Whether for aesthetics, privacy, or ambiance, these custom water features provide a versatile way to add drama and sound to your outdoor living space. Rain curtains and water walls are always in demand. These classic water features introduce a soothing ambiance, create an elevated design, and continue to be a prominent feature in luxury pools.
Top pool and water feature designers share some of their projects. We asked them what makes these features special, things homeowners should consider during the design process, and, of course what makes them must-have amenities.
1. (Photo Above) Privacy Rain Curtain
Designer/Builder: Ike’s Carter Pools; Rain Feature: Great American; Lighting: Jandy
This project by Ike’s Carter Pools was designed so the pool’s vanishing edge blends with the horizon. A large rain curtain falls down onto the pool and the shallow lounging area comes under the structure of the house. The back yard has a full kitchen, basketball court, putting green, and perimeter overflow spa. vanishing edge, marble pavers, rain curtain and industry best energy-efficient pumps, filters lights, and heaters.
2. Overhang Rain Sheer
Designer: Trevor Brents; Builder: Presidential Pools, Spas, & Patio;
Rain Feature: Jandy; Lighting: Blue Square Manufacturing
“During the design process of this pool project, the homeowners wanted something beautiful, something stunning,” comments designer Trevor Brents of Presidential Pools, Spas, & Patio. “I designed a hybrid shape pool that allowed for a modern vibe with nice water sound and movement. The rain sheer water feature is centered with the patio of the house allowing for line of sight from inside the home. It provides ambiance and beauty which any pool owner would love to experience.”
3. Rain Curtain in Outdoor Living Room
Designer: Phil Kean Design Group; Rain Curtain: Bluworld of Water
“The first consideration when deciding on a water feature is, where is it going to go? We’ll need to plan for water supply, drain, and securing it to a structure,” shares Rosa Rodas, Business Development Manager, Bluworld of Water. “After this is determined, then we will talk design and what will work well within the space and the maintenance level the client is comfortable with. If a client wants a water feature but hasn’t planned for a water supply, drain, and doesn’t want to deal with maintenance, we have a style that is essentially Secure, plug, and play. Our encapsulated blu-guard water features are perfect for the client that has a finished home and considers a water feature late in the construction process.”
Must haves or don’t dos for rain curtains? According to Rodas, a must have for a rain curtain is lighting, underwater and above. The light hitting the water droplets creates a stunning, shimmery, sun shower effect.
4. Rain Cascade into Pool
Architect: Rene Gonzalez Architects; Designer: Aquatic Consultants, Inc.; Rain Cascade: Great American
According to Andy Kaner, MLA, SWD Master, president of Aquatic Consultants, Inc., rain curtains create a nice sound, but are on the loud side and can be used to drown out unwanted noise like traffic. They are easily controlled with fixtures, easily hidden in ceilings and walls, and require less space than a proper water wall.
Must haves or don’t dos for rain curtains? According to Kaner, high wind situations can cause rain to blow on windows or living spaces that you want to keep dry. Therefore, it’s important to have a wind anemometer to cut off the pump at set wind speeds to help with wind and splash out. Supply with a variable speed pump to gauge the flow rate and soft start pumps so you do not blow out excess flow of water when pump starts up. Check valves to keep the fixtures full of water when the pump shuts off. Plus, have a filter in line to keep debris from getting jammed in the cascade nozzle.
5. Illuminated Rain Curtain
Designer: Radelli Design | Build; Engineer: Watershape Consulting; Rain Feature: Sheer Water Designs and PAL Lighting
Aubrey Russell, president of Radelli Design | Build, agrees that rain curtains and water features continue to be in demand. “We have seen a great deal of interest in more custom designed water features that are tailored around our customer’s needs, rather than the traditional sheer descent on a raised wall that cascades into the body of water beneath it.”
What are important considerations when deciding on a water feature? According to Russell, it’s important to consider the sound it will create. A lot of the times we use water features to drowned out distant sounds like busy streets or distant traffic. Sometimes we use them to create solitude or a habitat that relieves stress. For example we may design a feature wall that has water trickling off the stone into the water or a low pressured rain feature.
Photographs by Jimi Smith (1 and 5), courtesy of the builders/manufacturers