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

10-year logoBy Brian Van Bower

‘Through the past few months,’ wrote Brian Van Bower ten years ago this month in opening his Aqua Culture column, ‘I’ve run across several representatives of the pool and spa industry who have expressed concern that some of us in the business of educating watershapers are encouraging landscape architects to move in the direction of the pool industry’s traditional market.

“I can understand the anxiety.  After all, landscape architects are

Back in his high school drafting class, Tanr Ross took a chance in pursuing what were then brand-new computer-design technologies. By the time he encountered the team launching Pool Studio some years later, he was all set to take off on that software's rising digital wave.
Back in his high school drafting class, Tanr Ross took a chance in pursuing what were then brand-new computer-design technologies.  By the time he encountered the team launching Pool Studio some years later, he was all set to take off on that software's rising digital wave.
By Tanr Ross

I grew up in my father’s pool business – a successful design/build firm based in Henderson, Nev.  Even in high school, I was consciously preparing myself to get involved on the design side of things and had signed up for a drafting class to start developing the requisite drawing skills.

But something big was happening in the late 1990s:  I was all set for my drafting class and had equipped myself with the tools I’d need

5-yrsBy Brian Van Bower

‘For the best part of 20 years now,’ wrote Brian Van Bower in starting his Aqua Culture column from March 2010, ‘ trend watchers have tracked Baby Boomers and have kept telling us that, as we aged, we’d definitely become homebodies – so much so that the words “nesting,” “cocooning” and “staycation” have all taken significant

He first became interested in computer-assisted design systems when they were still just a trade-show novelty, reports Barry Justus. But now, he says, he can't imagine developing his designs or communicating with his clients in any other way.
He first became interested in computer-assisted design systems when they were still just a trade-show novelty, reports Barry Justus.  But now, he says, he can't imagine developing his designs or communicating with his clients in any other way.
By Barry Justus

I followed a well-worn path when I started designing watershapes:  I acquired a drafting table and worked at gaining proficiency in the use of pencils, protractors, scales, squares, various templates, colored markers and a multiplicity of other drawing tools as a means of communicating design ideas to my clients.

To this day, I have great admiration for those who work quickly and decisively with these tools, but about ten years ago I was introduced to an array of digital design systems – and I’ve been

10-year logoBy Stephanie Rose

‘With a busy schedule,’ wrote Stephanie Rose to open her March 2005 Natural Companions column, ‘it’s too easy to use the same tools repeatedly in project designs.  

‘Yes, you can mitigate the repetition to a certain extent by using those tools differently each time, but the fact remains that many of us tend to design over and over again with the same plants, hardscape materials and structural approaches because it’s

5-yrsBy Brian Van Bower

‘Watershaping carries us onto the properties and into the private lives of our clients, and it does so to such a personal, even intimate level,’ wrote Brian Van Bower to start his February 2010 Aqua Culture column, ‘that I see the value and importance of getting to know them to the best of my ability.  Invariably, that means asking the right questions and knowing how to

10-year logoBy Brian Van Bower

‘If you ask a roomful of watershapers about the toughest of the basic business challenges they face,’ wrote Brian Van Bower in opening his Aqua Culture column for January 2005, ‘there’s little doubt in my mind that a large percentage of them would say that finding, hiring and keeping good employees is near the top of the list.’

‘Depending upon several factors – the size of your company, its business volume, its focus and how much work you submit to outside contractors – your own approach

5-yrsBy Brian Van Bower

‘Until quite recently,’ declared Brian Van Bower in opening his October 2009 Aqua Culture column, ‘it was difficult to find too many people in the watershaping industry who were willing to say much about “going green.”

‘For a while now, I’ve thought that was a mistake:  It’s been manifestly clear for several years that practices and programs related to energy conservation, water conservation and an overall sense of environmental responsibility are here to stay, and I always think it’s better to

It's too easy to look at concrete as a commodity and therefore take it for granted. That's a mistake, says Paolo Benedetti, who explains here why it's so important to know something about how a batch comes together.
It's too easy to look at concrete as a commodity and therefore take it for granted.  That's a mistake, says Paolo Benedetti, who explains here why it's so important to know something about how a batch comes together.
By Paolo Benedetti

Many times in the past 15 years, articles published by WaterShapes have referred to water as “the main ingredient” when it comes to pools, spas, fountains, ponds and all of the other forms of contained, controlled water.  I’m willing to accept that assertion and have probably offered it myself a time or two.

Here, however, I want to

15yearsagoBy Curt Straub

‘When you work with someone in a cooperative effort to achieve a common goal,’ wrote Curt Straub in a trailblazing article in October 1999, ‘the odds are greatly reduced that you will wind up one day facing that person in a courtroom.  

‘The neat thing about this form of cooperation, also known in business circles as partnering, is that it can do much more than keep you off your lawyer’s time clock.  In fact, partnering is something that all of us in the industry can

5-yrsBy Brian Van Bower

‘One of the themes I’ve covered repeatedly through the years,’ wrote Brian Van Bower in opening his Aqua Culture column in September 2009, ‘has had to do with the need for all of us to become effective team players.

‘True, there have been times when egos have gotten in the way and I’ve found myself in fairly dysfunctional groups, but for all that, I have to say that collaboration very often

10-year logoBy David Tisherman

‘To my way of thinking,’ wrote David Tisherman to open his Details column in August 2004, ‘professional design work requires a professional workspace in which all of the necessary professional tools are available.

‘In fact, for the designer creating custom watershapes, I see the space in which the work actually unfolds as being critical and cutting to the very heart of what it really means to be a “designer.”  I know that

5-yrsBy Brian Van Bower

‘The notion that we should do all we can to exceed client expectations,’ wrote Brian Van Bower to open his August 2009 Aqua Culture column, ‘is one we hear trumpeted in almost every inspirational business seminar and in nearly every keynote speech during trade shows.   

‘There are very good reasons for

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