Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Re-blogged from Dirt du Jour

This photo was on today's Dirt du Jour post, and I thought it made such a wonderful point that I had to post it here as well. Her point: shrubs are not boring! It is all about how you put them together, like in this gorgeous composition from In the Garden.

I love the subtlety of a flowerless composition! Instead, you notice the form, texture, and foliage color of the plants. With the huge central swathe of lawn, probably not the garden to copy plant for plant in Southern California.... but definitely a great source of inspiration!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Swimming pools by Questar

I promised you more swimming pool eye candy and here it is!

Both of the images here are designed by Skip Phillips of Questar Pools. We are lucky enough to have Skip right here in San Diego (Escondido to be specific), but his pools are famous throughout the country, really the world. Of all of the myriad accolades that Skip's pools have won him over the years, my personal favorite is the Robb Report's "Club 21," the 21 most influential designers of their time. The award that goes to Armani for clothing design goes to Skip for changing the way we look at water features.

These are two of my personal favorites of his. The upper pool is right here in La Jolla, Ca. The lower pool, done in collaboration with Nick Troubetzkoy of Lightstreams tile, in in San Lucia.

So the most obvious thing is the pictures is the mirror effect from the vanishing edge, but there is so much more going on here. Notice how the water feature in the upper pool should be creating waves, but doesn't. By spilling into the spa, the body of water in the main pool keeps its perfect mirror. Also, this pool doesn't just spill over a single vanishing edge- notice that the edge close to the patio is also raised (but where that water falls to is completely hidden!). That brings the mirror effect closer to eye level. And don't miss how wonderful the reflections in the pool are. Think it is by accident that the bamboo creates such a beautiful image in the pool? I don't think so.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gorgeous spa by Oehme/Van Sweden

I realize that I have been neglecting one of my favorite topics, swimming pools and spas, so it is time to pick up the slack! I think that a lot of people work off of the assumption that swimming pools and spas are functional, and that means that they should be ugly mementos of the public swimming pool from our childhood. I don't know why ugly swimming pools are such a strong element of American culture, but I am determined to be a part of the movement to change that.

I have been lucky enough to get to know a few of the players in the Genesis 3 Design Group, a group dedicated to raising the design standards for the pool industry. If you have never heard of them, take a look at their website, and make sure to click through to the websites of their Platinum members. They are raising swimming pool design to an art form and you'll be amazed by what you see.

The spa I have shown here just blows me away. It was designed by Oehme, van Sweden and Associates (James van Sweden is an occasional lecturer for Genesis 3), who are high on my list of favorite Landscape Architects of all time. If you haven't read their book, Gardening with Nature (or any of their other equally amazing books), please go to Amazon and get it right now. You won't regret it- I'll even give you a link so you can get there easier!

I will try to make up for my sad neglect of swimming pools by showing off some of my favorites in upcoming posts, so keep an eye out!