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

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

I imagine that many of you said “good riddance” instead of “farewell” to 2008 – and that almost as many of you might want to skip right over the looming uncertainty of 2009 completely and head directly into 2010.

Nobody can jump

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

To excel as professionals, watershapers need to develop a good working knowledge of a range of technical disciplines – hydraulics, materials science and geology, for example – and know the ins and outs of structural, electrical and mechanical engineering.

No single person needs to have certified expertise in all of those fields, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that anyone who enters the watershaping realm needs to be conversant in the mix of disciplines he or she must coordinate if the goal of

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

Before attending the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Expo in Chicago last fall, I arrived in town a couple days early to spend some quality time with my great friends and long-time WaterShapes contributors Suzanne and Ron Dirsmith, who live and work in Oak Park, a suburb famous for a number of Prairie-style homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Dirsmiths, of course, are accomplished artists in their own right, having distinguished themselves with their work on

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

For all the technical savvy, design sophistication and overall smarts demanded of those who reach for the heights in the aquatic arts, I’m often reminded that, at its core, watershaping is largely about fun and enjoyment.

For years now, that message has come through in any number of ways in these pages.  Take the columns of Brian Van Bower:  Just about every month, he does an amazing job of persuading us that watershaping is really about good times and the pursuit of the good life.  And he’s not alone in repeatedly driving home the point that

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman  

As is true of businesses coast to coast, we at WaterShapes are counting the days until the economy turns around.  We do so confident that economic trends are cyclical and that good times have always replaced the bad.

But this particular recession has been deeper and longer than most among us have ever witnessed, leaving many companies – including ours – to hunker down and make what we can out of thin stocks of available business.  As has been suggested numerous times in the pages of our magazine, however, this is no time for rash

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

Welcome to WaterShapes’ 2011 Resource Directory!  

It’s our way of wrapping up a year’s worth of issues with a special edition that anticipates your professional needs in times to come.  Simply put, we’ve beaten the bushes and amassed a treasure trove of information that gives you direct, easy access to the products and services you’ll need to excel in the design, engineering and construction of watershapes and outdoor environments of all types in 2011 and beyond.

Since the magazine’s debut a dozen years ago, we’ve served as

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to where the water we drink originates.  Our supplies of this precious commodity are so reliable, ample and safe that we mostly just go to the tap and use what we need.

I was once that carefree, but no more.  As I see it, ignorant bliss is actually inexcusable these days, not only because each of us needs a ready supply of potable water to survive and maintain the quality of our lives, but also because

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

Through the years – but particularly within the past two or three – one of the comments I’ve heard with the greatest frequency is that WaterShapes is improving dramatically with respect to the content it presents.

I’m always happy to hear any kind of positive feedback, but I’m always curious to know what about our coverage seems to be improving the most and always ask those who are making these comments to be as specific as they can.  “Frankly,” I tell them, “I’m so close to what we print in the magazine that I

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

Back in September 2009, I took advantage of my annual trip to the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Expo by stretching things out with a few extra days in Chicago.  I’ve always loved the city and was particularly excited by the thought of finally getting a chance to see Millennium Park in person.

I’d heard and read a great deal about it, of course, and my interest went way beyond our coverage of

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

Although I’ve done it on a couple occasions through the past 11 years, I’ve always had trouble writing columns that welcome a New Year – even when times have been good and there have been reasons aplenty for lavish doses of optimism.  I just don’t like clichés, and they’re amazingly difficult to avoid when you look to the future with

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

Last year in our May issue, I put a deliberately upbeat spin on market conditions that had prompted us at WaterShapes to switch temporarily to a bimonthly publishing schedule.  

The tack I took did not go unnoticed.  In the aftermath of our announcement, of course, many of you let us know that you were four-square behind the magazine and offered to pitch in to do whatever you could to help – all of which was and remains most appreciated.  But there were others who, in various ways, essentially told me that

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

It’s been almost a year since we announced that WaterShapes would be moving to a bimonthly publishing schedule.  Ever since, we’ve been gratified by the number of people who have stepped up to express their appreciation for the magazine – and their hope that it would soon return to its familiar monthly appearances.

Unfortunately, the economy hasn’t improved sufficiently to make that possible.  We’re confident things will eventually turn around and that marketers will once again have the resources to lift us to a point where we can fulfill our readers’ desire for more issues, but until then, we’ll keep on publishing the industry’s favorite magazine every other month and keep upgrading

WaterShapes LogotypeBy Eric Herman

As I see it, watershaping is an activity in which multiple disciplines come together to design, engineer and construct decorative or recreational systems that contain and control water:  pools and spas, fountains, ponds, streams and waterfalls, interactive water systems – “everything from birdbaths to lakes,” as publisher Jim McCloskey is relentlessly fond of saying.  

Those multiple disciplines encompass landscape architects and designers, pool designers and builders, architects, interior designers, environmental artists and a host of subtrades as well as adherents of various movements, from historic preservationists to professionals in the green industries.

It’s a broad and exciting amalgam of interests, and my sense is that, as