My InspirationI can recall vividly all the water features I saw as a child.
In Charlotte Amalie harbor, St. Thomas, VI, there is an island, Water Island.
My family would visit friends there regularly. They had a beautiful water feature with
a small river in which I enjoyed playing with a small plastic frogman toy.
When I was six years old we moved to Miami Beach, FL.
I remember being fascinated by the fire and water display at an oriental restaurant
near our home, called the Luau.
A pivotal event that led to the development of Patio Paradise Fountains
was a conversation I had with a friend in the early 70's.
His name is John Pick. Our families were young and we both enjoyed
taking our kids to Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, FL.
On one visit, he started a conversation about the natural beauty of the place.
He asked if I was aware of the concept of "Visual Lines".
I said "No".
He went on to describe how all the plants in the Park grew in the soils
to which they were adapted. Certain trees required dryer soils, and so
grew further away from the Spring head and Run, that led to the St. John's River.
Those requiring more water, grew closer to the waters edge.
Smaller plants, liking to get their feet wet, grew right in the water.
This created a progression and variety of foliage that you could trace.
That is, if your minds eye was open, you could trace a visual line from the tallest tree
in the distance to the smallest blade of grass at your feet.
He helped me to see that to follow this exercise had wonderful effects on the human psyche.
If the rangers came along, and for the sake of safety for the canoeists
cut down a palm tree that was leaning out over the Run, then it would create a disturbing break
in the visual line that might take years to fill in.
I began to follow this exercise when I viewed the banks of clouds, or even the shapes of trees.
I liken it to the feelings I get when I hear a musical chord. If one note is out
of place, the effects can be jarring to the ear, to the soul. If the harmony is there,
we are moved to joy and our inner self is happier for it.
More recently, when I undertook a study of Philosophical Taoism, I was delighted
to see how the forces of the element of water and it's effects on the world around us were
so deeply appreciated by the Ancient Chinese.
There is a special moment that I try to recapture in each fountain I create.
A moment of inspiration you might say. It was back in the early seventies when I was
collecting real Coquina rock to use to build a fountain. As I was trying to unearth a
particularly stubborn stone, it began to rain. This stone had a few pockets where soil had collected
and small plants were growing. As I was kneeling down, struggling to free
it from the ground, I was getting completely soaked. But there was a spark of creativity as
I captured that moment: Coquina rock, plants, the sight and sound of running water.
I couldn't begin to tell you how many times my customers have told me about
My Inspiration Leads Directly to....
My Advice to "Do It Yourselfers"So, you aren't necessarily in the market for a Patio Paradise Fountain,
but you are looking for advice on making a water feature yourself...
I would be happy to discuss technical information about fountain construction
with anyone who would take the time to call or email me.
I have included quite a lot of information regarding How I Design and Create
But, what I want to encourage you to do is to take the time to open yourself
to the natural beauty around us all the time. Open yourself to the concept
of "Visual Lines" that I mention above.
Then, whether you work with concrete or plastic liners, or even
pre-made water falls and ponds available at your local home improvement store,
the results are sure to be more pleasing and rewarding.
Perhaps some people have a natural knack or eye for this sort of thing,
that is possible. But, the conversation at Blue Spring that changed
my life was definitely an Education for me. If John Pick hadn't
opened my eyes, I suspect there would never have been any
Patio Paradise Fountains.
Remember to bring plants into your design, if at all possible.
Now, I am aware that there are many fountain concepts that don't lend
themselves to the inclusion of foliage: Classical, European, Geometric, etc.
Maybe you don't have a green thumb.
But, I feel that even a little greenery softens and enlivens any design.
Update: August 2005:
Check out , New Lily Pond Sand Boil for information about
how to create a sand boil in your own water feature.
I hope that this information is helpful to you.