Watershaper Michael Nantz has designed and installed projects across a wide range of styles, budgets and overall levels of complexity. Among the most challenging and ultimately satisfying of all those designs, he says, are those that unfold in the yards of clients who want to make significant personal statements – but in very small spaces. Here, we take a look at two such projects, both of which prompted him to summon up all of his creativity.
Typical of Scottsdale, Ariz. this project featured a stunning contemporary design in an ultra high-end neighborhood. The watershapes included an eye-popping rooftop pool/spa combination, a massive entryway-reflecting pond and a host of precise construction details. Making it all work, explains Rich Chafey, required detailed computer modeling, and multiple layers of waterproofing.
Xeriscaping is all about creating landscapes that are sustainable in dry climates, but that doesn’t mean spaces devoid of life or only populated by cacti, says Michael Logsdon. In fact, he explains, water-wise landscapes can be surprisingly vibrant and colorful, as well as low maintenance, but you have to think beyond the rocks and prickly pear.
It was a most unusual remodeling project, notes Carla Sovernigo. Partly it had to do with its scale and complexity, but mostly it was because it took three full years to finalize the design and then another whole year to align every last detail with the clients' highly refined ambitions.
Whether ponds are built for it or not, many will encourage a swim, inspire a dive or invite a cooling dip. That's why Larry Carnes guides his clients who want to get wet toward naturalistic pond designs that are also deliberately made for easy access, bather comfort and everyone's safety.
Selling dreams and making memories are at the heart of the watershaping process, says Scott Payne. Taking design from the outdoor-lifestyle perspective, he notes, is the best way to create spaces that connect with clients' lives while also generating new revenue streams.
Establishing primary and secondary sightlines within a space is one of the first design tasks on almost any project, observes Mike Farley. Doing so sets the stage for numerous decisions that follow and allows you to maximize visual impact from indoors -- and outdoors as well.
Plants and swimming pools go together beautifully, says watershaper James Robyn, particularly when a pool is flanked by a gorgeous stream and pond. And as he observes in discussing a recent project that included participation of master watergardener Anthony Archer Wills, it gets even more interesting when you set things up in such a way that the all of the systems can be combined into one fully functional ‘natural pool’ in the future.
In an effort to broaden interest in use of sensible water-management systems, Aquascape’s Ed Beaulieu set out early in 2009 to persuade his hometown to submit to a thorough ‘green makeover.’ Working with homeowners and city officials, he brought in a flock of pond/stream professionals to install – in just one day – a host of rainwater-capturing systems, ponds and streams. In the process, they created what suddenly became a more sustainable community.
When the weather's nice, Minneapolis has a lot to offer visitors. This includes a beautiful fountain in Loring Park, writes Jim McCloskey, with a backstory that features both a scary (but highly successful) movie from the 1970s and a fabulous (but portable) 1950s sports franchise.
Exploring the watershapes of Mexico's Luis Barragan. Book Notes includes reviews of a wide variety of publications hand-selected by a professional watershaper/landscape designer who sees their relevance in his life and work.
WaterShapes World (blog)
Water and plants go together like wine and cheese, says editor Eric Herman, which is why WaterShapes has always made a point of covering the use of plants in spaces that feature water. Unfortunately, despite the beauty and practicality of working with plants, many watershapers relegate softscape to an afterthought. Perhaps it’s time that should change.