Exploring Possibilities
Generally speaking, the folks who visit botanical gardens fall into two categories. The first includes local residents who can best be described as garden enthusiasts - the sort who visit monthly, weekly or even daily to follow the lifecycles of favorite trees, shrubs and plants and can spend countless hours observing the diurnal operations of flowers or of the birds who come and go as a year progresses. The second group, generally larger and often much larger, includes local residents who stop by the gardens only when
A Lesson in Communication
This project is wonderful in so many ways that it's tough to believe our clients could be anything less than perfectly satisfied - but, surprisingly, they've had a bone to pick with me. It's just gorgeous:  A great shape, beautifully detailed tile, a perimeter-overflow system augmented with a vanishing edge, underwater speakers, lush landscaping - a perfect Hawaiian-style plunge for
Waters of Paradise
When I first became involved with this project, the property was little more than a muddy slope - a dramatic piece of Panamanian topography that nobody had ever considered developing before my clients came along and decided to build a large, custom home. There was a reason it was available to them when they arrived:  The building site was a logistical nightmare not only because of the topography but also because of the configuration of the lot.  But they
2014/10.1, October 8 — New at WaterShapes: A Florida Dreamscape, an Uplifting Spray Park, Hidden Spillways and more
Seaside Luxury
Established as a wealthy man's weekend playground, this scenic, seven-acre slice of paradise on the Atlantic side of Islamorada in the Florida Keys is routinely used as the setting for fashion photography, commercials and films because of the archetypal way it expresses the "Keys Lifestyle."   I was brought on board by Steve Siskind, the architect who designed the house.  (He's done some spectacular residences through the years, but interestingly, he's never lived in a house and instead
2014/9.1, September 10 — Reinventing Paradise, Gutting a Pond, Customizing Vinyl and more
Wild for Tigers
Believe it or not, I became involved with this project because my nine-year-old daughter, Savannah, plays tackle football.  I was watching one of her games when I overheard a teammate's father talking about a renovation at the Palm Beach Zoo.   Joining the conversation, I learned that he owned a general contracting company that builds large commercial projects and that he'd been hired to renovate the zoo's parking lot and utility infrastructure and build an exhibit facility for two Bengal tigers.  It was, he told me, the first phase of a long-term plan to upgrade the zoo at Dreher Park, a complex that also includes a planetarium and a museum. The work at the zoo, he said, was one phase of an effort by the city to create a quality facility that ultimately could serve as a low-cost alternative to Orlando's theme parks.  As part of the project, my new friend's firm also was acting as general contractor in the construction of a new tiger pen, the first of a series of new display areas planned for the modest zoo. When he talked about the watershapes involved, I jumped:  The design
Searching for Style
Among the most complicated tasks you'll encounter in designing a watershape is determining your clients' style and how it applies to the project. How important is it to know what style they want?  That's a complicated