Inquiring Minds
'Watershaping carries us onto the properties and into the private lives of our clients, and it does so to such a personal, even intimate level,' wrote Brian Van Bower to start his February 2010 Aqua Culture column, 'that I see the value and importance of getting to know them to the best of my ability.  Invariably, that means asking the right questions and knowing how to
Santa’s Back!
As we acknowledged when we first spoke with him in 2010, the subject of this interview is known by many names in many places - Father Christmas, Père Noël, Kriss Kringle and Saint Nicholas, among others.  But in America, wide-eyed children of all ages mainly know him as Santa Claus.   Imagine our surprise
2015/12.2, December 16 — Holiday Fun, Brilliant Mirrors, Old-School Decking and more
Sustaining Sustainability
An Interview by Lenny Giteck Sustainability may be a hot buzzword in the world of landscaping these days, but Bruce Zaretsky is no Johnny Appleseed-come-lately to the concept. According to Zaretsky — owner of Zaretsky and Associates, a landscape design, installation and consulting firm near Rochester, New York, and a frequent contributor to the pages of WaterShapes — he's been concerned with sustainability throughout his entire landscaping career. "I've always tried to be careful with resources and less invasive to the environment," Zaretsky says. "For instance, whenever I would replace a brick patio for a client, I'd never throw out the old bricks; I'd always leave them at the road, on a wood palette, so other people could take them. The palettes themselves — I'd either
Chatting with ‘The Pond Guy’
An Interview by Lenny Giteck When Greg Wittstock built his first watergarden in his family's backyard at the ripe old age of 12, it was designed to provide a home for his pet turtles. Unfortunately, his treasured pets were not all that appreciative of a residence that leaked and had green water, so they fled the scene. He wound up ripping out and rebuilding the pond
Upper-Crust Ponds
An Interview by Lenny Giteck From a very young age, Steve Sandalis was fascinated by natural waterfeatures — an early interest that years later led him to found his watershaping company, Mystic Water Gardens. The Encino, Calif.-based business has prospered mainly by designing and building high-end waterfeatures for the wealthy elite of Los Angeles, including major figures in the entertainment industry. Many of Mystic's projects, which mostly come through word-of-mouth referrals, have carried six-figure price tags, including one that ran
Shimmering Glass
An Interview by Lenny Giteck David Knox has spent much of his adult life analyzing and manipulating light.   In 1983, he founded a company called Directed Light, which invented and produced laser systems for many of the nation's A-list technology outfits — including General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and Boston Scientific. In 1998, he sold Directed Light to a larger Japanese firm.   "I decided to sell the laser company for two reasons," he recalls. "One, I had reached my highest level of incompetence in terms of being a manager, and I really wasn't having a whole lot of
Building the Playboy Mansion Pool
An Interview by Lenny Giteck Some the most iconic images of the past four decades have been photos of  bikini-clad Playmates splashing around in the swimming pool or  lounging in the adjoining grotto of the Playboy Mansion West, in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. When Hugh Hefner purchased the 5.2-acre property in 1971, it included a staid, 29-room "Gothic-Tudor" house (as Forbes magazine described it). Through the years, however, the Playboy founder has invested a reported $15 million to transform the place into a
WaterShapers from Outer Space
An Interview by Lenny Giteck Since 1971 when they jointly founded The Dirsmith Group, an architecture, landscaping and engineering firm headquartered in Highland Park, Ill., Ron and Suzanne Dirsmith have established a distinguished track record of designing imaginative structures and environments that often pay homage to the beauty of nature — particularly the element of water. In the late 1950s, just four years after completing his architecture and engineering studies, Ron became a Fellow in Architecture of the American Academy in Rome, a highly prestigious research and study center for
A Remarkable Journey
An Interview by Lenny Giteck Randy Beard, owner of Pure Water Pools in Costa Mesa, Calif., has never been short on ambition. At the ripe old age of 19, he and his then new bride, Martha, started Pure Water as a pool-cleaning company. ("Even after being married and working together all these years," he says, "Martha is still my best friend.") In the nearly three decades since then, Beard and his company have evolved from