phone icon(703) 433-1863
arrow icon

Q&A with Ed Ball: Designing a Water Feature (Case Study)

By Ed Ball | Published on August 01, 2018 | 3 min read

blog post image

by Ed Ball


Q: What were the goals of project? 
A: For a family of five. So typically whenever we speak to a client, they have a number of uses or amenities that they want to incorporate into the project. In this particular case, they wanted a pool. They wanted an overall outdoor entertaining space for their friends, their extended family, that their family could use throughout the year. They also wanted an outdoor tv, a hot tub, a water feature, an outdoor kitchen, and outdoor dining space.
Q: What inspired this water feature? 
A: For starters, waterfall features can provide a very beautiful, calming, and natural aesthetic element to your home exterior, but not only that, we wanted to create another point of interest instead of just having this big 10 foot diagonal window/tv so what we did is we installed a 12 foot diameter pure descent waterfall that would cascade over custom a flagstone ledge which eventually we soften with some vine. This provided a nice aesthetic. We also had a tunnel slide for the kids as well as a hot tub on the rooftop of the pool house.
Q: What materials were used? 
A: So specifically in the waterfall area, we had designed a 10 foot diagonal stewart starglass, which is a double pane window with a special film that allows you to install a projector and this case on the inside and it would project out onto the spring and therefore you could watch tv on the outside. We used concrete these stone when you, the flags down a, there’s a, a tibular spiral fly that comes from the top of the pool house down around, shoot out the walls of concrete. Polyethylene for the slide. Hot tub was from Carolina, and for the rooftop, there are some plants, the hot tub and a small sitting area. The TV, waterfall, stereo, pool jets, etc. are remote-controlled.
Q: What were the challenges in its construction?
A: We were trying to incorporate a number of different amenities into a relatively small or compact space, you have every possible trade you could imagine, you’re dealing with a concrete poured walls and elevated concrete slabs that were buried 4 feet dug trenches, a and you’re trying to incorporate all of this technology, so you run into a number of different challenges as you might imagine.
Q: What are common mistakes to avoid when building and designing a water feature? 
A: The biggest mistake would be to not seriously consider the maintenance required for your water feature within your design. If ignored, you could be in for some maintenance headaches in the near future. My clients are often surprised, for example, about the amount of maintenance required for a waterfall. You’re not going to stop water so you have to really think through the details. Having a good water filtration system is important so going cheap here would be another mistake. The great thing is that by having a quality water filtration and cleaning system you can reduce the necessary maintenance so its a worthy investment for busy people. I think the only other thing worth mentioning would be to make sure you have a good liner, because you don’t want something like that falling apart on you. And if you’re gonna make a big investment, you want to make sure you’re spending the right amount of money and you’re spending money where you should be, which is on the quality of the materials being used
Q: What advice would you offer homeowners about to embark on a water feature project?
A: Just to make sure that the installation is done in such a way as to help reduce or minimize maintenance as much as possible. Other than that, water features can be complicated from a builder’s point of view so seek out landscape architects that are experienced and comfortable with such projects.