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Pros and Cons of Backyard Waterfalls

By Jonathan Allard

A backyard waterfall is a great way to incorporate art into your outdoor living space. Whether the feature is a focal point in your landscape or simply a complementary piece. Water feature designs serve more than an aesthetic purpose; the sound of trickling water can help you relax and feel calm.

Water features such as decorative fountains and waterfalls can provide a number of benefits to any environment. Most people will agree that providing components within their own living space that create a visual interest can reduce stress, which may lead to enhanced productivity.

However, adding a waterfall is not without risk…

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PROS

Keeping Calm

The Advantage of Relaxation

  • backyard waterfall can provide a tranquil setting for you to relax and enjoy the outdoors–either by yourself or with friends. The waterfall can include fish or accent a swimming pool to enhance your experience while relaxing in the yard. In addition, the sound of trickling water, can be stress-reducing.
  • Most waterfalls featuring moving water also produce running-water sounds. These sounds can remind listeners of a calm babbling brook contributing to the calming effect of the waterfall. The falls noises also help cover the sounds of a busy environment. This effect is known as white noise and can help reduce the stress caused by the more mundane sounds of outdoor living; automobiles, planes, neighbors, and other environmental factors.

The Aesthetics Advantage

  • A water feature in the backyard will significantly bolster the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space–especially if colorful fish and an eye-catching design complete this landscaping feature. Backyard waterfalls can be equipped with lights to illuminate the  feature during the evening, further enhancing the easy-on-the-eye experience.

The Anywhere Advantage

  • One of the most intriguing benefits of landscape waterfalls is that they can be installed into any area of your yard, whether it is front or back, in the sun or shade, by the pool or in the patio. 

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Attract Attention

The Conversation Advantage

  • Waterfalls can become a gathering place for family and friends — especially if placed in a backyard setting —  Designers often include seating or viewing space around the feature to accommodate the attention it attracts. Not only will the waterfall be a great focal point, but it will also serve as a conversational piece.

The Uniqueness Advantage

  • No two waterfalls are the same. Waterfalls come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and characteristics. There are the thundering and powerful types that command attention with their sheer volume and size. There are delicately flowing graceful types that relax and mesmerize you with their intricate beauty. Then there are the ones situated in locations where its settings are every bit a part of the natural beauty. Moreover, they are unusual cascades that bend your mind and leave an impression as a result of their uniqueness.

Better Air

The Humidity Advantage

  • The moving water of a fountain allows some of the water to evaporate into the air. This contributes to the humidity of the air and may actually improve the air quality of the surrounding space. In dry climates, the presence of a water feature may reduce or eliminate the need for a humidifier.

CONS

Safety

The Safety Disadvantage

  • The water in a waterfall can pose a safety hazard. If the water feature includes an open pool, it should include design features that prevent accidental entrance by children, as this can cause some possible injury. 

The Maintenance Disadvantage

  • Backyard waterfalls can require maintenance. If your feature is located near trees, removing debris can become a constant maintenance issue. Maintaining balanced water is the key to long term enjoyment of your backyard waterfall and swimming pool waterfallMany pool supply stores will have testing equipment to test your water and provide you with the analysis of your water, as well as the supplies you’ll need to maintain a balance.  Test kits are also available for you to check the water on a weekly basis.

The Disadvantage of the Attraction of Pests

  • Different types of waterfalls can attract pests to your yard. Fish falls may attract fishing birds, which will make a meal out of your fish. Raccoons and frogs may be attracted to your water feature, as well. Frogs can be interesting to watch, but they can be very noisy during the evening hours. Mosquitoes will also pose a problem in features that are not well-balanced and maintained.

 

Top 15 Swimming Pool Waterfalls

By Jonathan Allard

Last week we compiled a list of the 10 Swimming Pools You Don’t Want to Miss, and in response wanted to put together a list of swimming pool accents. These accents can be anything from water-slides to stained wood platform decking. This week we are going to focus on water features, and more importantly waterfalls.  This list of the Top 15 Swimming Pool Waterfalls will take you through some great ideas of how one can turn a pool area into a Water Wonderland, for all types of budgets.

 

15. Simple Yet Soothing.

14. Waterfalls Are Great For Indoor Pools Too!

13. Multi-Tiered Waterfall.

12. Blending in With the Surroundings.

11. Even a Waterfall Can Have Greenery.

10. Great Focal Point!

9. Waterfall With Multiple Functions.

8. Water, Water, and More Water!

7. Natural Flow.

6. Over the Wall Waterfall.

5. Grottoes, Slides, Waterfalls, OH MY!

4. Roof-Top Waterfall.

3. Waterfall at Every Corner!

2. Tropical Grotto With an Amazing Waterfall Accent.

 

And number 1 on our countdown for the Top 15 Swimming Pool Waterfalls is…

1. The Waterfall Creates the Space.

 

As you can see there are some great ways a swimming pool can be accented to create a relaxing and tropical feel by adding a waterfall(s). Some used the waterfall as the main focal point to define the space, and others used it for more of an ambiance and aesthetic.

This list was compiled a little different than the others because as with a lot of water features, they can be built using real(natural) stone vs. Artificial Rock. We wanted to see if there were some that were obvious in which method was used, and ones that were a little more tough to spot.

Which numbers on the list were made from Natural Stone? Which numbers were made from Artificial Stone?

Let us know what you think!

 

10 Swimming Pools You Don’t Want to Miss

By Jonathan Allard

In light of spring being right around the corner, and the weather is starting to warm up (in most areas). We have compiled a list of the top 10 swimming pool designs we thought you should see. This list ranges from a design fit for a musician, to a pool that you can sleep on, literally. These unique designs are sure to impress any swimming pool extraordinaire that compares aesthetics to functionality. Here is the Top 10 Swimming Pools You Don’t Want to Miss.

10. Enclosed Functionality.

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Number 10 may be deceiving to the eye, and may not seem very unique, but it serves multiple functions. The green house style enclosure provides not only natural light to the pool, but also doubles has a heat source. Simple yet functional. Great Design!

9. Oh the Flow!

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

This swimming pool made it on our countdown because the design is flawless. From the trickling waterfall from the jacuzzi into the pool, to the cozy fireplace setting. The outdoor bar scene, to the surrounding landscape, this design just flows. The connection between each space is segregated enough to make it peaceful, but close enough to where every feature is integrated , and you don’t lose the purpose of this design.

8. Is it a Boat?

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

Can you tell whether this swimming pool is on a boat or land? Well if you thought it was a boat, sorry you were wrong, but what is great about this beach house is it gives the perception as if you are sea bound. This made it to number 8 because of its surreal perception of imagination vs. realism.

7. Play Me a Tune.

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

As you can see this pool design is for the music lover or the guitar god. What makes this design so great is not only is it shaped after an actual guitar, but it even has key features to one such as; strings, the bridge, fret board, and turning pegs. This pool is number 7 because not only does it make you want to swim, but it makes you also want to play a tune.

6. Over the Edge.

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

Number 9 on the countdown is a swimming pool that overlooks the beautiful cityscape. This design incorporates a walking bridge from the main structure to the patio on the roof to the lower half. What tops off this design is the waterfall that flows directly off the roof onto the lower section of the house. This is a great design because it integrates great city features, but offers enough privacy to where it’s relaxing.

5. Tired of Swimming?

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Imagine waking up in your pajamas and hopping directly into your heated swimming pool, or vice versa, after a long day at work you jump into the pool and relax before bedtime. This made number 5 because of its creativity and uniqueness with its use of space, and the fact that it’s not seen very often.

4. Here Fishy Fishy!

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

Number 4 on the countdown involves swimming with the fishes. Not literally, but basically integrating an outdoor aquarium into an indoor space. This pool design created a disco like ambiance with a strange yet settling focal point. The whole design is very out of the box, and therefore deserves this spot on the countdown.

3. Poolside Drive-In.

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

This duel home theatre and swimming pool is a great way to beat the summer heat, and avoid those long lines at the movies. This design is great if you are hosting a party for friends and family. Whether you need a space to keep guests entertained, or you need to stay cool during those summer heat waves. Kick back, and watch your favorite flick, just try not to fall in!

2. Come Swimming on My Balcony!

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Could you imagine staying in a hotel or complex that not only offers a swimming pool, but your own personal balcony pool. Typically balconies are dull and unused, but in this case it makes a valuable solution to an otherwise useless space. I think this type of design will be utilized more often in the future of contemporary architecture.

And the top pool design you couldn’t do without is…

1. Can I Get a Pool to Go?

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

Number 1 is exactly what it looks like, a pool you can literally take anywhere, at any time. This unique design utilizes a mack truck for the base, and when the retractable roof is removed, it becomes this amazing swimming pool. It can be moved anywhere, and used for many applications like; kids birthday parties, cookouts, fairs, promotional events, family gatherings, and just plain swimming. I guess when it comes down to it, no matter where this guy goes, there will always be a pool, and always people curious about this crazy pool design.

There you have it folks the Top 10 pools we thought you should check out because they pushed the limits when it comes to creativity and functionality. Thought outside the box with ways each design can be integrated into its surroundings, whether that is your own personal lazy river movie theatre, or a traveling water wonderland, the possibilities are truly endless.

Which numbers on the countdown did you like the most? and What would you have done differently?

Any suggestions on some Top 10′s you would like to see Neptune Styled? Post Below!!!

What is Neptune Panels?: Behind the Waterfall

By Jonathan Allard

Here are a Few Examples:

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waterfalls, waterfeatures, aquascapes, neptunepanels

 

Since 2010 Concrete Developments has tried to develop ways to re-invent the way custom backyard waterfalls are built. In the construction industry there are two popular methods of installing water features; real stone and modular GFRC systems.

Real stone is very time consuming and can also be very expensive. Heavy machinery is needed to lift and place stones and cantilevered features are tough to construct. Modular GFRC systems offer a lighter and faster way to resemble real stone.  While easier to install than real rock, the design is limited to what kits the company offers. That means the waterfall that spills into your pool could be the same exact one that your neighbor down the street has.

The goal of Concrete Developments was to produce a panel system that would be light weight, high strength, and have true, defining textures. Using a long lasting, durable mold material we took impressions of stone from around the country.  This offers a wide variety of texture themes to work with.

Our first goal was to produce a panel that would be light weight, high strength, and have true, defining textures. Consisting of impressions from real stone a long-lasting, durable material was used to create the panel molds. This gave us a wide variety of texture themes to work with.

Next was to develop a panel mix. We worked closely with a renowned GFRC leader, who created a mix that is on the cutting edge of lightweight concrete. Not only does it have a compression strength of over 9000 psi , it has a flexure strength of over 1650 psi. This combination along with a light weight frame provides a solid foundation to work from.

Neptune panels are now used in a variety of different applications. They can be used indoor and outdoor, and have truly changed the thought process on waterfall design. Cantilevers are now created with ease, sheer drops and cascading falls are simply achieved. Not only has the waterfall section of a feature changed but the textures around it now are complimentary to the falls themselves by having the ability to make in and out clefs, jagged shelves, and protrusions that are true to nature. No other product allows for such versatility and creativity.

Tell us your thoughts below about our unique product, we appreciate your feedback.

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Top 10 Inspirational Outdoor Living Spaces

By Jonathan Allard

resort style backyard waterfallTo have a great outdoor space, does not necessarily mean it is the most spacious or expensive. It it how the space is designed and utilized to create a well organized area outside of those four walls. This Top 10 List of Inspirational Outdoor Spaces range from an outdoor cinema to a paradise concrete “Man cave”. We are counting down to the most inspirational space, Neptune Style!

10. So Relaxing.

Number 10 on our list is a simple but rustic outdoor seating area. This space is great if you are accompanying a guest for coffee, or you and your significant other want to have a space to yourselves. The fireplace creates a warm ambiance and makes this a relaxing outdoor area with an indoor feel. This is a great example of utilizing an outdoor patio with a trellis acting as an open style roof to give the feel as if it is an enclosed space. Great Job!

9. Spa-Inspired Alfresco Escape.

Number 9 on our countdown also implements a simple seating area, but adds a country-flair to it. The in-ground spa gives the feel as if you have a bath in your own backyard. Complimenting this beautiful spa is a modern table design with an integrated fireplace, side tables, seating and ottomans, also notice the mountain scape in the background. This inspiration comes from Emiliana Design Studio, and Outdoor Spaces by Kettal. Thank You!

8. Great for Gatherings.

For those of you who love to host gatherings or parties, here is an excellent use of a backyard space. Having the fire pit in the center of this engagement is a wonderful conversational piece, and creates a warming environment. Hosting parties should not be a chore, but more of a fun experience, and our number 8 on the countdown makes it that much easier. Give them a standing “U”…because it is U-shaped, get it?

7. Movie Night.

Number 7 on our countdown to the most Inspirational Outdoor Space is this walk-up outdoor movie theatre. This open style cinema is a great way for children and adults to relax under the open stars. This is a fun and cost effective approach to make your backyard a comfortable yet exciting way to watch all your favorite movies. By using just a few candle-lit torches, a futon mattress, a couple throw pillows, and some yummy home-made popcorn, going to the theatre is not so bad anymore…

6. Botswana-Style.

Just imagine the serenity that this outdoor bathtub for two creates. It is a very desirable and eloquent yet simple space to engage the romantics. This candle-lit bath is designed to relax and sooth the body while enjoying the beautiful scenery. It is a completely secluded area made simply for comfort. This inspiring concept can be found at the Sanctuary Baines Camp in Botswana.

5. Backyard Ecosystems.

You do not have to have expensive things to create an amazing outdoor space. Take number 5 for example, this aesthetically pleasing backyard is not full of material items, but  ”GREENscaping”. It is designed to create many areas with multiple functions. The pond accents the surrounding greenery and opens up a world of ecosystems. These ecosystems will help maintain the beauty of this landscape just by playing their roles in society, therefore making it almost self-sustaining and captivating. It is easy to see why this space is inspirational, and starts the top 5!

4. Outdoor Kitchen.

Number 4 on the countdown is for the chef, inside and out. This kitchen brings the party outdoors and makes for a great gathering place. It is fully furnished with a; gas barbeque, wood burning grill, kitchen sink, regular refrigerator, wine refrigerator, a beer kegerator and an ice maker. To top it off, it is covered with a granite countertop.

3. Faux Rock Grotto.

This Twin Creek Farms Estate pool designed by Caviness Landscape, is the ultimate in luxury pool design. From beach entrance, to multiple entertainment areas, everything is included to make it the perfect entertaining or relaxation space. This luxurious pool is home to this gorgeous 900 square foot faux rock grotto, which is found alongside the pool’s three swim-through natural boulder waterfalls.  Faux Rock is a great alternative to real stone because it is cost effective and looks extremely realistic, one can’t even tell the difference. To top off number 3 on the countdown, there is a swim up bar, dry grotto area with a 46” outdoor plasma television and sound system. A dry entrance to the grotto which leads to a kitchen, and a restroom that is tucked away for convenience. WOW!!

2. The Tree-House Theory.

The runner up to our Top 10 countdown is every child’s dream, the tree house. While blending into it’s surrounding this tree house serves many purposes. One of which being a place for kids to hang out, play games, and hide secrets from their parents. They can even become very practical additions to anyones backyard. For example tree houses are perfect to organize a home office there or to become a guest bedroom. This is an inspirational space because if there is one thing a tree house sparks is…imagination!

AND THE WINNER IS….

1. Resort Living.

The designers at Pacific Outdoor Living captured all the elements above in one incredible outdoor space. This private home resort is captivating with features such as; A secluded spa, common gathering areas, conversational seating, beautiful greenery, mountain-scapes, outdoor bar and modern architecture. A backyard sure to impress any guest whether it be a family gathering, neighborhood get-together, or just your significant other. This is one space sure to inspire the creative edge in all of us. Great job to the guys over at pacific outdoor living!

There you have it folks, our Top 10 Inspirational Outdoor Spaces, Neptune Style. We have gathered information from all types of industries, from landscapes to aquascapes to designers. From tree houses to a simple rustic fireplace, all of the above are sure to relax the body and give one a sense of their own paradise. Comment below and tell us what you would have done differently, or an outdoor space that should have made the list for inspiration.

What is your Private Paradise?

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7 Benefits To Backyard Water Features

Creating a backyard retreat is like adding additional rooms to a home. Outdoor kitchens, patios and…for a peaceful setting; water features. Large or small, water features add serenity to a backyard. The tranquil sound of trickling water is a great way to unwind after a long day.

backyard waterfall

Here are 7 reasons to consider adding a waterfall or pond less waterfall to backyard projects.

  1. Adds aesthetic appeal – There’s a magical aura to the site and sound of running water.
  2. Low maintenance – It only takes a few minutes a week to maintain.
  3. Focal point – A beautiful water feature attracts attention.
  4. Relaxing – The sight and sound of trickling water helps to melt away daily stresses.
  5. Doesn’t take a lot of space – A pond less waterfall can be designed to work in just about any space.
  6. Safety – Is safe for children and pets.
  7. Less than a day to build – From design to build, a waterfall can be completed and running in less than a day

The following video shows the process used in the Concrete Developments, LLC, Neptune Panel System.

Creating A Backyard Oasis: Swimming Pool Waterfalls

Swimming pool waterfalls will add an effect of drama to an otherwise mundane in-ground swimming pool. In addition to the form and style of a typical pool itself, the location of your pool and the surrounding landscape can play a factor in deciding which type of waterfall best matches the swimming pool. Waterfalls can connect two separate pools, add a touch of nature while masking something very unnatural or make the horizon indistinguishable from the pool itself.

backyard waterfall

Swimming pool waterfalls certainly are a way for you to add style and design to a pool, adding a focal point in addition to a functional part into your pool. The flow of water can act as a pool pump, keeping water clean and flowing, and can also offer swimmers a place to interact physically together with the fall of water. Pool waterfalls are available in many different shapes, sizes and designs, and may be custom-made depending on pool owner’s specifications.

Swimming pool waterfalls can work as a lot more than just a water feature for swimming pools with curved edges. A large, rocky outcropping built surrounding a curved fringe of the swimming pool creates a natural-looking waterfall. Waterfalls built more than 3 feet tall make ideal camouflage for pool slides. The steps start at one end of the rock wall with the slide curving around and into the swimming pool from roughly the midpoint.

The amount of space available in the back yard or patio area decides the size of the waterfall as well as the slide. When designing this kind of a waterfall installation, the first selection would be the water slide. The contour of the slide acts as a skeleton for the rock formation. The open space below the slide is an ideal place to hide the waterfall’s pumping equipment.

A few of the features of swimming pool waterfalls would be the color variations in the rock structure. Shades of gray, white, blue, black or natural stone are popular in many different custom built designs. Tiered rock formations teamed up with pump speed create many different flow of water amongst the falls, with everything from a powerful, steady flow to a minimal, tranquil trickle effect.

Lighting can also appear in different locations behind or nearby the falls so the pool along with the waterfall can very well be enjoyed at nighttime. Some waterfalls have small nooks for plants in order to create a tropical atmosphere.

Swimming pool waterfalls can vary in size from 3 feet across all the way to 24 or more feet. The height is typically1 to 3 feet. Some pool waterfalls are tiered on different-sized platforms that gradually decrease in size as they get taller. Pool waterfalls generally pump around 200 to 250 gallons per hour and also have adjustable settings to increase or decrease the flow of water, making them very energy efficient.

Think about the type of pool that you have prior to deciding to purchase or build a swimming pool waterfall. Above-ground pools as well as some smaller fiberglass pools are not well suited for waterfalls because of their size and shape. In-ground gunite or concrete pools are the perfect foundation for waterfalls, because the waterfalls can be strategically placed to mesh into the sides of the pool to have a more conforming and natural look.

The following video shows the process used in the Concrete Developments, LLC, Neptune Panel System.

Panel System For Dramatic Swimming Pool Waterfalls

New for 2012, Concrete Developments LLC, has engineered an innovative panel system for creating swimming pool waterfalls, backyard waterfalls and commercial water features. Created with molds from New Hampshire mountain ledge rock, the patent pending Neptune Panel System for waterfalls allows swimming pool and hardscape contractors the opportunity to create custom, realistic water features in days, not weeks.

backyard waterfall

There are two components to the system. A custom frame is placed to provide the skeleton to build upon. This insures the stability of the structure and provides a starting point to attach the panels.

The second component is the panels. The panels are created from a mold using a proprietary mix that is three times stronger than concrete yet weigh one-third that of concrete. Once the panels are placed the gaps are filled to provide the finished look.

The final step in the process is applying the color. Virtually any color can be applied giving the waterfall the truly natural look of ledge rock.

One of the key advantages to this system is the fact that the contractor makes their own panels. A single mold will produce hundreds of panels. The only products that are shipped are the molds themselves, the frames, and the mix for the molds. There’s no need to worry about damage in shipping or the costs associated with shipping unusual sized panels.

The following video shows the process used in the Concrete Developments, LLC, Neptune Panel System.