Wilma’s Baubles
Pond installation offers lots of opportunities for straying off the naturalistic path, but to me, there's no more problematic detour than the unfortunate "string-of-pearls" effect. When this happens, the edge of a pond looks more like Wilma Flintstone's rocky necklace than it does like the banks of a natural body of water. And it's a double shame, because the installer went to all the trouble of sourcing and placing natural material - but ended up with completely unnatural results. I've seen too many of these nightmare ponds through the years. Some are the result of a do-it-yourselfer's lack of awareness. It also happens with
The Floating Stones
This story starts with a tree falling in the forest. It wasn't just any tree: It was a huge locust that had stood next to what is now my driveway for years beyond reckoning, and when it came down it did its best to take a tangle of utility lines with it. I wasn't there when all of this happened, but I returned soon thereafter and saw the lingering effects: The utility companies had done a wonderful job of cutting away portions of the tree that had fallen onto the wires and had effectively cleared the road, but
Creative Spirits
This project came my way as a lot of them have through the years: A landscape contractor had been tasked with organizing things on a large estate property and called me in to work with the homeowners on the pond they wanted. During our first meeting on site, I took an immediate liking to the couple, and she in particular had bountiful ideas about what she wanted. As we walked the estate together that day, she pointed toward the boggy depression at the edge of the property where we'd be placing the pond - quite close to a community bridle path - and said she wanted
Hard Choices
'If I were to ask the average watershaper to name the most versatile element in any landscape,' began Stephanie Rose in her January 2004 "Natural Companions" column, 'he or she would probably reply by talking about water or plants or some other equally prominent component.  If you asked me the same question, however, I'd almost always say
2019/1.1, January 9 — Evolving Vision, Simple Shade, Fit for a Queen and more
2018/9.1, September 5 — Additive Exercise, Shaping Nature, Relining the Neptune Pool and more
Foreign Correspondence
In any large-scale watershaping project, managing the logistics has a way of becoming the most important task of all.  In the case under discussion here, that might even be an understatement when you weigh all of the complicating factors. First, the job site was located in central Colombia, in the foothills of South America's Andes mountain range.  Second, that locale is essentially a tropical rainforest, and when it wasn't pouring by the bucketful, it was crushingly hot and humid.  Third, ours is a North American company that works with its own products and has no distribution in Colombia. And there's more:  To get the job done, we knew we
Blue Thumb Publishes 2017 Master Catalog
Blue Thumb Distributing (Saginaw, MI) has released its 2017 wholesale catalog. The 132-page document includes…
Broader Horizons
When I started my pond company as a teenager in 2002, I had no clear idea how Laughing Waters (Palos Heights, Ill.) would evolve in subsequent years.  At the time my first article appeared in WaterShapes in 2007, I was basically a 22-year-old bundle of energy with more ambition than experience. In the decade since then, our energy has become more focused, the company has grown to take on a full range of major residential and commercial projects and, with experience, our ambition has
A Watery Domain
With the huge pond and a moat that wraps itself around the house, it's a variety of watershaping you'd ordinarily associate with a medieval French castle.  But actually, it's part of a contemporary estate in Brentwood, Calif., in the backyard of a couple with an amazing desire for an aquatic kingdom they could call their own. The couple had recently moved from the eastern United States and decided to take the fullest possible advantage of