company logo 4a
  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
July 2011
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: An Island Waterfall 

Designer of the Month: Periwood Water Features, LLC

Helpful Links for Architects     

Join Our Mailing List!


Need Samples? Visit our Sample Request page. 

Find us on Facebook

Devonian stair treadsWelcome to the July issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If you have a project you would like to share with us, please contact us and tell us about it. If chosen, we will feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter, which goes out to architects and building industry professionals across the country. Click here to find out more about us, or visit us on our Facebook Fan Page.

Designer of the Month: Periwood Water Features, LLC

Periwood_ShinnecockPeriwood Water Features, LLC, based in Huntington, Long Island, NY is a landscape design business specializing in the design and construction of ponds, fountains, waterfalls and other water features.  

Owner Michael Perillo started landscaping in 1965 and then eventually began doing restoration work. "I found myself working on old mansions with overgrown shrubs that I was asked to prune and I found myself restoring the plants and understanding what the plant was supposed to look like when it started. That's where I developed the concept of flowing with nature. When I was asked to produce a water project on an estate where I had restored the entire property, it was there that I started my first pond, and again, I just relied on my instinct to follow nature."  

Most of Periwood Water Features, LLC's projects are in the New York City and Long Island, NY areas, although Perillo will consider work outside of these areas. Recent projects include ponds, waterfalls, fountains, a Roman fountain at a private residence, a fountain for a Korean restaurant in Bayside, Queens, NY, a project in Times Square, New York, and others.

For more information contact:


Phone: (516) 297-5103     

Topic of the Month: An Island Waterfall

Periwood_W_HempsteadWhen Michael Perillo of Periwood Water Features, LLC designs a landscape, pond or waterfall, he relies on an intuitive process that arises from his deep connection with nature. Such was the case with an impressive three-drop waterfall he designed and constructed out of natural stone for the West Hempstead Water District in West Hempstead, NY.

Perillo explains, "We were asked to design a layout for an island situated between the streets within the Water District complex. It's a two-step basin with three waterfalls. The water originates from the basins underground to a pump station in the back, which sends water up into the basins that are located in the waterfall itself. We also landscaped the entire area."

"Design is very important to me. This project was to replace an old fountain that was in the island, and my idea was to give the feeling that it was much larger than the island could support. The double pond gave it the sense of greater quantity, and also gave it a sense of greater height because there is an elevation rather than having one simple flat pond, which could only be visible if you stand over it. This design gives people the ability to see the pond from a distance as they approach it. It gives it contrast, because the water can be seen from different angles and you get different colors. This is something that looks a little bit more lively than a flat pond would have looked."

The first step of the process was to make sure the three-tiered waterfall fit within the island properly. Perillo explains, "It had to accept a certain amount of landscape so that it looked like it was in a natural setting where green would grow on its own and plants would develop. I had to give it the appearance that it is almost in its own little environment so that when you look at this island, even though it's sitting in a complex with blacktop streets around it, you almost forget where it's located and feel that you're somewhere out in nature."

"Even though this waterfall is in a confined area, all of the curves and bends and turns just keep the eye roving about so it looks like it's endless. One of my main objectives is to give the illusion of constancy, of movement, because it's soothing to the eye. Rectangular lines or square lines are constantly challenging the mind to stay focused on which way they're going or on which orientation you have. But with curved lines and wavy lines, the eye naturally follows them endlessly. So that was the big purpose of the design, aside from making it something unique and unusual, not just a bowl that sits in the middle of nowhere but something that looked like nature might have dug this out over time. Nature doesn't dig out things the way man constructs things, it works with what's there. It works with the quality of the stone and the landscape and with what water is doing and how it's running and what dislodges to develop the final shape of anything. And that is the look I wanted to achieve."

"When you do these things you try to be proportionate. It's an artificial thing put in an artificial place, so you have to start minimizing the artificial look. The idea of the layered pond was to reduce the appearance of the height of the waterfall, because the higher something looks, out of place in a flat area, the more it looks like it doesn't belong there. So then your job is to try to minimize that effect by enhancing other effects that offset the odd look, and layering, like this has the double layer. The landscaping was designed so that some of the shrubs would rise and create a good background for the waterfall. We wanted it to look like it was situated on a hill rather than on flat area. We also built some berm around the pond, to again offset the height so it looks like it belongs there."

Perillo chooses to build ponds out of concrete rather than liner ponds, and talks about the differences between the two. "One of the nice things about working with concrete is that it doesn't shift or move, like liner ponds do. Liner ponds have that as a major flaw, besides the fact that liner ponds also develop scum and soot and they're dark, slippery and absorb a lot of light. They don't really ever acclimate in the natural environment to appear natural. They don't age and they don't weather like concrete does because concrete is a byproduct of stone."

"Concrete keeps the basin stable so that when you walk by them they support you, but with liner ponds what you'll find is that over the years, especially here in the Northeast, they change because of the heat and freeze cycles. Freezing temperatures swell the earth, then it drops then it rises and drops again. So what we find a lot of times with liner ponds is that water starts to escape the perimeters of the pond because the perimeters are not where they once were, at least their elevations have changed. This doesn't happen with concrete. The other advantage to using concrete is that it creates an array of sounds when the water hits it. The vibration coming off of a concrete wall is never going to be matched by a liner which absorbs a lot of the vibration because it's soft material. With concrete you get crisp sounds and very unique sounds throughout the entire area, each sound being a little bit different based on the height, the elevation, the size of stones, and the quality of the ripples of the stone where they're cut and where they have natural grooves. The water just has an amazing orchestra effect when you work in this manner."

Perillo also mixes his own concrete and takes great care to make sure it is going to remain impervious to weather damage. "We try to use at least minimum of 4,000 psi. When we make our mix we also use additives such as hydraulic cement and Anti-Hydro, which layers the concrete with a film of oil, creating a further barrier to water penetrating through it. We also add fibermesh to give added protection and more tensile strength at the surface, allowing the concrete to stay intact. We put steel underneath, also to keep the concrete from stretching and moving when it's curing."

"When I spread the concrete down and put a trowel in it, I develop certain contours on the ground floor of the concrete basin. This is so that when water is dropping from one end of the pond and is running down to the other end where it exits to a basin that is leading water to the pumps, as the water travels, it hits the contours and creates a stirring of the water. That water doesn't sit still in the bottom. If the pond were perfectly smooth and level at the bottom, then most of the moving water would be at the top and you wouldn't have any mixing going on."

Perillo and his team handled all aspects of the job from design to construction, and everything in between. "The design concept was my own. We did the building ourselves, provided the machinery, the stone, and we did all the work on the site. We did all our own scoping and the insulation of all of the plumbing lines and the electrical lines that were required, including a pump station that is built underground just behind the pond. The pump station is not visible to anyone nor does it make any noise because it is underground so that when you come to this pond, you don't even know there is a pump that is running the whole system."

"When I do a job, I don't think that much about what I'm doing. I become the job. The stone pretty much tells me where it wants to be set. Even when I'm drawing something on the table, I kind of follow something that's beyond me. It just seems right. It's almost an instinct and I don't think about it because if I think about it I have to work from some frame of reference which would probably mean that I would repeat or copy something I did before. Instead, I just let my hand go on a drawing board as I do when I'm working with the stone itself. I pick a rock, I look at it. If it looks like it doesn't want to go where I want it, I put it down and get another one. I lay that down and it tells me this is the way it should go down, so I put it there. And then I find another one. It just seems as if what wants to happen is finding its own way. I'm meditating, actually, when I'm working. I don't have a formula other than what I do just feels natural."

"This waterfall has been running since 1998 when we built it. I've gone back a few times and the people there keep telling me how incredible it came out, how much they love it and that it still runs very well. And that makes me happy." 

Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 



Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture  

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit:

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.



Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

Copyright Devonian Stone of New York, Inc. 2008. All Rights Reserved. Content may not be copied or reproduced in any way without the written consent of Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.