A Mood Runs Through It

Pools and water features have the potential to soothe and refresh, as well as the power to create a sensory experience.


Design Trends






















1. Here, all five feng shui elements come together in a harmonic convergence, notes feng shui consultant Carolyn Thomas. At the heart of it all is the beautifully balanced water wall, bathed in LED lighting. 2. “The senses and how we experience a space, also known as ‘chi,’ come alive with the sights and sounds of water in movement,” says feng shui consultant Carolyn Thomas, of this lagoon pool. “This is the true essence of good feng shui as the nurturer of our hopes and dreams.” 3. This pool inspires the viewer to pause and reflect, says landscape architect Stephen Pategas. “It’s really intriguing, and a wonderful feature that mirrors the surrounding architecture.” 4. Landscape architect Stephen Pategas gives high marks to the hide-in-plain-sight fountain feature of this pool: “Usually a water feature can be seen and heard at the same time, but this one you’re going to hear first. That’s sure to lure guests to the sound.”

The best of today’s pools and spas are not the placid “cement ponds” in the back yards of bygone years. Instead, they’re more like poetry in motion, with roiling or gently spilling waterfalls, spouting fountains and jets—aquatic playgrounds accented with such features as color-changing LED lighting and firepots.

“When water splashes, drips or cascades, the sound is a powerful magnet that pulls you to it,” says Orlando landscape architect Stephen Pategas of Hortus Oasis. “Once [you’re] there, it tantalizes and begs to be touched.”

While a calm pool of water invites reflection, shooting jets surprise and tumbling water stimulates the senses. It’s no wonder, then, that water has been prized as a decorative element since it first splashed in the stone fountains of ancient Near East civilizations.

“Water is one of the five elements on which feng shui is based,” says  Carolyn D. Thomas of Orlando, a certified consultant in the Chinese art of creating harmonious surroundings.

Thomas notes that the pool shown at left includes all five feng shui elements: water; fire, blazing from the firepots; wood in the ipe decking; earth, represented by the rectangular shape of the pool, walls and deck; and metal, reflected in the smooth surface of the pool and the rounded curves of the pots. Here, Thomas says, “dynamic balance” is achieved as the eye is invited to move from element to element.

Such visually pleasing harmony brings to the viewer a sense of refreshment and delight, says Pategas, who frequently incorporates water into his architectural designs. The elements you choose for your own pool or spa, notes Thomas, will help define the area’s ambience.

“The ‘personality of pools’ is up to each person to define,” she says, “depending upon the mood they want to set.”

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