Updated: Jun 28
Often my mind is racing, from one thing to the next... now more than ever. But when I'm near water, I can sit quietly, stare out, and just breathe. Many of us long to be close to water and look out for long periods of time, quietly watching its limitless movements. The draw of water is undeniable. And though we may not be aware of it, the water is urging a calm focus, mindfulness or meditative state.
Being in this calm state - when the brain is relaxed and focused - benefits the mind and body a number of ways. A growing body of research has found countless benefits including; lower stress levels, relief from mild anxiety, pain and depression, improved mental clarity and focus, and better sleep quality. Wallace J. Nichols, Blue Mind. Huffington Post, Dec. 2017.
Integrating water, wherever possible, into the design of our home, will allow us to access these benefits every single moment of every single day.
If you're planning on adding a pool or even just dreaming about it, I'm hoping there will be something to bring you calm from today's inspiration. The pool designs selected, model characteristics of the west coast - the dark colours and rich textures in the rock formations, the vibrant blues and greens of the waters and the moodiness of the skies and nature's forests: from places like New Zealand, Japan, California, Bali, Hawaii and more. I've shown two spots from the West Coast, Tamolich Blue Pool (above) and Three Pools State Park (bottom), both in Oregon. When looking at these two locations and comparing them with the pool designs selected, you'll be able to observe similar characteristics.
The west coast is significantly different than the east coast and certainly, the mediterranean; therefore, it's important to determine the location provides you with the greatest calm, then use that location as inspiration to bring you calm everyday through design.
This plunge pool sits among California Redwoods so that you are surrounded by water and by Mother Earth.
Here, the darker colours on the inside of the plunge pool, the deck floor and railing, and the surrounding bounty of nature remind me of Oregon.
This could serve as a plunge pool on hot days or a hot spa on cooler days in Queenstown New Zealand. Leverage the surrounding views of nature to accompany the water to support your calm state. Stage the hot tub with lush towels and your favourite scents ready to be diffused so that it is always inviting you in.
Loungers flank one-side of this infinity pool to allow the owner to maximize the view of the water and its meditative qualities.
A cocktail pool or spool (small pool) overlooks nature. Dark brown colours in the deck, railing and benches are pulled from rocks or surrounding trees, seamlessly blending into nature, while the dark blues in the pool tile mimic the colours of water.
Three Pools State Park, Oregon.
This plunge pool, used to just cool down on hot days, was found in Italy. What's similar for me to Tamolich, is the rock formations and the lush greens that surround the water fall.
A "Japanese Lanthern" is at the head of the lagoon pool in Japan. In its complete, original form it represents the five elements of Buddhist evolution of the Universe. The bottom-most piece, touching the ground, represents chi, the earth; the next section represents sui, or water; kaor fire, is represented by the section encasing the lantern's light or flame, while fū (air) and kū (void or spirit) are represented by the last two sections, top-most and pointing towards the sky. For those that would love to add this lanthern to their outdoor space, there is a link to a video (from the picture) that shows how to make this lanthern.
I'm in awe of the similarities - rocks, colours of surrounding trees and grasses and the colours of the water - between this cocktail pool in Hawaii and the image below, taken at Three Pools State Park in Oregon. Nature is truly the best inspiration to take you back to your centre.
If the west coast isn't the location that brings you the most calm, watch for our next entry in the Outdoor Water Series where the pools will be inspired by the east coast.