2020/6.2, June 24 — Design Fees, Lazy Rivers, Botched Concrete and more
Vertical Pursuits
Given the way bodies of water interact with gravity, a great deal of the personality of any swimming pool is set by the flat surface of the water and its reflective qualities. In our work, we've found a variety of ways to capitalize on that flatness by creating focal points that are distinctly vertical in nature. In fact, we've found that working on the "y axis" and focusing on upright structures as diverse as arches, walls, columns and waterfalls can yield a variety of stunning visual effects:  Exterior spaces and vistas can be connected or distinguished, architectural shapes can be contrasted or echoed, shadows or reflections can be cast, and privacy or openness can be enhanced. The fact that these effects cut both ways makes them appealing to a custom builder who strives to give clients something unique and lets the characteristics of the individual setting drive the design process.  It makes the work more challenging, yes, but it also makes it more fun and rewarding. In many cases, the vertical elements we use can be subtle and retiring - a slightly raised bond beam, for example, or a small waterfall.  More often than not, however, we gravitate toward the bold and declarative by integrating water into architectural forms and creating dramatic and
2017/1.2, January 25 — Fish Out Front, Water Wall Basics, Japanese Style and more
Laticrete Offers SpectraLock Dazzle Grout Additives
Laticrete (Bethany, CT) makes SpectraLock Dazzle to bring metallic and glow-in-the-dark enhancements to its SpectraLock…
Just Amazing
If you've spent any time at all looking through the ARTICLES section of, I'm certain you'll have noticed that we've been busy:  At this point, nearly 1,500 articles have been uploaded to the site, all of them configured in easily searchable .html format. This treasure trove of information has been broken down into topical groups to make the process of navigating everything
Urn Points
It's unusual to think of such a wonderfully decorative watershape in this way, but the one featured in this edition of "Details" was the result of a client's desire for a measure of safety for the front of his home. The house is located on an intersection in a hilly part of Manhattan Beach, Calif., where the steep, downhill orientation of the streets occasionally lead cars to make turns at unwisely high speeds.  Given the orientation of his front door, my client was concerned that, with a bit of very bad luck, he might someday find an out-of-control-driver's car in his foyer. As is the case with many
Hard Choices
If I were to ask the average watershaper to name the most versatile element in any landscape, 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 rocks.   Some of you might be thinking I have a few too many of them rolling around loose in my head, but there's a good explanation for my response.  First, rocks come in an infinite number of forms, shapes, compositions, colors, textures and sizes.  Second, they can be used to sit on, walk on, retain hillsides or create small mounds.  Third, they add dimension to designs and contribute in countless other ways to the
Delicate Dynamics
One of the skills of a good designer is the ability to recognize those situations in which less is more.  The detail pictured in these pages, for example, shows how the choice to go with a small volume of moving water (as opposed to a torrent) can add immeasurably to a composition's visual strength.   Using this understated approach helps the designer or builder avoid what has become one of the biggest clichés of modern pool design - that is, the outsized waterfall spilling over a single weir from a raised spa into an adjacent swimming pool.  My desire to get away from that monotonous