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



        September 20, 2017                                                                                                       

Artful Additions 
Renovating a pool for a client who is keenly engaged in the process can be a challenge, writes Andrew Kaner.  But with a home and setting like this, the desire to get past it and deliver an amazing transformation lightened the load -- and, in this case, led to spectacular results.    [more]
Rock-Bottom Value
There was a time when lots of ponds were set up without gravel, notes Ed Beaulieu.  But as he discusses here, there are so many advantages to lining their interiors with rocks of various sizes that it's time to push that old practice out of the pond-making picture, once and for all.    [more] 
My Icelandic Saga  
He figured that Iceland would be a place with lots of water on display, so Jim McCloskey was somewhat disappointed by how little of it he found.  But those few examples were pretty special, and one of them -- the famous Blue Lagoon -- was uniquely odd.    [more]
Core Value        
Most watershapers would agree that it's relatively easy to build excellence into projects that come with large budgets -- and that it's much harder to stay on the path to quality when working in the mid-range market.  Rather than compromise and degrade the product (which happens far too frequently, says G. Bruce Dunn of Mission Pools), the savvy contractor should focus on finding ways to deliver at the highest level, even for clients of modest means. 
This article, originally published in WaterShapes in July/August 2002, has been digitized for all readers.  Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study them in detail.

High Waterlines, Bad Leaks
For the most part, writes Scott Cohen, builders have little trouble with water levels in pools, where they generally set the mark at about the midpoint of the tile line.  But with raised, attached spas, things can get trickier -- an issue he seeks to remedy here with some timely advice.   [more]

The New!
The release of today's WaterShapes newsletter corresponds with the debut of our new, upgraded, mobile-friendly web site.  It's a big step forward, says Jim McCloskey -- and a giant leap toward meeting the changing needs of watershapers worldwide.    [more]
Watch Your Step Dept.:  A woman mugging for a photo-drone discovers that water is really, really wet.    [more]   Seems the drone operator knew what would happen . . .

Avian Upkeep Dept.:  Workers who maintain Chicago's Buckingham Fountain find unusual leftovers.   [more]    Gulls aren't picky eaters, but they draw the line at bones. 

Chromatic Virtues      
Color is fantastic, wrote David Tisherman back in September 2002, but it's a tough nut for any designer to crack.  That's why he suggests a diet of hard work -- and use of a few helpful tools along the way.     [more]
CMP Publishes LED Conversion Guide
CMP (Newnan, GA) has released its "Guide for Switching to Brilliant Wonders Premier LED Lighting" as a digital introduction to what's involved in changing over from existing lighting systems to the use of LEDs.  The page includes details on switching from large, niche-style lights; from other nicheless lighting systems; and from all other formats.  For details, click here.
Concrete-Countertop Forms from Stegmeier
Stegmeier (Arlington, TX) manufactures forms for poured-in-place concrete countertops.  Designed to simplify the installation process, the units are available with a number of profiles; are the ideal height for most applications; and can be shaped or mitered to create any angle.  They also have smooth, even textures for easier, earlier stripping.  For details, click here.


Step by Step
The WaterShapes Professional Network is all about building a credible, unified web presence where numerous watershapers can convey uniformly formatted, readily compared information in an easily navigated consumer resource.  By doing so, WPN gives consumers initial access to the marketplace in an environment that guides them comfortably and confidently through the earliest stages of a significant purchasing decision.
True, some homeowners and facility managers are lucky enough when they start looking for watershapers to have friends or colleagues who can refer them to suitable firms.  But more often these consumers are on their own -- and most start their hunt by searching on the Internet, where finding individual watershapers is a hit-and-miss process.   WPN takes frustration out of the quest by offering a common, neutral web resource filled with possibilities. 
The Network is working just the way we'd hoped:  Time to click aboard? 


        September 6, 2017                                                                                                    
Every Piece in Place 

Seven watershapes on three levels, each one as dramatic as the next?  The concept alone is breathtaking, report Claude Kershner IV and Jeremy Guillen, who say a great design and a superb project team gave them exactly the support they needed to deliver perfection.   [more]
Koi Selection ABCs

With many of his clients, Eric Triplett has observed that picking Koi for a new pond is an oddly overwhelming task.  That's why he recommends keeping it simple, using a systematic approach that he and a favorite supplier demonstrate here in a trio of brief videos.    [more] 


Avoiding Trouble 
After years of serving as an expert witness in construction-defect cases, Paolo Benedetti knows what can happen when contractors fail to deliver the expected results.  Here, he covers a set of practices aimed at keeping builders on the right path -- and out of the courtroom.   [more]

Powers of Imagination       

Faux-rock specialist John Carlson has spent his career creating artificial structures that deftly fool the eye.  Along the way, he's applied his skills in a various settings, always pushing toward greater levels of complexity no matter whether he's working with swimming pools, aquariums, decorative features or home interiors.  As he demonstrates here, what gets and keeps him going is the flexibility of a material that seems so rigid. 

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in March/April 2011, has been digitized for all readers.  Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study them in detail.

Gallery Views

The Wood Street Gallery includes both watershapes and sculptures in its garden.  As designed by Rosalind Reed, the balance here is such that each component looks as though it truly belongs in the setting -- something you can see for yourself the next time you visit Chicago.   [more]

Another Look

The first generations of residential pools aren't getting any younger, notes Jim McCloskey, with all of them at a stage where renovation is more often a necessity than an option.  This leaves watershapers with a couple million reasons to get involved in a wondrous opportunity.   [more]
Right Neighborly Dept.:  A 94-year-old man installs a backyard pool for use by kids who live nearby.    [more]
Things got too quiet for his liking after his wife's passing.

Traveling Inspiration Dept.:  These are the kinds of places that help to shape consumers' backyard dreams.   [more] 

A spectacular view is a help, of course, but not a must.   

Witnessing Transitions      

There are no shortcuts, wrote Brian Van Bower in September 2007: Watershapers who profess their dedication to quality must back up those declarations with top-notch performance in all of their projects.   [more]
Crystal Fountains Announces Linear LEDs
Crystal Fountains (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) has introduced the Spectra Series LED Linear Light for wet or dry applications.  The four-inch-wide, low-profile, easy-to-maintain units feature RGBACL lighting technology, which produces light from the purest white to infinite color shades and tones with great precision - and simplified programming.  For details, click here.
DEL Ozone Introduces the Eclipse UV

DEL Ozone (San Luis Obispo, CA) offers Eclipse UV, a disinfecting system that keeps pool and spa water clean, clear and safe.  Made with a clear glow ring for easy visual confirmation of operation, the units have cooling vents coupled with a heat shield to protect the system from heat and a built-in ball valve for convenient draining and winterization.  For details, click here.


Your Profile

If you design and/or build pools, spas, fountains, ponds, streams, waterfalls or any other form of contained, controlled water, you have a demonstrated ability to create projects of great visual beauty.  But how do you spread the word about your skills and talents to those who might want you to help them turn water into a major part of their daily lives?
The  WaterShapes Professional Network is here to help.  We've built a web site where dozens of designers and builders of watershapes of all types participate as an Internet collective -- a grouped entity large enough and interrelated in ways that make search engines treat all participants with respect.  So if it's a strong (or even just a stronger) web presence you're after, please do take a look and get involved. 
The Network is working just the way we'd hoped:  Time to click aboard? 
        August 9, 2017                                                                                                               

Split-Level Pond 

Setting up a vanishing-edge Koi pond offers unusual challenges to the watershaper.  First, notes Scott Cohen, you need to accommodate the fish and keep them safe. Then there are the aesthetic issues -- plus a few details of installation that require extra-special attention.   [more]
A Full Day's Delight

A crucial part of the backyard design process these days, writes Glen MacGillivray, is motivating homeowners to venture outside after dark.  Here's a look at how he approaches this day-to-night transition, from keeping the water moving to making it glow.    [more] 


Pond-Algae Strategies

Although a little algae in a pond is generally a good and inevitable thing, observes Mike Gannon, a bloom of any noticeable extent is never truly welcome.  That's why he has sized up and is ready  to recommend a number of ways to help keep the intrusive greenery at bay.     [more]

Coordinated Perspective     

Working together for the first time, designer Stephanie Rose and builder Randy Beard became quickly and closely allied in their effort to complete a challenging project for extremely particular clients -- a couple who, from concept to construction, also became key collaborators in the project.  The result is a contemporary composition that blends an understated watershape and tasteful plantings with an outstanding collection of modern art.    

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

An Edge of Honor

The Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Worcester's Green Hill Park was a labor of love when it was completed and dedicated in 2002:  It unfolds as a serene, symbolic tribute to self-sacrifice and the anguish of war -- and it's well worth a visit to this day.    [more]
Sad Partings

Herman Silverman and John Kelley, Jr., both passed away recently, a fact that has prompted Jim McCloskey to share some thoughts on their roles in shaping the industry as we know it -- and in helping a young editor find his way into its deeper history, meaning and culture.    [more]
Inspiration Dept.:  Check out this photographic survey of the most amazing hotel pools in the USA.    [more]
It all goes to show how much the setting really matters!

Odd Response Dept.:  The citizens of Belgrade don't seem to be taking a shine to their new musical fountain.   [more] 

It may be excessive, but it'll be treasured before too long.  

Straight Talk    

In working on projects across a range of sizes, styles and price tags as his career developed, wrote Bruce Zaretsky back in 2007, he came to recognize key truths about the nature of the business.    [more] 
Roman Fountains Offers Nozzle with LED Lights
Roman Fountains (North Venice, FL) manufactures the RRDJ2-XX-DH-LED, a flush-mounted nozzle/LED light assembly for fountain applications.  The units consist of high-strength, roto-molded, polypropylene niche bodies with stainless steel grates and nozzle inserts.  There are three available spray patterns and a choice of white or RGB lights.  For details, click here.
Artistic Paver Introduces PlankLock Pavers

Artistic Paver Mfg. (North Miami Beach, FL) has unveiled PlankLock, a paver system designed to have the look of long, narrow planks that can be arranged in either linear or herringbone patterns.  The decorative units are salt-resistant, are available in light colors for cooler surfaces, and have beveled edges to reduce trip hazards and chip-outs.  For details, click here.


Another Face
in a Crowd?

Watershapers have a distinct ability to produce spectacular work -- and, to be honest, frequent difficulty when it comes to calling their skills and talents to the attention of homeowners and others who are interested in making water part of their daily lives.
That's where the  WaterShapes Professional Network comes in:  By building a collective web presence in which dozens and, eventually,  hundreds of sites participate as an interlinked colossus, it involves watershapers in a group entity large enough that the search engines can't overlook it.  So if it's a strong (or stronger) web presence you're after, check it out.  
The Network is working just the way we'd hoped:  Time to click aboard? 
        August 23, 2017                                                                                                            
Critical Distance 

Presented with a smallish space that opened out onto a great big one, Jeromey Naugle found himself playing with views near and far in all sorts of complex ways.  The result is a composition that met his clients' desires -- and offered him an interesting insight into his design process.  [more]
Illuminating Challenges

The lighting of pools is much more challenging than it once was, notes Graham Orme, mostly because their contours are so much more intricate than they were even 20 years ago.  Here, he starts a new series that will guide all of us toward more 'enlightened' results.   [more] 


Sweet Hospitality

Any visit to Charleston, S.C., can be fun -- even when you're there on business, writes Jim McCloskey -- if you find time in your schedule to stroll through its Waterfront Park and make your way into its heart to find the utterly charming and most welcoming Pineapple Fountain.   [more]

Persuaded by the Past      

Some watershapers see their work in primarily technical terms -- as complex tasks to be completed efficiently and well.  Others, notes watershaper and landscape artist Christopher Lines, see technical mastery as a starting point beyond which they pursue purely artistic impulses.   He's firmly in the latter camp, he adds, with a penchant for creating classically-inspired gardens that tantalize the senses and fire the imagination with echoes of eras long past.  

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in May/June 2011, has been digitized for all readers.  Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study them in detail.

Waterproofing Raised Spas

For generations, the pool industry has operated under the assumption that plaster is an effective waterproofing membrane. That's not the case, notes Scott Cohen, which leads him to discuss the importance of waterproofing raised spas -- and how to fix a troubled one.     [more]

Generational Shifts

Sorting through his understanding of the dynamics of water-related businesses, Jim McCloskey  recalls the industry's last big generational transition -- and holds out some hope that the one we're experiencing now will take a somewhat easier path than the previous one.    [more]
Humor in Uniformity Dept.:  Cops in pool caps make a strong case for male synchronized swimming.    [more]
It would be merely silly if they weren't so good at it . . .

Creatures Great and Small Dept.:  Nevada woman saves a waterlogged lizard with a wee bit of CPR.      [more] 

Happily, there was no need for a mouth-to-mouth session. 

Life's Absurdities     

Back in 2007, Brian Van Bower wrote with edgy wit about the vagaries of trying to work with any sort of real creativity on commercial design projects.  Has the passage of time improved the situation?     [more] 
FAFCO Offers Solar Power/Pool Heating System
FAFCO (Chico, CA) has developed CoolPV, a combined solar-power-generating/water-heating system -- a hybrid that powers a home with photovoltaic modules while heating its pool with water tubes placed beneath the solar cells.  As combined, the water system cools the photovoltaic modules, enhancing performance and increasing their output.  For details, click here.
Bobé Releases Line of CorTen Planters 

Bobé Water & Fire Features (Phoenix, AZ) has introduced a line of planters made from CorTen, a weathering form of steel that develops a unique patina as it ages.  The units are available in three different models -- square, rectangular and tall -- and come untreated (to produce a rusted color) or with an ocean patina or clear-coated for a steel look.  For details, click here.

Making Your
Presence Known 

Through the years, watershapers have invested extensively in building beautiful web sites but for the most part have been unable to figure out how to help prospective clients find them amid the chaos of the Internet.  Why so?  It's because 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, check it out.
The Network is working just the way we'd hoped:  Time to click aboard? 
        July 26, 2017                                                                                                                 

Steely Resolution 

This downtown Indianapolis apartment complex wanted a rooftop pool to help build a sense of community.  Stainless steel was the answer here, writes Gary Novitski -- a shell that allowed for a stylish, vanishing-edge look up top while keeping everything watertight and safely dry below.  [more]
From Tank to Pond

Pitching in to move four large turtles out of a plain concrete tank and into a beautiful pond was soul satisfying, notes Ed Beaulieu.  But making the project a gift to a pioneering turtle researcher?  That was even more rewarding for the 50 skilled volunteers who helped make it happen.  [more] 



He was perfectly happy with the impression the fountain had made the first time he saw it, says Jim McCloskey.  That's why he's so dismayed by the 'updated' version, which takes a powerful, kinetic sculpture and hobbles it in what he labels a sad, unfortunate renovation.    [more]

Flames On    

Pyrotechnic-effects expert Karl Nettmann has been involved with creating dramatic flame effects for more than a dozen years, first for television and film productions and now in landscapes and other 'real world' spaces.  Here, he discusses the range of effects that can be achieved using fire, the technology behind common systems and basic safety considerations that must be accommodated no matter the simplicity or complexity of an effect.      

This article, originally published in WaterShapes in March 2006, has been digitized for all readers.  Click here to see the full text and enlarge the images to study them in detail.
Vanishing-Edge Solutions

Both structurally and hydraulically, vanishing-edge pools are more complex than the average backyard swimming hole.  Here, Scott Cohen delves into a few of the details that most often lead to problems, offering valuable advice on forming, water leveling and catch basins.    [more]
A Sinking Feeling

He generally sees travel as an exciting experience, writes Jim McCloskey.  But in this case, it was also a sobering reminder of the extent to which our beloved coastlines are at risk -- a reality easily seen in moving through the challenged waterways of one great European city.   [more]
Pages of History Dept.:  Would you believe San Francisco once boasted the world's largest outdoor pool?   [more]
Or that the big ocean-fed brute was open until the 1970s?

It's About Time Dept.:  Olympics to include mixed-gender squads in several sports, including a swim relay.   [more] 

4 x 100 mixed medley is on the agenda for Tokyo 2020.  

Free Your Mind   

Back in 2007, Brian Van Bower offered his observations on overcoming his own budget-related preconceptions about clients. Some points he made still ring true, but has today's economy changed things?    [more] 
Natural Wonders Waterfall Systems from CMP 
CMP (Newnan, GA) offers Natural Wonders Waterfalls for adding sheer veils of water to pools, spas and other waterfeatures.  Available in lengths up to eight feet, the units feature rear or bottom ports, require flows of only one gallon per minute per inch, can be made to fit any convex or concave contour and come in clear, white, grey and tan.  For details, click here.
Atlantic Water Gardens Upgrades Pond-Free Kits

Atlantic Water Gardens (Mantua, OH) has updated its pond-free kits by including higher performance pumps and warm-white LED lights.  The pre-matched packages come complete -- including glue, cleaner, sealant, fittings and auto-fill devices -- and pair vaults and spillways with energy-efficient pumps selected for specific stream dimensions.  For details, click here.



Those of you who design and build pools, spas, fountains, ponds, streams, waterfalls and other forms of contained, controlled water have perfected your capacity to create works of great beauty.  But you face real challenges when it comes to conveying messages about your skills and talents to consumers and prospective clients who might be interested in having you help them make water part of their daily lives -- if only they could find you!
That's where the WaterShapes Professional Network can help:  We've built a web presence in which scores of designers and builders of watershapes of all types participate as an Internet colossus -- an entity large and interconnected enough that search engines have to treat it with respect.  So if it's a strong (or even just a stronger) web presence you're after, please do take a look and get involved.
The Network is working just the way we'd hoped:  Time to click aboard?  
        July 12, 2017                                                                                                   

Mountain Majesty 

The property may be in Missouri, but the clients wanted a 'mountain lake' to go along with their big, Rockies-style lodge.  Kurt Kraisinger was happy to oblige -- both for the change of pace and for the scope and scale of what proved to be a vast, detailed and lengthy endeavor.  [more]
#27:  Fire Bowls

With so many projects featuring fire bowls these days, says Mike Farley, it's getting all too easy to take them for granted.  But as he discusses in introducing his video on the subject, it's important to use them well -- and to make certain they're ready for year-round enjoyment.   [more] 


Edge-Wall Essentials

Vanishing-edge pools have been around for a long time now, but Paolo Benedetti is aware that good numbers of watershapers are still making fundamental errors in their design and construction -- including some problems he seeks to address with a few helpful tips.    [more]

A True Cliffhanger   

Swimming pool designs have come a long way in recent years, says design and project manager Ron Yavis of Sunshine Pools & Spas -- particularly when it comes to the high-end, custom-designed, vinyl-liner pools the company specializes in designing and building for some of the continent's most spectacular settings.  To make his case for 'custom vinyl,' he profiles a recent project perched high above the bright waters of Canada's Lake Okanagan.     

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

Images in Time

From early urban settlements to modern architectural settings, says Mark Holden, watershapes have played key roles in expressing the values of their societies.  Here's a tour of visitable places that will give you a sense of the cultural significance of what you all do.    [more]
Design or Art?

A wide-ranging (and sometimes strange) Internet debate about the differences between design and art caught Jim McCloskey's eye and started him thinking about what the discussion might mean for watershapers, watershaping and other practical forms of expression.    [more]
You Are What Your Eat Dept.:  Podcast discusses the potential of pond scum in nutrient-rich 'cuisine.'   [more]
A healthy source of color -- and a nutritional bonanza.

Gold Is Where You Find It Dept.:  London group organizing hot tub boat rides on historic Regent's Canal.    [more] 

Wood-fired heat and electric engines offer quiet comfort. 

Controlling Elements  

In July 2002, David Tisherman wrote energetically about the need for designers and builders to pay scrupulous attention to an oft-overlooked issue.   Do you think he was close to hitting the mark?      [more] 
Zodiac Upgrades the Polaris Booster Pump
Zodiac Pool Systems (Vista, CA) has introduced the Polaris PB4SQ booster pump.  Designed for energy efficiency, quieter operation and ease of installation and service, the high-performance, fan-cooled unit is made to power the company's line of pressure-side cleaners and reduces energy consumption by 30 percent compared to older models.  For details, click here.
Couture Outdoor Offers Double Daybed

Couture Outdoor (Southampton, NY) imports the Chill Daybed, a double-size unit with a retractable canopy and privacy curtains.  Designed for a contemporary look in either residential or commercial settings, the systems feature durable powder-coated aluminum frames with inset wicker details and are available in 28 distinctive fabric colors.  For details, click here.



The rationale for banding together in an web network is simple:  By creating a mass of companies -- each 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 engines.  This leads to more exposure, more leads, more clicks, more prospective clients.
The Network is working just the way we'd hoped:  Time to click aboard?  


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