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Neptune Panels: Coloring Your Water Feature

By Jonathan Allard
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With the construction phase of the water feature now complete, you’ll want to do a general site cleanup of all tools, construction material, and debris to give you a clean environment to start coloring. To protect the area around the water feature from any overspray or drips from the color, you will want to hang or lay plastic over it. This should include any finished flatwork, buildings, and plants or trees. You should also use a leaf blower to remove any dust or fine particles from the water feature to ensure a good bond by the stain.
It is now time to bring your water feature to life. We will do that with color. A lot of dealers
start out very concerned about not being very artistic. There is nothing to worry about; coloring your project is about technique that requires just a little practice and having no fear. You see, as with nature, nothing is perfect. There are no two stones or rocks that look exactly alike or have the exact same coloring or even texture. Since nature doesn’t color every stone perfectly consistent, neither should we.

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All Neptune Panels colors come in a concentrated form. You will have to dilute the color by using distilled water only. In order to get two or three shades of each color use the ratio of distilled water to color as follows; 3 parts distilled water to 1 part color, 2:1, or even 1 to1. This will allow you a greater range of color and more natural looking shading. By diluting one color and using all the different shades of the color you will be less likely to have a checkerboard style, coloring pattern. The checkerboard look will typically occur when the installer does not dilute down the color and uses it in a concentrated form.
There are some basic principles that you should follow that will allow you to have success immediately after training.
The key to coloring all projects no matter where you are in the country or what colors you may use is as simple as starting with the lightest shade, to the darkest shade. When you typically color a project you will probably only use three or four colors. The key to realism is when you dilute each one the colors and you’ll end up with 8 to 12 colors and/or shades.
Once you have chosen the color scheme you are going with, dilute to the lightest color first, and then begin brushing it on your project. Once you have finished coloring your rocks, you can move on to a darker shade. With Neptune Panels color you do not have to wait for one coat to dry before applying another coat, even if it is a different color. There is an acrylic added to the color that allows it to bond to each other whether or not the bottom coat is dry. This is very beneficial to you, the installer, as it saves time and money as it allows you to continue working.
water feature, waterfall, fountain, waterfalls, how to color a water feature, neptune panels, how to color a waterfall, how to color a neptune panelAs you continue coloring from the lightest to darkest shades, you should also be swapping out and using other colors at the same time, in the same fashion. One way to think about coloring is you are actually low lighting the cracks and crevices as opposed to highlighting all the ridges and peaks. Just remember, you can always go darker but it’s not so easy to go lighter. If you’re stones look perfect close up, odds are they may look fake from a distance.

When coloring, as long as you don’t seal the feature you can always tweak the color. If the customer is very specific in what they are looking for, make sure you get approval on the coloring before you seal the project, you will save yourself a lot of trouble down the road.

Helpful Hint:
When you sell a water feature to a homeowner, do not let them pick the colors, but simply pick a color scheme only. Let them decide if they want to have for example; blues and grays, browns and tans, or even the South West reds. Odds are, you will never have color corrected photos and even if you did, every stone you color is different so you would never be able to match it exactly anyway.

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