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4-22 farley artBy Mike Farley

These days, I run into lots of clients who want clean, crisp detailing when it comes to everything associated with their backyard spaces – pool, spa, patio, decks and outdoor kitchens included.  They’re after works of visual art that, when not in active use, can be seen from inside the house as a continuation of the elegant, well-appointed interior spaces they’ve set up so thoughtfully.  

Sometimes, this means that we have to come up with custom solutions to align with our clients’ desires.  Take the project covered in the video linked below as an example:  The angular pool’s tile had been chosen to match the coloring of the pale surrounding decks and the Lueders limestone coping; the clients then insisted on achieving the highest possible degree of formality and wanted to avoid the softer, chipped-edge appearance very often seen with these coping stones.

In this case, it meant saw-cutting and then (barely) easing over the edges of the coping to avoid unpleasantly sharp corners.  As installed, the material delivers beautifully on the client’s quest for a sleek, formal appearance.

The best thing about this is that, while the tile, coping and decking share a common color palette and a decidedly formal look, they define what is actually an adaptable, multi-purpose space also dedicated to fun, recreation and entertainment:  We worked with those crisp edges in layers to keep them visually interesting and even fun by, for example, complementing their linearity with raised wall sections, fire bowls, spillways and a full outdoor kitchen and dining area.  There’s also a sports-pool setup with stanchions for a volleyball net.

It’s watershaping as an expression of sculptural art, but there’s also an alter ego that emerges when it’s time for fun – the perfect solution for this family and their backyard.

To look at a video on the many details of this project, click here.


Mike Farley is a landscape designer with more than 20 years of experience and is currently a designer/project manager for Claffey Pools in Southlake, Texas. A member of Genesis 3's Society of Watershape Designers since 2012, he holds a degree in landscape architecture from Texas Tech University and has worked as a watershaper in both California and Texas.

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