A (Lazy) River Runs Through It

from aquamagzine.com

According to designer/builder Mike Farley of Dallas-area builder Claffey Pools, some of the most challenging projects are those where clients want numerous features in a small yard. No stranger to working in relatively tight spaces, Farley's skills were pushed the limit by this project, a lazy river with multiple design elements located in an average-sized residential back yard. It wasn't easy, he reports, but the effort resulted in a truly spectacular residential resort-like pool, with nary an inch to spare.

Although this project is located in typical backyard, about a 65-by-70-foot space, the project itself is anything but typical.

The design centers on a lazy river that consumes the majority of the space, around which you will find small slices of deck area, landscaping and an outdoor kitchen area. There are two bridges that lead to a large island in the center of the scene that includes a spa, lounging area, plantings and a large stone structure that forms a cave you enter from the pool, among a number of other details and features.

In many instances we were down to just a few inches available for the various structures and plumbing, and a number of factors seemed to constantly crunch things as we went along. Because trees were part of the design, for example, the available area was further decreased by "no plumbing zones" to protect the root systems. Property-line setbacks further compressed the design. Add to that a client who kept coming up with new ideas about things he wanted, and as we went along, it all just grew tighter and tighter.


Needless to say, everything was about as crammed as it possibly could've been; laying out the whole thing was like solving a grand puzzle. You couldn't put a shovel in the ground without hitting something. There were gas lines, sewer pipes, elements of low voltage lighting and electrical service, drainage trunks, in-floor cleaning lines, trunk lines for Tiki torches and, of course, the circulation plumbing lines for the pool and spa.

Aggravating things even more was the fact that we try to never stack plumbing because that can create a nightmare should you ever have to go back do a repair, so all the lines are laid out flat. Our refusal to cut corners on those types of details coupled with the homeowner's high-flown ambitions made for a design and construction process that was interesting, to say the least.

When the homeowner purchased the property, located in a lovely neighborhood in Collegeville, Texas, the lot came with some really nice landscaping. There were all sorts of trees, lush planting areas, a fountain, statuary and overall sound landscape design. To say the new owner wanted to go in a different direction is something of an understatement. In the end, the list of elements was as comprehensive as projects installed in areas several times the size of this one.

In fact, when I visited the lot with our construction superintendent prior to breaking ground, he looked at me as if I was crazy and said, "You must have measured it wrong. This isn't going to fit." I assured him I had measured it numerous times and as unlikely as it might have seemed, I knew everything would fit, but as mentioned above, only by the narrowest of margins.

In visual terms, one of the things we did have working in our favor was that the lot abuts a green belt with all sorts of mature trees. That enabled us to visually "borrow" the view of the greenery, which makes the space not appear as confined as it really is.

The undulating course of the river required precise forming and steel work along with carefully planned hydraulics.

Hot Tub and a Movie from aquamagazine.com Gone are the days of the drive-in movie, but how about the hot tub movie? Across the pond in England is Hot Tub Cinema, an unconventional movie experience that gives attendees the chance...

Healing Waters: The Rise of Hydrotherapy Pools

from aquamagazine.com

Since the late 1990s, HydroWorx, a highly specialized manufacturer of rehabilitative aquatic environments, has developed systems designed to help people heal. Here, writer Angelique H. Caffrey takes a look at the power and importance of this growing trend with an eye on HydroWorx' efforts to make water a primary therapeutic venue in both institutional and private settings.

It's believed human beings first recognized the healing power of aquatic exercise and relaxation sometime prior to the height of the Roman Empire. Yet, ironically in many ways, turning to water as a therapeutic environment is considered something of a new trend in our modern world.

Whether relaxing, recovering, walking or even running underwater, people of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities can harness the power of water to help themselves physically, psychologically and even socially. As a result, many homeowners and companies are choosing to fit their residences and commercial properties with variable-depth, high-tech, treadmill-and-resistant-jet inclusive private pools whether planning for new construction or renovation.

It's a trend that hasn't gone unnoticed among general contractors, architects and engineers who are increasingly asked by eager homeowners, clinicians, sports figures and facility managers to install pools that can heal the human body and mind.

What is shallow water blackout?


WHO: It can affect anyone that is breath-holding, even the physically fit swimmer. It is especially seen in competitive swimmers, Navy SEALs, snorkelers, spear fishermen or anyone who free-dives. SWB cuts across the spectrum of freediver training affecting all levels. No one is protected from succumbing to SWB.

WHAT: Shallow Water Blackout typically occurs because of low carbon dioxide (CO2) and low oxygen (O2). Unconsciousness occurs when O2 levels in a swimmer are too low. What triggers us to breathe to get O2 is HIGH CO2 not low O2 as one might think. Hyperventilation done before breath-holding lowers the CO2 abnormally so one can hold their breath longer, however, one may experience Shallow Water Blackout even without hyperventilation before breath-holding. The primary cause of SWB is lack of O2 reaching the brain. The CO2 levels may be high as in extreme exertion or low as in hyperventilation. In each case SWB happens. However with low CO2 levels, our bodies are robbed of their built-in mechanism to protect us and tell us to breathe before unconsciousness happens. One basically "blacks out" in the water. For some, their lungs will take on water leading to drowning while others simply suffocate or die of other causes brought on by the breath-holding. Death can be a result of the prolonged breath-holding even if not from so called "Shallow Water Blackout."

WHEN: Frequently, Shallow Water Blackout occurs WITHOUT ANY WARNING of its onset. In fact, because of the hypoxia and detached mental state one can feel euphoric and empowered to continue breath-holding. Unlike regular drowning where there can be 6-8 minutes before brain damage and death, there is ONLY about 2 ½ minutes before BRAIN DAMAGE then DEATH with SWB because the brain has already been oxygen deprived coupled with warm water as in swimming pools, hastening brain death.

Water safety expert: 'Drowning doesn't just happen'

By Jacque Wilson, CNN

(CNN) -- As adults we're told time and again to keep a close eye on young children around water. Most kids who drown are under the age of 4 -- toddlers who accidentally fall into water too deep.

They can drown in minutes in less than 2 inches of water.

But the recent death of a 13-year-old at a pool in Florida has experts concerned about water safety for pre-teens and adolescents.

Anthony Johnson had been playing in a pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort on Sunday. Relatives told CNN affiliate WFTV that Anthony was jumping in and out with friends when they noticed him missing, and pulled him out of the water within minutes.

The boy died Tuesday morning, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Police are still investigating his death.

Ten people die every day from unintentional drowning in the United States, making it the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20% are under the age of 14. Nearly 80% are male.

"The first thing to remember is that drowning doesn't just happen," says Alison Osinski, water safety expert and president of Aquatic Consulting Services. "Something always precipitates drowning."

Only about 35% of Americans know how to swim, and only 2% to 7% swim well, Osinski says. Teens are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and often go past their limits. Exhaustion or disorientation under water could cause a weak swimmer to panic.