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 Patio Paradise Fountains

The History

    "Joey enjoys playing in the sand box", so said my St. Thomas, Virgin Island, nursery school report card. In those same years I can recall taking my mother's pizza pans and old boxes of pizza mix and taking great pride in making beautiful sand and mud pizzas from the different soils to be found near our home. In the '70's I learned masonry techniques like simulated stone and brick working as a plasterer/stucco mason. My favorite type of simulated stone to work on was, of course, the simulated Coquina stone fronts on homes or businesses.
    At the same time,  I started a gardening hobby in my backyard in Deland, FL. I made my first humble attempt at creating a small portable Coquina fountain. In this old photo from around '74, you can barely see it on the left side of the pond. It was functional, but that is about all I could say about it. :) As often happens, I grew tired of working for "the man", and longed for a more fulfilling career.
    A friend admired my little backyard oasis and just begged me to recreate it for her along with a waterfall or fountain. In the photo to the left, you see me hard at work on Mrs. Martin's fountain. My daughters, Brandy and Amber, are playing in the foreground.
    This time, the beautiful result was a pleasant surprise to everyone. Here I am about a year later, doing a bit of general maintenance for Mrs. Martin.
    Next, I built a fountain out of real coquina in my own backyard, seen here with the wooden bridge. When I was scavenging for the stone to make this fountain, I had the Epiphany I refer to in the short story Gaudi and Whitman. Regularly swimming in the Florida springs, such as Blue Spirngs State Park in Orange City, were part of my Inspiration, as well. The same year I built my first real coquina fountain, I took a trip with my family out West to places like the Grand Canyon, Colorado Springs, The Garden of the God's, Bryce Canyon, The Tetons, and of course, Yellowstone. I noticed that the books I bought to remember our trip all described the beautiful rock formations as the product of erosion, mainly from water. Something clicked. I remembered the beautiful Coquina rock  from the East Coast of  Florida, that is often sculpted into beautiful shapes by the effects of erosion in the surf. Thus was born the concept of  Patio Paradise Fountains:  hand sculpted fountains resembling naturally eroded Coquina rocks. (For more information about the effects of erosion in the surf on Coquina, Click here . This link is to the website of Washington Oaks State Park in Florida. In the first couple of paragraphs they give a good description of how Coquina rock formed.)

    With a lot of trial and error, I made my first and then several more portable, tabletop fountains. My first sale in March of 1984, shown to left, was to a small florist in Sanford, FL. Here are Bandy and Amber with the fountain in Mr. McCalister's shop.

    This lead to my first big break. At his suggestion, I was invited to rent three fountains to the Florida State Florist Association for their annual meeting.  Thanks Mr. McCalister. If you look close, you might be able to make out my first three small fountains that are placed around the white bird cage in this photo. Here, to the right, is a close-up of my very first Patio Paradise fountain next to the bird cage. WOW!  I discovered that I could design for professional designers and that they LIKED my work!!

    My friends told me "You should display your fountains down on Park Avenue in Winter Park". I had my second break when Mrs. Talbot, the owner of a delightful little shop, "OuiBits" that then existed on Park Avenue, said "Yes, you can put a little fountain in my window." To date, I have sold to more than sixty-five Florists in the Southeast. Things just snowballed over the years.  Oriental restaurants really seem to appreciate accenting their decor with my unique water features.  Then came premier gardening shops around the South, who are pleased to display and sell my fountains for the enjoyment of their customers. Along the way, I have enjoyed displaying my work at home shows and garden shows.

    I lived in Sanford from 1988 to 1998. I moved to Tampa in 1998 and had a studio in Pinellas Park for three years. Then I moved my studio to the Tampa Location. Back in March 2006, I temporarily moved to Orange City, but because of an accident, I have decided to return to Tampa as of November 2007, so I can grow and expand once again.

    Below are photos from a home show I did around 1990.
    As you can see on my  Retail Stores page, shops that sell my fountains are located throughout the Southeast.