How To Build More Natural Water Features

The following summarizes what trade professionals learn at Rock & Water Creations' two-day technical training seminars where they are introduced to the most advanced techniques for installing reinforced concrete (GFRC) boulders and rock cliff panels to create impressive, natural-looking water features to meet the growing expectations of today's residential and commercial clients.

Friday's Program

8 a.m. Continental Breakfast
(Coffee, Orange Juice, Pastries, Fresh Fruit)

8:30 a.m. Seminar Begins

Section: Water Proofing
Covers all aspects of applying waterproofing to concrete substrates according to the type of project (i.e., swimming pool, stream, pond) with different types of liners and products such as Thoroseal and Zypex.

Section: Steel Structure/Rebar
Since seminar participants are required to have knowledge on this topic already, this section will include a general overview of basic steel schedules as they relate to water feature installation. Advice will be offered on how to find, and form a good working relationship with, a reputable structural engineer who can be invaluable in the design of awe-inspiring water features.

Section: GFRC Rock Cliff Panel, Boulder Selection
Our experts will talk about the versatile uses of individual rock cliff panels and boulders for ease of selection, rules to remember when aligning panels along their natural strata lines, methods of cutting and fitting panels according to the desired final look of a project, the role of a creative eye in assembling panels for installation, how and where to create "plant pockets," and much more.

Section: Grotto Construction
Techniques for building impressive grottos including casting selection, forming, cribbing, pouring and curing.

Section: Attachments and Rough-In
While not "rocket science" for those with masonry or structural concrete backgrounds, working with GFRC rock cliff panels will be made even easier with top advice from experienced instructors who will share how to attach and join panels, and install wire mesh between panels for fill-in where necessary.

They'll also discuss ways to use lumber to crib up panels, alternative attachment methods such as how to weld hooks on the reverse side of the castings to steel schedules and wire smaller individual pieces of panels into place, and techniques for rough shaping Rock-It Mix in voids prior to embossing.

Section: Backfilling
Details will be provided on the type of materials used for backfilling in areas behind the rock cliff panels or under boulders, the reason for waterproofing backfilled concrete with an admix (i.e., Xypex) when water will be in contact, and the proper way to settle concrete using a vibrator.

Section: Embossing
This section will cover the unique properties of Rock-It (a hydraulic cement mix designed for water feature professionals) and the correct way to mix and apply it for rough-in and handwork, use of the release agent, tips on handcarving techniques and choosing the appropriate embossing skin or texture pad, special considerations when doing overhead work (i.e., grotto lids), and more.

4-4:30 p.m. Seminar Concludes

Saturday's Program

8 a.m. Continental Breakfast
(Coffee, Orange Juice, Pastries, Fresh Fruit)

8:30 a.m. Seminar Begins

Section: Metering Water
Useful information on basic hydraulics to ensure optimal movement, direction and flow of water over, and through, your water feature including how to create points of origin (i.e., basins and weirs).

Section: Pressure Washing, Negative Sealing
Covers the need for pressure washing and application of a negative-side sealer to form an internal hydrostatic barrier against water migration to protect against incidents of efflorescence.

Section: Color
Perhaps the most important part of the two-day seminar, this section emphasizes all aspects of how to create the most natural appearance for the rock cliff panels and boulders used on your project. Trade secrets gained from years of experience will be revealed in areas such as pre-coloring, neutralizing, applying a color coat as a primer and method of adding depth of color, the use of acid stains, decoloring, sealers and more!

Section: Soil Cement and Landscape Sculpture Installation
Learn how to design streams and spillways using natural-looking "soil cement," a profit-making technique that can generate a bigger bang for your client's buck when the tranquil beauty of their main water feature is easily extended to other locations on their property. The value of incorporating life-sized reinforced concrete animals, bronze sculptures, and additional boulders along these streams and/or in other locations around the water feature will also be discussed.

Section: Ordering, Delivery And Unloading Of GFRC Castings
A complete explanation of the ordering process, methods of payment, shipping arrangements and timelines for less than truckload (LTL), full truck and individually crated pallet orders, and methods for efficiently unloading GFRC boulders and rock cliff panels at job sites.

Section: Sales & Marketing, Contractor Support
How to price your installation services, practical ways of selling your first water feature job using GFRC castings, the value of building a showcase project at a retail location (or a friend or family member's residence), the benefits of forging long-term relationships with local designers and architects, and the pros and cons of marketing yourself at consumer events such as regional home and garden shows.

Besides learning about the type of ongoing technical support available to attendees upon completion of their seminar, participants will also be told about other resources available to them from Rock & Water Creations to assist with selling their services (in-house web site design, custom news releases, etc.).

4-4:30 p.m. Seminar Concludes


815 Fifth Street Fillmore, CA 93015
(805) 524-5600 Ext. 10