“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry” | Thomas Fuller
Taking a look back through the history of gardens across the globe you may notice a common trend – some of the most famous designs incorporated water. Over time the use of water in the constructed landscape has changed. It has been manipulated in a series of ways from the Olmsteadian approach of the simple mimicing of nature to the extravagent uses at Versailles and the Alhambra. History and culture has shaped the forms in which water is used and it is often easy to tell a historic garden by its iconic water features.
Due to the economy, over population and the degradation of classes in America (among many other things) the garden has gained a new meaning. An average middle class american has a garden, and millions of people across the globe have a water feature of some kind in there back yard. The form and meaning of water in the landscape has changed.
Historically having water your property was a sign of higher class, due to the cost and labor it took to get that water from the source. Now things are much different. You can fly across the country and look down and see rows upon rows of houses with cookie cutter pools-large bodies of water in a back yard which 100 years ago would have been unheard of!
Today designing with water is often taken with a different approach. I would like to feature designs that are focused on presence of the water as a design element rather than a square or kidney shaped blob on a concrete pool deck. Water is amazing, and it should still be treated that way now, as it was hundreds of years ago.
The images above are of ‘SAOTA‘ – An architectural firm based out of Cape Town, South Africa.
Rees Roberts + Associates uses a cooling pool which straddles the interior and exterior allowing for natural air conditioning.
Reed Hilderbrand | Childrens Therapeutic Garden