The Society of Watershape Designers

04 Dec The Society of Watershape Designers

Last month I was honored as a Certified member of the Society of Watershape Designers (SWD) by the Genesis Design Group and NSPF.  I wanted to say “Thank you” to my friends and those of you who follow me on Facebook or social media.  Many of you offered your congratulations for this achievement, but most did not quite know what this accreditation stands for… So I thought I would provide a little more information on what it means to be part of the Society of Watershape Designers.

Skip Phillips-03

Internationally, there are a total of 44 SWD certified design professionals.  Collectively, they have been credited with the design and construction of the most conceptually creative, technically advanced, and structurally sound watershape structures that push the boundaries of creative expression using water as their media.  I have included examples in this post of the unique and internationally acclaimed projects created by this select group of SWD members.

Rick Chaffey-03


Brian VanBower-01


Achieving SWD certification is the equivalent to earning a Masters Degree in the specialized field of watershaping, requiring a minimum of 150 credit hours covering the in-depth study of the design, construction, engineering, and business of creating watershape vessels.  Specifically, the technical coursework  includes the science of hydraulics, the nuances of soil and geotechnical conditions, structural engineering with concrete structures, electrical theory and application, the art and craft of masonry, waterproofing and underwater finish applications, along with hydraulic equipment selection, control technology, water sanitation, and a working knowledge of water chemisty control.  In addition  to the above technical studies, an emphasis is placed on the design curricula, including a study of the history of art and architecture, architectural styles, freehand graphics, perspective sketching, 3D modeling, color theory, site analysis, and a mastery of principles of design.  Coursework also includes business classes on project management, customer relations, business ethics, and solid contracting practices.  Beyond these core course requirments, specialty electives provided include courswes in outdoor lighting, pond and stream construction, fire feature design, interactive waterfeatures, and landscape design.  Achieving SWD certification requires a personal commitment to professional advancement, and takes approximately 4 years to complete the required courses.

Shane LeBlanc-01

Roger Soares-01

Mike Farley-01

I have included several examples of projects produced by SWD members in this post, and have created a photo gallery of more creative examples on my Facebook page (  I study these projects (and others that I can post at another time) all of the time for inspiration and ideas that I can apply for my clients in their specific situations.

Skip Phillips-02


Gene Brown-04

Rick Chaffey-01


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