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

WS 20years1By 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

10 year logoBy 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

15yearsagoBy 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

10 year logoBy 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

6-25 beard video artBy Randy Beard

It’s been a while since I shared a video with you through, but it occurred to me (even after a good, long gap) that this one fit perfectly into the series we once offered on the subject of site access and the ways equipment and the products of demolition and construction can be moved from place to place under

WS 20years1By Brian Van Bower

‘When it comes to just about anything that matters in life,’ wrote Brian Van Bower to open his June 1999 Aqua Culture column, ‘the difference between success and failure is often your mindset and the attitude you bring to each situation, event or occasion.  

‘That’s a huge generalization,’ he added, ‘but it’s something I consider each and every time I prepare myself for

15yearsagoBy Stephanie Rose

‘Here in America, our idea of history goes back only so far,’ wrote Stephanie Rose to open her May 2004 Natural Companions column.  ‘We don’t have the “ancient” structures that still set the tone and architectural vocabulary the way they do in Europe, Asia and other places.

‘For those who prefer modern or contemporary styles, this lack of history may

10 year logoBy Bruce Zaretsky

‘As winter draws to a close here in the northeast,’ wrote Bruce Zaretsky to start his May 2009 On the Level column, ‘we begin preparing in earnest to deal with the inevitable springtime rush.  There are contracts to sign, materials to order, plants to grow, schedules to set and hires (if any) to be made.  And we do all of this knowing that, once the weather breaks, we want to burst out of the gate like an odds-on favorite at the Kentucky Derby.

‘To make this happen,’ he continued, ‘we

199902JM0By Jim McNicol

The triennial publication of the National Electrical Code is an event of critical importance to any contractor or subcontractor performing electrical installations or repairs.  First published in 1897 and produced since 1911 by the National Fire Protection Association, the NEC is now enforced in all 50 states and also serves as the basis for codes in several foreign nations.

As has been the case with all editions published to date, the 1999 edition of the code is designed to ensure “the practical safeguarding of

199902SR0By Stephanie Rose

Take a quick look at the area surrounding almost any pool, spa or waterfeature and you’re sure to see living proof that plants and man-made bodies of water go hand in hand.  No matter what form the greenery takes – grass, hedges, trees, shrubs, flowers, even cacti – the fact is that plant life is seen virtually everywhere decorative or recreational water is found.

For all of this close physical proximity, however, landscape designers and the installers of pools, spas, fountains and other watershapes have generally tended to operate in

Pneumatically applied concrete – better known to all the world as ‘shotcrete’ or ‘gunite’ – is so pervasive in watershape construction and so structurally dependable in most cases that a great many builders forget one of the primary steps in its application: proper curing. The result, says consultant Curt Straub, is a rash of hairline cracking in plaster surfaces that might easily be avoided.
Pneumatically applied concrete – better known to all the world as ‘shotcrete’ or ‘gunite’ – is so pervasive in watershape construction and so structurally dependable in most cases that a great many builders forget one of the primary steps in its application:  proper curing.  The result, says consultant Curt Straub, is a rash of hairline cracking in plaster surfaces that might easily be avoided.
By Curt Straub

As a former shotcrete builder myself, I believe you can’t find a better method of building a pool, spa, pond or waterfeature of any type than by using pneumatically placed concrete, or “shotcrete.”  The method and the material offer the designer and builder great and often incredible design flexibility, and the resulting watershapes will last several lifetimes.

Given that the vast majority of watershapers around the world depend on shotcrete as their primary construction material, it only makes sense that we should know as much as possible about putting this amazing product to its best possible use.  Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case.

There’s little argument that the process of shotcrete construction is laborious and demanding, that it requires a major logistical and physical effort and that fairly precise timing is necessary.  For all the focus it takes to apply it and shape it just so, however, I have observed a couple of critical steps many builders overlook in the press of getting the job done – the most important of them being the proper curing of the

199904SR0By Stephanie Rose

Before we dive into discussions of plantings or the various components of landscaping work, I think it’s important to define roles and talk about relationships among the trades involved in watershaping projects – in other words, to take a basic look at who does what.

We can all save time and money by knowing from the beginning of the job who is going to handle each phase and detail as well as who is qualified, trained or licensed to perform the various tasks needed to get the job done.  Planning this up front might even result in greater profits, and it definitely will make your job easier.

I know it’s the goal of this magazine to build a greater “watershaping community” where both landscape professionals and those who

199904BVB0By Brian Bower

Several years ago, at a time when I was still pretty wet behind the ears, a young, attractive woman invited me to join our local Chamber of Commerce and attend a meeting with her.

“Sure,” I said.  “I’ll give it a shot.”  I showed up for the event and met a bunch of banker types, and it seemed like everyone was a vice president of something or other.  I was just starting to get comfortable when the woman who had invited me explained that it was customary for new members to stand up and tell everyone about his or her business.

As luck would have it, I didn’t go first.  Another guy stood up before me and talked for a few minutes about his carpet-cleaning business – a trade he obviously found to be less than stimulating.  He spoke in a monotone voice and made carpet cleaning sound like, well, carpet cleaning.  Inspired by his lack of enthusiasm, I decided to