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2016 Editions (January-June)

2016/6.2, June 22 — Artificial Splendor, Pond Oxygen, Grand-Scale Serenity and more

June 22, 2016

The ‘Forever’ Look

Called upon when other contractors couldn’t give the client the organic look he wanted, Matt Wilson put his skills and long experience with artificial rock to the test in creating a water- and plant-draped outcropping that appears to have been in place since time immemorial. [more]


Oxygen Rescues

In a well-balanced pond, the oxygen content of the water is seldom an issue. But if things move off course, notes Mike Gannon, it’s essential to find the cause — and then apply one of three possible remedies tailored to the urgency of the need and the extent of the budget. [more]


Urban Bliss

A recent trip to visit family in Washington state gave Jim McCloskey the unexpected pleasure of finding a huge downtown park with an ambitious set of aquatic features. It’s worth a stop — despite the fact that the composition is still partly unfinished after more than 30 years! [more]


Echoes of Grandeur

In some places, observes landscape architect Lauchlin Bethune, Mother Nature sets higher standards for naturalistic installations. Where he lives near Seattle, for example, he and his clients are surrounded by the beauty that comes with ample rain, rugged terrain and plentiful greenery — an environment that makes it tough for watershapers to balance the practicalities of construction with the passionate desire to mimic local grandeur.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in October 2002, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Keep Weep Screeds Clear

Weep screeds are occasionally blocked by deck construction and, as a result, are no longer able to keep moisture from accumulating at the base of a wall. That’s a costly mistake, writes Scott Cohen, which is why he strongly recommends a better approach. [more]


A Personal First

He’s taken his time getting here, but after 30 years of observing and reporting on them, Jim McCloskey has finally designed, engineered and built a watershape. It’s up to you to decide whether his effort passes muster or if he should find another way to pass his free time. [more]


Sound Sensations Dept.: Band performs under water with unusual instruments and eerie vocalizations. [more]

It’s not danceable, but it’s oddly moving just the same.

Crime and Silliness Dept.: UK renter ordered to remove pond as a hazard to unsuspecting burglars. [more]

Let’s hope liability is just one of many landlord concerns.


Meeting Minds
Five years back, Brian Van Bower used his Aqua Culture column to discuss a big shift he’d observed in the realm of watershaping — one he saw as being beneficial for those ready to deal with the change. [more]

RicoRock’s New Stream Sections for Pool Waterfalls

RicoRock (Orlando, FL) now manufactures a one-piece, cast concrete panel that allows water to fall at a greater distance from a swimming pool’s edge. The new four-by-seven-foot sections provide an easy way to control the water pathway off of waterfeatures, using a simple formation of smaller rocks to imitate the natural courses found in a stream. For details, click here.

Crystal Fountains Offers Fyrefly Multi-Stream Jets

Crystal Fountains (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) manufactures the Model WMT122 Fyrefly Jet to bring multiple streams of arcing water to pools, spas and other watershapes. Made of cast bronze, brass and stainless steel with optional fiberoptic lighting, the units are not water-level dependent and can be mounted at 20- or 40-degree angles on decks or walls. For details, click here.


Navigating the
For years now, conventional wisdom has told us that the decision to purchase a watershape of any kind is a process that takes several years from initial idea to actual commitment. That’s why the WaterShapes Professional Network is so important: It gives homeowners and decision-makers an easy way to begin their research and an anonymous, private means of gathering information before they reach out and make contact with professionals whose work they admire. Click here to check it out — and get ready for your future!

The Network is working just the way we’d hoped: Time to click aboard?

2016/6.1, June 8 — Moving-Water Dynamics, Pond Detour, Indoor Pool Air and more

June 8, 2016

Active Water

When agitated or flowing water moves through the air, it loses carbon dioxide. That’s particularly significant in systems with fountain jets, waterfalls or vanishing edges, observes Kim Skinner, with the loss affecting pH in ways that must be dealt with to avoid big problems. [more]


A Fresh Start

The seasonal cleaning of a pond is a big undertaking, concedes Eric Triplett. But as he discusses in wrapping up his five-part video series on the subject, it’s also a golden opportunity to size up the situation and inject new life into the ecosystem — in this case, literally. [more]


The Humidity Factor

Indoor pools are wonderful as both design challenges and family recreation centers. But as Paolo Benedetti discusses here, they’ll stand the test of time only if you take care of moving the moisture they generate away from the indoor space — no shortcuts allowed! [more]


Restoring a Classic

Two years after starting work on this historic site, Jason Fragomeni looked back with pride at what he and his staff at Fragomeni Design Group had accomplished. Along that pathway to success, however, he ran into twists and turns that often had him wondering whether the project, which originated with the supposedly straightforward restoration of a 1920s-vintage swimming pool, would ever work out the way he and the homeowners hoped it would.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in January 2008, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Sailing Grace

Challenged to develop a fountain and sculpture that would make a strong statement about a company’s technological prowess, Michael Batchelor and Andrey Bererzowsky delivered a work of rare beauty — one that’s well worth a visit to the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield, Ohio. [more]


What’s Up with the News?

Failed inspections? DNA mutations? The news about conditions at public aquatic facilities hasn’t been so good lately. But Jim McCloskey takes the long view and, as he relates here, doesn’t see anything that will interfere with his personal dedication to summer fun. [more]


Startling Illusion Dept.: French designer turns slabs of marble into a seductively swirling aquatic vision. [more]

It’s the perfect ending for the artist’s ‘Liquid Marble’ series.

Brilliant Benefits Dept.: Chicago woman with multiple sclerosis finds one place she can still dance. [more]

Her severe disability vanishes once she enters the pool.


Knowing Your Range
Back in 2006, David Tisherman tipped his cap to those who run broad-based businesses — then dug into reasons he’d found value in taking another, more focused professional path. [more]

Vertex Upgrades Solar-Powered Aeration System

Vertex Water Features (Pompano Beach, FL) has updated its BriteStar battery-free solar aerators with a new cooling system, updated electronics and a higher-output compressor that delivers 40 percent more oxygenating air to pond water. For those who already have 24-volt systems in place, the compressor and diffusers are available separately. For details, click here.

RenoSys Offers RecDeck for Safer Pool Decks

RenoSys (Indianapolis, IN) offers RecDeck PVC flooring, an encapsulating system that waterproofs any deck area and makes it slip-resistant. Consisting of a thick, reinforced-PVC membrane, the material addresses issues with surface cracking, flaking, delamination, spalling and peeling and has an anti-fungal formulation that makes it ideal for pool decks. For details,click here.


the Leads

The numbers are noteworthy: The listings of most companies participating in the WaterShapes Professional Network have been visited by consumers hundreds of times, which isn’t surprising. What really grabs the eye is that fact that those who view these listings are clicking through to the companies’ own web sites more than 25 percent of the time the listing is viewed. And in a couple of remarkable cases, more than 50 percent of those visiting a WPN listing are clicking through to web sites get more information.

The Network is working just the way we’d hoped: Time to click aboard?

2016/5.2, May 18 — Basin Reborn, Perimeter Parameters, Fountain Fireworks and more

May 18, 2016

Finding a Fix
The fountain basin was designed for children at play, but a deteriorating finish was making it much less fun than it should have been. Enter Ron Melbourne, a specialist in reviving watershapes in their time of need: He saved the day with felt, adhesive, PVC and well-applied heat. [more]


#23: Perimeter-Overflow Spa

When done well, these water-in-transit systems look like simplicity itself, observes Mike Farley. But as he discusses in introducing this video, there’s a lot of careful work involved in preparing these increasingly popular watershapes for pitch-perfect performance. [more]


Provincial Splendor

Not even the staging for Bastille Day fireworks could completely hide the fountain at the heart of this French city from Jim McCloskey‘s curious eyes. When he returned the next day, he found a magnificent watershape that spoke volumes about local history and commerce. [more]


The New American Garden

The gardens of James van Sweden have influenced an entire generation of landscape architects and designers while his firm — Oehme, van Sweden — has designed scores of renowned public and private spaces in the United States and around the world. Here, he profiles his firm’s work on the Chicago Botanic Garden and its Great Basin, describing what it’s like to approach, bid and execute design projects at the very highest level.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in March 2005, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Clients and Color Consistency

The use of decorative concrete in a rainbow of colors has opened watershape projects to an array of fantastic design possibilities. Unfortunately, notes Scott Cohen, it can also lead to problems when your clients decide the results don’t exactly align with their expectations. [more]


Generational Joys

The arrival of a new grandson on April 13 reminded Jim McCloskey of how significant a role his family’s pool and spa have played in their lives — including a few instances where there’s photographic proof of good times he’s shared with readers through the years. [more]


Nature Gone Wild Dept.: A hailstorm turns a Texas pool into a roiling, boiling sea of super-agitated water. [more]

It’s like comets hitting the ocean — and just a bit scary.

Silly Artistry Dept.: German pair treats New Yorkers to a goofy representation of ‘Van Gogh’s Ear’ [more]

Clever, but doesn’t this swimming pool deserve better?


Gardens for People
Back in 2011, Bruce Zaretsky used his column to explore the balance between two great pillars of design — and brought it all home by introducing a third key factor that should also be considered. [more]

Hayward Offers Salt Chlorinator with Extended-Life Cell

Hayward Pool Products (Elizabeth, NJ) has introduced AquaRite 900, an Expert Line salt chlorinator featuring an extended-life TurboCell that produces 25 percent more chlorine during its service life. Available in two models — one for pools holding up to 25,000 gallons, the other for pools with up to 40,000 gallons — the systems can cut chlorine costs in half. For details, click here.

PAL Lighting Launches Touch 5 Control System

PAL Lighting USA (Tucson, AZ) has introduced the Touch 5 wireless control. Designed with five separate channels operated by touch from a remote handset, smart phone or tablet, the unit has one channel dedicated to lighting control (and remembers the last color, speed and brightness settings) and four others to cover pumps, blowers, valves and more. For details, click here.


Your Business
in Context

We’ve added another key component to the WaterShapes Professional Network! Now you can easily convey information on awards you’ve received and the affiliations you’ve established within your WPN listing, kicking off the process of building credibility with prospective buyers before they even visit your own site for more information. The next time you visit your listing’s Dashboard, click the “Manage Your Awards and Affiliations” box and add this key information right away!

It’s all part of making WPN the one-stop clearinghouse for consumer-oriented information about watershapes and watershapers.

The Network is growing: Time to climb aboard?

2016/5.1, May 4 — Tile Intricacy, Pond Intervention, Community Interest and more

May 4, 2016

Double the Pleasure
As Jimmy Reed knows well, glass tile can be an unforgiving material. But with meticulous planning and surface preparation, he insists, even surfaces as complex as those he encountered in this project can be tiled efficiently — without annoying visual interruptions. [more]


All Due Respect

Giving a pond a good Spring workout can be disruptive, as Eric Triplett discusses during this video. But it also can be highly beneficial to the watershape, he says, if the intervention is thoughtful and the goal is to welcome fish and plants back to a safe, healthy environment. [more]


A Finer Purpose

Several years back, Bruce Zaretsky came to a crossroads in his career and decided it was time to be more deliberate about how he gave back to his community. Here’s a look at the result: Project Scion, which brings green spaces to rough urban neighborhoods. [more]


Custom Integrations

Sometimes, watershaping projects flow smoothly from start to finish. Other times, however, the path to integrating setting, hardscape, plants and water within bounds of the clients’ desires and budget can be quite complicated. The project seen here falls into the second category, says designer Kathy Marosz, but 18 months of communication, revision and compromise eventually resulted in a tapestry rich in color, texture, style and sound.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in February 2002, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


A Base of Comfort

To soften and humanize the austere appearance of a facility for homeless families, Mark Holden and Jim Bucklin had to create unique systems to accommodate the world’s largest ceramic amphora — something worth seeing if you have occasion to visit Tustin, Calif. [more]


Wow — Just Wow

The announced merger between the National Swimming Pool Foundation and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals took Jim McCloskey‘s breath away — but he’s already recovered enough to offer those negotiating the details a pair of important suggestions. [more]


Compulsive Living Dept.: Man builds dream house over a pond so he can fish even when the weather’s bad. [more]

A hole in the floor does the trick — but it’s not enough!

Gracious Living Dept.: Canadian gent cuts back on his swimming routine — but he has a decent excuse. [more]

Wouldn’t you slow down just a bit after turning 102?


The Educational Imperative
From the start of his working relationship with WaterShapes, David Tisherman wrote about this one topic more than any other — but as you’ll see here, rarely with the passion he displayed in May 2001. [more]

Pebble Technology Offers ‘Luminous’ Glass Beads

Pebble Technology (Scottsdale, AZ) supplies Luminous, a collection of iridescent glass beads that can be combined with the company’s PebbleTec or PebbleSheen pool finishes to create a glistening underwater effect. The colored beads are offered in three blends — blue, emerald or jade — that add new dimension to a watershape’s interior surfaces. For details, click here.

Aquascape Releases 2016 Product Catalog

Aquascape (St. Charles, IL) has published its 2016 Product Catalog. The 104-page digital booklet covers the company’s pond and pondless kits; filters, pumps and lighting; products for fish and plant care and water treatment; and a range of tools and accessories. There’s also information on decorative waterfeatures and on rainwater-harvesting systems. For details, click here.


Check Out Our

Photo Features!
Niot long ago, we put finishing touches on a new home-page feature that enables members of the
WaterShapes Professional Network to upload brief pictorials about projects they want to share with consumers who are looking for professional assistance in developing the watershapes of their dreams. This new addition to the network puts program participants front and center — the perfect way to grab attention and make contact!

Please click here to visit the WPN site, then scroll down to see the projects some of our members have already uploaded.

The Network is growing: Time to climb aboard?

2016/4.2, April 20 — Extreme Acrylic, Dreamscape (with Moat), Urban Attraction and more

April 20, 2016

Panel Discussion
When the owner of this spec house wanted something truly unique out back, the design prepared by Brian Van Bower met the mark on all levels, complementing an elongated waterfront home with a jewel of a pool that stands out from every perspective, near and far. [more]


A Watery Domain

It may have the look of a genuine French castle, writes Steve Sandalis, but the moat, pond and waterfall he installed here all belong to a California property — and to owners who wanted to be involved in every aspect of the planting, from selection to details of placement. [more]


A San Francisco Treat

San Francisco is a constantly unfolding delight for visitors, observes Jim McCloskey, so much so that it helps to narrow your exploratory focus — in his case to water. That’s how he came across this splendid MLK memorial fountain downtown, right next to Moscone Center. [more]


Forming Flows

When observed as it exists in nature, notes Sven Schunemann, water’s various forms and rhythms can be captured and reproduced by watershapers. He and other Flowforms sculptors have raised that bar, however, digging deep into water’s physical dynamics and developing precise, specialized water/sculpture systems that are visually intriguing — and also lay claim to being a form of treatment that naturally enhances water’s capacity to nourish.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in November 2009, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


The Hazards of Water Migration

Water moving from one level to another undoubtedly adds interest to waterfeatures, but it also can damage stone used in waterline applications. Here, Scott Cohen looks at the phenomenon of spillway turbulence and suggests ways to avoid the problems it can cause. [more]


Forward Progress

A procrastinator in some minor ways, Jim McCloskey has taken his time in getting around to a couple of household projects that have been on his agenda for years. He has abundant excuses for the delays, of course, but the time has finally come to get a few of them done. [more]


Backyard Classroom Dept.: Dad demonstrates basic hydrodynamics in his family’s aboveground pool. [more]

It’s an unusual lesson, but the fun just can’t be beat.

Stating the Obvious Dept.: News item highlights five reasons swimming is the all-time best exercise. [more]

And it’s not all that hard to think of at least a dozen more!


Super Vision
David Tisherman is the archetypal ‘stickler for details,’ a characteristic he demonstrated back in April 2001 while arguing in favor of what he perceives as an all-encompassing construction-site need. [more]

Updated Wireless Handheld Remote from Hayward

Hayward Pool Products (Elizabeth, NJ) has unveiled AquaPod 2.0, a wireless, handheld remote that now features a 4.3-inch touchscreen interface and an over-molded sealed design. Waterproof and rechargeable, the units offer intuitive control of pools, spas and other outdoor features from inside the home, out in the backyard or even in the water. For details, click here.

HaddonStone Manufactures Triple-Ball Fountain

HaddonStone (USA) Ltd. (Pueblo, CO) makes a triple-ball fountain for gardens and landscapes. With its contemporary styling, the cast-stone system is available five colors (Portland, Bath, terracotta, slate and coade) and comes as a kit that includes a pump, plumbing fixtures and a basin pool. (The glass beads are not supplied.) For details, click here.


Setting the
Stage for Growth

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned in the past 20-odd years, it’s that the decision to purchase a watershape of any kind is a process that takes years from initial idea to installation. That’s why a web forum like the WaterShapes Professional Network is so important: It give homeowners and decision-makers an easy, anonymous way to gather information and, eventually, reach out and make contact with professionals whose work they admire. Click here to check it out — and get ready for your future!

The Network is growing: Time to climb aboard?

2016/4.1, April 6 — Readable Water, Pond-Plant Shake-Ups, Cost-Cut Guidance and more

April 6, 2016

Painting in Water
When Stephen Pevnick flips the switch to animate one of his amazing installations, the ability of water to communicate moves from the abstract to the literal in a hurry. Here’s a look at how one of these displays helped a company set the tone for a key inspirational event. [more]


Plant Practicalities

Knowing that aquatic plants are the heart and soul of a watergarden’s visual appeal, Eric Triplett always takes the time during annual maintenance chores to size up the current look and, as he discusses in this video, do what he can to keep things familiar — but fresh as well. [more]


Keys to Cost Reduction

With any aquatic facility more than a few years old, it’s easy to assist the owners and operators in finding ways to save money. All it takes is some inside knowledge of current expense factors, writes Mike Fowler — and a laptop computer set up with some very helpful software. [more]


Making a Mountain Haven

For decades, landscape artist Martin Mosko has specialized in designing and installing highly customized watershapes and landscapes that harmonize with their environments. In this project, the client asked him to create a high-altitude paradise that would make the most of its dramatic surroundings — and Mosko responded with a pool, pond, stream and waterfall complex in which everything seems absolutely right at home.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in September 2008, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Urban Statements

Citygarden, a shimmering downtown park filled with art, dynamic spaces and an array of waterfeatures, is one of St. Louis’ crown jewels. It’s a place Kerry Friedman of Hydro Dramatics urges you to visit the next time your travels take you to the Gateway to the West. [more]



Is modern society moving forward in ways that will be favorable to the future of watershaping? That’s a question Jim McCloskey has discussed in several recent blogs — and wraps up here by balancing genuine concern with a measured dose of his persistent optimism. [more]


Perfect Child Dept.: This five-year-old came to the rescue when her mother had a seizure in their pool. [more]

Any questions about the value of early swimming skills?

Odd Fluidity Dept.:
A music event in Orlando is to feature a seven-foot fountain flowing with Velveeta. [more]

Details are lacking, but the photo alone says too much.


Powers of Observation
When she wrote her Natural Companions column in April 2006, Stephanie Rose entered the fray in a discussion deeply woven into the fabric of WaterShapes from its very first issue in 1999. [more]

Basecrete USA Offers Waterproofing Materials

Basecrete USA (Sarasota, FL) has developed an all-in-one cementitious waterproofing membrane and bondcoat. Featuring high adhesive qualities, the material is a unique blend of polymers and specialized cement that remains flexible, so it withstands movement in the underlying concrete structure, particularly in suspended or rooftop pools and spas. For details, click here.

Stone Forest Offers Large Wabi Basins

Stone Forest (Santa Fe, NM) takes natural boulders, slices them in two, carves out a basin and then polishes the top surface to create a contrast with the weathered sides of the boulder — a great companion to a bamboo water spout or, when drilled, a cool, bubbling fountain. The basins are made of green granite and have widths ranging from 24 to 34 inches. For details, click here.


Attention —
and Leads!
The senior members of the WaterShapes Professional Network have done well so far, averaging nearly 400 views and generating nearly 100 click-throughs apiece to their own web sites. Even the newest members are doing well, averaging about 130 views and more than 40 click-throughs. And this is happening before all members have set up the reciprocal links between their sites and WPN that will really make things hop.

The Network is growing: Time to climb aboard?

2016/3.2, March 16 — Three-Headed Ambition, Fountain Rehab, Pond Upgrade and more

March 16, 2016

A Different Drum
It’s an unusual arrangement, but the three partners in Tributary figured they could serve a vastly broadened geographic base by pooling their firms’ design capabilities — and by using digital technology to eliminate distance as a barrier to their innovative form of collaboration. [more]


Happy, Healthy and Safe

It would be great if Koi could be be placed in any old pond and thrive. But as this video from Mike Gannon relates, these beautiful fish have some very specific needs — needs that often require taking a fresh approach if the goal is introducing them to an existing pondscape. [more]


A Technicolor Pageant

Any watershaper’s visit to Denver should, as Jim McCloskey suggests here, involve a stop at the downtown lake where a painstakingly restored 100-year-old fountain puts on a beautifully illuminated, nimbly choreographed show that’s as awesome now as it was in 1908. [more]


Floating Fascination

Within the broader specialty of fountain design, fabrication and construction, the art of designing and installing self-contained floating fountains for ponds, rivers and lakes might best be seen as a similar but separate technical specialization — as an art within an art. Here, veteran designer Richard Van Seters explores this unique niche, using his experience and insights to pull back the veil on a type of watershaping that is unlike any other.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in July 2007, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Planning for a Rainy Day

A good cloudburst can make a real mess of things — a fact brought home to Scott Cohen when an unexpected torrent combined with some ill-advised trenching to flood a client’s living room. Here’s a look at what happened and, more important, how it might have been avoided. [more]


Time (Mostly) Well Spent

While surfing the web, Jim McCloskey usually has to steel himself when he sees one of the large-scale pool-photo compilations discussed here. But in this case, past experience was no guide: He quickly relaxed and, despite a quibble or two, truly enjoyed the scenery. [more]


Time Well Spent Dept.: Canadian frat boys soak in hot tub for 100 hours to raise money for medical research. [more]

And no, it’s not about finding the cure for pruney skin.
Biblical Effects Dept.: Man walks (or, more accurately, runs) on the water of an ordinary U.K. pool. [more]

He succeeded after a friend failed. The legend grows.


Quality Don’t Come Easy
A classic business issue was on Brian Van Bower’s mind back in 2001 when he wrote his column. Click here to see if you think it’s still a topic worthy of consideration and discussion 15 years later.

Hayward Pool Products Unveils Pressure Cleaner

Hayward Pool Products (Elizabeth, NJ) announces the new TriVac 700 pressure cleaner for swimming pools. With top-skimming and bottom/wall cleaning modes, the cleaner captures both floating and sunken debris in its large filter bag. The unit also features the company’s AquaDrive propulsion system to quickly cover pools of any size or shape. For details, click here.

EasyPro Pond Products Offers Solar-Powered Aerators

EasyPro Pond Products (Grant, MI) supplies solar-powered aeration systems for pond applications. Easy to install, quiet and dependable, the units come in models that work with ponds ranging up to three acres and come with solar panels and a mounting pole; a compressor, cooling fan and pressure gauge; weighted tubing and diffusers. For details, click here.



The rationale for banding together in an web network is simple: By creating a mass of companies, every single one of them with its own Internet presence and all of them effectively aligned to one another by virtue of reciprocal links with the hosting site, an entity such as the WaterShapes Professional Network makes every participant seem larger and inherently more interesting to search systems. This leads to more exposure, more leads, more clicks, more prospective clients.

To see what this kind of community looks like, click here.

The Network is growing: Isn’t it about time to climb aboard?

2016/3.1, March 2 — Chemical-Free Savvy, Pond Chores, Longwood Rebirth and more

March 2, 2016

Imagination Renewed
In the year to come, the renowned Main Fountain at Longwood Gardens will be undergoing a mass-scale renovation. Robert Nonemaker is tracking the process for us, beginning here with an insider’s report on the grand display’s gradual decline — and imminent rebirth. [more]


Precious Cargo

Cleaning a pond of any size can be a messy job, says Eric Triplett, especially if the fish and plants are all thriving. As he points out in this video, this tedious chore can also be a risky one if you don’t approach the process (and the fish) with plenty of care and consideration. [more]


Chlorine Conversations

For many years, Paolo Benedetti has been listening carefully to all sides in the chlorine vs. chemical-free water-treatment debate. He’s heard enough now — so much so that he’s ready to weigh in here with what he hopes is some helpful truth-telling on the subject. [more]



The water has to come from somewhere in pond/stream systems — and that, according to master watershaper Anthony Archer Wills, is precisely where many projects run off course, basically because their injection points are too obviously contrived. Here, he argues instead for taking great care in devising (and hiding) water sources to make them seem as though they’ve been shaped from time immemorial by nature’s own subtle hydrology.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in June 2009, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Public Interests

In creating his sculptures and watershapes, Ross Miller aims to delight and soothe passersby while rewarding those who seek deeper meanings. As you can see while visiting his projects on a Northeastern tour, his focus is on celebrating local history, culture and heritage. [more]


Simpler Solutions

When Jim McCloskey read a story about a legal dispute over a noisy waterfeature, it occurred to him that if anyone in the courtroom had thought of just one word — a single clarifying term — then all of the bother and much of the expense of the trial might well have been avoided. [more]


That’s Cool Dept.: A Koi enthusiast invents a new way to keep his prized fish safe — and in plain view. [more]

Can the swimming pool version of this be far behind?

That’s Almost as Cool Dept.: MIT team turns a faucet into the source of an unusual choreographed display. [more]

The idea may seem limited — but there’s great potential!


Standard Bearers
Back in 2006, David Tisherman wrote about a subject that bugged him more than most — one that led him to make a plea for professionalism and high standards on every project, no matter how modest. [more]

Color Light Streams from S.R. Smith

S.R. Smith (Canby, OR) manufactures Color Light Streams, a line including laminar jets, star-floor systems and lighted bubblers. The low-voltage, five-watt LED lights are available in six colors: white, blue, green, red, amber and purple. Each system comes with 100 feet of cable and a controller that creates color-changing and disco-style displays. For details, click here.

ClearWater Tech Publishes 30th Anniversary Catalog

ClearWater Tech (San Luis Obispo, CA) offers a digital product catalog covering its full line of cabinet and wall- or skid-mounted ozone-generating systems — including systems for swimming pools, spas and waterfeatures as well as aquariums, zoos and aquaculture applications. The 20-page, full-color booklet also covers peripheral equipment. For details, click here.



One of the newest features on the home page of the WaterShapes Professional Network site is a gallery of projects that’s open to use by all WPN members. Along with a brief headline and the watershaper’s name, there’s an image of the project — all linking directly to a page with more images and information. It’s quick, valuable exposure, and that’s what WPN is all about. To see the Project Gallery for yourself, click here and scroll down just a bit.

The Network is growing: Time to climb aboard?

2016/2.2, February 17 — Beach Entries, Fountain Fun, Shotcrete’s Path and more

February 17, 2016

Shotcrete Reborn
When its originators surrendered control of the shotcrete process in the 1950s, the approach fell on hard times. As Lily Samuels and Bill Drakeley discuss here, however, it has since recovered and has resumed its rightful place among the world’s key construction technologies. [more]


#22: Flagstone Beach Entry

As Mike Farley discusses in his video, this is a sleek, modern, beautiful look that works especially well when a pool is surrounded by stone decking. And beach entries can be trouble-free, too — so long as you consider a key point before adding one to a client’s dreamscape. [more]


Water with a Side of Satire

Even a modest watershape grows in stature when it has a great story — a lesson Jim McCloskey learned in researching a small fountain he’d seen in Rome many years ago. In this case, it seems, the font was an outlet for more than fresh, cool water in days long past. [more]


Beyond Vision

Creating a garden space for the sight-impaired and physically handicapped presented landscape designer Bruce Zaretsky with a meaningful challenge — one that, he says, prompted him to rethink some of the fundamentals of garden layout and aesthetics. The first fruit of his new thinking is this space, in which the serenity and delight of relaxing in a garden space is opened to a wider range of visitors than most designers ever have cause to consider.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in May 2003, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Cold Joints, Costly Repairs

In pool-remodeling work, observes Scott Cohen, it’s very common to raise a bond beam to meet the needs of a new deck or edge detail — or simply to make the pool ‘level’ again. As ordinary a step as this may seem, however, it can be trickier than you might think.. [more]


Swimming Past Barriers

Swimming is a valuable skill, but there seem to be substantial barriers to gaining it these days. This leads Jim McCloskey to ask: Taken together, are these hurdles high enough that they are defining the future of watershaping in a less-than-favorable way? [more]


It Takes a Blizzard Dept.: Heavy snow leads to an upswing in participation in an odd winter sport. [more]

These kids have the finesse, but where’s the technique?

No, Really Dept.: In this surging snowbound event, it’s clear that the frosty Finns have the advantage. [more]

Scroll down to see real ‘professionals’ ply their craft.


Drains with a Difference
As he discussed in this Details column from early 2001, David Tisherman isn’t about compromise when it comes to making this key part of his projects visually seamless. Check it out by clicking here.

Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems Releases 2016 Catalog

Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems (Apopka, FL) has published its 2016 Master Catalog. With more than 300 new items, the 516-page, full-color document is available in both printed and digital formats and covers the divison’s full line of products for ponds, aquaponics and all aquatic systems designed to keep fish and other wildlife safe and healthy. For details, click here.

Diamond Spas Manufactures Glass Walls for Pools, Spas

Diamond Spas (Frederick, CO) makes glass-wall systems for use with swimming pools and spas. Featuring superior-clarity glass that allows for easy two-way viewing, the panels are available in a range of sizes — from small spa dams and underwater windows to large room-dividing units — all compatible with the company’s line of stainless steel watershapes. For details, click here.


Report 2015

The turn of the year marked the first six months of existence for the WaterShapes Professional Network, which launched and grew steadily to a point where the member count reached 50 by the end of December. It’s a diverse group, with 36 involved with pools and spas, 33 with fountains, 30 with ponds, streams and waterfalls, 26 with landscape, plants and hardscape and 19 working with fire, fog and lighting.

That’s a wide-ranging group of businesses with a full spectrum of skills, as you can see by clicking here. It’s just the sort of founding membership WPN needs to make consumers happy with what they find when their searches lead them to our site.

The Network is growing: Time to climb aboard?

2016/2.1, February 3 — Acrylic-Panel Spa, Elegant Staging, Pond Duties and more

February 3, 2016

Elegance Squared
Designing a watershape to complement a dynamic fountain sculpture is mostly about viewpoints, writes Brian Van Bower. But fitting it into the context of a larger and equally vibrant entertainment space? As he discusses here, that calls for thinking theatrically as well. [more]


Aquatic Chores

Once each year, notes Eric Triplett, it’s a good idea to dig in and clean up an ecosystem pond. That means lowering the water level, removing and storing the fish — and, as this first video in a five-part series demonstrates, tackling a bit of routine equipment maintenance as well. [more]


Transparent Advantages

Finding himself in a new city in the midst of the Great Recession, Tanr Ross was willing to guide these clients through seven distinct designs on his way to an innovative (and successful) eighth approach — a situation made both workable and tolerable by a key design tool. [more]


Graphic Appeal

For more than three decades, industrial designer, educator and inventor Stephen Pevnick has quietly been producing the mind-bending systems he calls ‘Graphical Waterfalls’ — highly specialized watershapes in which letters, words and images are formed with remarkable clarity within fine sheets of falling water. He discusses this mesmerizing effect here and its role in capturing attention and conveying messages in unique and surprising ways.

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in August 2007, has been digitized for all readers. Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study the craftsmanship in detail.


Pride of the Yavapai

In a project that brought technology together with a design gleaned from the Sonoran Desert and the cultural heritage of the Yavapai Nation, Bill Gullekson and Chris Doyle were driven to pinnacles of aquatic creativity and design intricacy — all on display for you to see near Phoenix. [more]


Simply Stunning

When Jim McCloskey sees something truly new in the watersahaping realm, he reacts like a kid in a candy store. He definitely has had his sweet tooth tantalized recently by information about two epic watershaping feats — one hidden in California, the other on display in China. [more]


Monkey Business Dept.: These primates certainly know a thing or two about the joys of hot-water living. [more]

They take the concept of ‘relaxation’ up a notch or two.

Symphonic Ambitions Dept.: Composer reroutes a river through a house and uses water as instruments. [more]

The music is great, but the staging? A masterpiece!


Seeking Perfection
When Mark Holden addressed this subject in his January/February 2011 Currents column, it was one of the day’s hottest topics — and as you’ll see by clicking here, it’s still taking its own sweet time to cool.

Bobé Water & Fire Introduces Tiki Torches

Bobé Water & Fire Features (Phoenix, AZ) had added hand-formed copper tiki torches to its line of products. Measuring 80 inches tall, the posts are available with either a smooth or a bamboo appearance and come with torch heads in two styles: one in which flames emit from the top of the torch, the other with an open structure for a livelier flame. For details, click here.

Laticrete Offers SpectraLock ‘Dazzle’ Grout Additives

Laticrete (Bethany, CT) makes SpectraLock Dazzle to bring metallic and glow-in-the-dark enhancements to its SpectraLock line of grouts for pools, spas and other applications. The material, which accentuates the look of metallic tiles, glass tiles, mosaics, stone and listellos with unique visual textures, is available in 13 colors and will not fade or deteriorate. For details, click here.


The Value
of a Network

Through the years, lots of watershapers have invested generously in building beautiful web sites, then wondered why they weren’t translating more directly into contacts and leads. The answer? Building a strong web presence as a stand-alone site is a tough way to go — and that’s precisely why we started the WaterShapes Professional Network.

By building a collective presence in which dozens and, eventually, hundreds of sites participate as an interlinked colossus, we become a group entity the search engines can’t overlook. So if it’s a strong (or stronger) web presence you’re after, click here and have a look.

The Network is growing: Time to climb aboard?

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