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10 year logoBy David Tisherman

‘In discussing coping and decking,’ noted David Tisherman in his February 2008 Details column, ‘ I invariably combine them because, in my view, they are truly inseparable:  For a design to succeed, both must work together because they play such important roles in defining the ultimate “look” of a watershape.’  He continued:


‘[S]uccess is defined by the watershaper’s appreciation of what goes into working with both with respect to a huge variety of available options.  In simple practical terms, different approaches and treatments require very different types of engineering and construction, and the choices you make have a substantial influence not only on the expertise you’ll need to bring to bear, but also on the project budget.’


‘Finally, I combine the two because it is so often a tendency in the pool industry to separate them, with a pool builder often working up to the coping and then turning the project over to a decking contractor to take care of the rest.  This is, I think, a huge mistake when and where things are still done that way:  It almost inevitably leads us to ill-designed abominations that are still with us because they’ve become “traditional” – a word I’ve mistrusted throughout my career.’


‘From my perspective, in fact, it’s fair to say that the traditional approach is the antithesis of what should be done:  The last thing you want as a designer is call attention to the shape of the pool and create an awkward visual transition that doesn’t weave together any of the key visual elements.’  


‘[T]hese decisions about coping and decking are important, mainly because most residential pools stand relatively close to the home.  This visual proximity typically requires that there be linkages among the architecture of the home, the look of the watershape and the details of the surrounding space.  By selecting appropriately from a hefty palette of design possibilities, you can play the weaver and effectively unite all these spaces as a tapestry in which everything works together.’


'In general terms, you can break approaches to the coping/decking decision down into two distinct categories:  Either you want the watershape to blend seamlessly with its surroundings, in which case the coping and deck material should be the same; or you’re creating a watershape that is to stand out as a separate artistic statement, in which case your options explode and literally number in the hundreds.'


‘The first of the two approaches listed above is more conservative and is probably applicable in most situations – that is, when you want the pool to blend into a setting rather than stand out within it.  The second allows you to be far more creative, but the issues involved in a successful design are far more intricate, detailed and complicated.’


‘In this realm of the stand-alone statement,’ he noted, ‘one tiny change in color, texture or material can affect 20 other details (and each of those dozens more), so everything must be thought out, anticipated, interrelated and mastered to make the artistic statement work coherently.’

David frequently stressed in his columns that keeping every detail in mind from the design stage forward was crucial to any project’s visual success.  What are your thoughts in this specific matter?  Do you trust a decking contractor to execute your vision, or is this a part of the design that you take care of yourself, from start to finish?

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