Every Day Is Halloween
Consider the way I spent my time yesterday: I had breakfast in an upscale eatery to discuss teaching a class. I went through a phone interview with a publication’s editor. I hung up the phone and headed over to a job site I knew would be a total mess after a night that had given us an unexpected inch of rain. Adding to the uncertainty, I was to
Increasing Access
The benefits of swimming and other forms of aquatic exercise are better defined and more widely known than ever before, notes Dr. Bruce Becker, one of the nation’s top researchers into all the good things that happen when people get in the water.  But there are a number of obstacles that are keeping some of those who would benefit from actually getting in the water to help themselves, he adds – a surmountable set of issues he explores here. It seems obvious enough.  To reap the physical and psychological benefits of swimming and other forms of aquatic exercise and therapy, a person must first get into the water. Experience shows, however, that this initial step is often not
Design Psychology
When someone calls and asks you to "landscape my home," what does it mean? Are you going over to put plants and trees in the ground, or will you be rolling in with backhoes to install a pond?  This initial uncertainty is why, before any project begins in earnest, there are questions to be asked.  It's also why there are measurements to be taken, elevations to be shot, sketches and more sketches to be drawn, meetings to schedule and plans to present.   Then, maybe, a working design will develop and then, maybe, construction will start.   Gathering information and doing the foundation work on a design takes research, patience, experience and time, and it's never
Color Keys
Even though color is literally everywhere, most people know surprisingly little about it.  That's a knowledge gap designers in particular should overcome, says artist, colorist and teacher Judith Corona, who adds that understanding the nature of color, how it influences moods and emotions and how a color wheel works are all useful when it comes to making valuable recommendations to clients about their watershapes and landscapes.
Choice Matters
For many clients, the decision to purchase a watershape represents the second or third largest expenditure they'll ever make.  As a result, understanding the psychology that drives client decision-making is an issue that cuts very close to the heart of what we all do for a living. To gain a firmer grasp on what makes clients tick, I recently turned to Trading Up, an insightful book by Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske (Penguin Group, 2005).  The 300-page text explores the issue of why people choose to spend more money in some areas of their lives while allocating less to others - a fascinating approach that sheds a great deal of light on the dynamics of making large financial decisions. The premise of Silverstein's and Fiske's discussion is that most people have an idiosyncratic curve of preferences when it comes to making significant purchasing decisions.  Why, for example, will some people will set aside substantial resources to buy a Mercedes or Jaguar while spending (relatively) much less on
The Main Ingredient
As you spend your days creating structures that contain and control water, it's easy to lose sight of the water itself.  Yes, we're conscious of the fact that we have to filter, treat and sometimes heat it, but in its role as the defining feature in our products, water is so familiar a participant that in some ways it almost becomes invisible. This time around, I want us all to step back from the intricacies of the design, engineering and construction tasks we all perform to consider the water itself.  As we do, you'll find yourself thinking (as I often do) that we're in a special, healing trade that
Echoes of Laughter
When I was kid in the '60s, my mom would take my sisters and me to a place called Penn Park near our home in Whittier, Calif.  It was a beautiful old hillside city park with towering trees, winding paths and