced by how hospitable the weather generally can be for the rest of the year.

That, of course, is something we count on as watershapers in the Canadian marketplace:  The joy of leaving winter weather behind is something our clients fully appreciate, so much so that they’re willing to go the distance with

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The 'Forever' Look

Called upon when other contractors couldn't give the client the organic look he wanted, Matt Wilson put his skills and long experience with artificial rock to the test in creating a water- and plant-draped outcropping that appears to have been in place since time immemorial.
Called upon when other contractors couldn't give the client the organic look he wanted, Matt Wilson put his skills and long experience with artificial rock to the test in creating a water- and plant-draped outcropping that appears to have been in place since time immemorial.
By Matt Wilson

It was a great project:  The client called us in to look at a sloping backyard for which his one and only wish was an environment that would be “organic and pre-existing” – that is, a composition that looked as though it had been there forever, long before the adjacent home entered the picture.

That sort of look is our stock in trade at Outdoor Republic, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based firm that specializes in the use of artificial rock.  As is often the case, we became involved after the homeowner had

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Active Water

6-8-16KS0When agitated or flowing water moves through the air, it loses carbon dioxide.  That's particularly significant in systems with fountain jets, waterfalls or vanishing edges, observes Kim Skinner, with the loss affecting pH in ways that must be dealt with to avoid big problems.

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