Five Elements Theory

Greek philosopher Empedocles identified four elements of nature: air, earth, fire and water. This was expanded by others to include space and modern-day yoga often focuses on those five elements to improve health and attain greater knowledge, wisdom and happiness.

Philosophy, mindfulness, meditation, or simple relaxation all have roots in the Five Elements Theory and we can connect to these elements in a single backyard sitting by the swimming pool.

Applied Theory

Immerse yourself in the scene below and you can breathe the fresh air; touch the earth, stone and vegetation; feel the warmth of the fire; reflect upon the natural-looking water; and explore the entire space while gently and peacefully stimulating all of the senses.

The fire elements include a natural rock ring, a small stone urn filled with broken glass, and a pair of rusted bowls that look a bit like large gold-panning dishes.
The fire elements include a natural rock ring, a small stone urn filled with broken glass, and a pair of rusted bowls that look a bit like large gold-panning dishes.

The stone deck and zero depth entry to this freeform pool invites guests into the water – with their shoes still on!

The palapa provides a focal point and destination in this Poway estate.
The palapa provides a focal point and destination in this Poway estate.
Conceived as a Hawaiian retreat, the palapa isn't too far from the bar.
Conceived as a Hawaiian retreat, the palapa isn’t too far from the bar.
Incorporating the same materials as the pool, a stone footrest frames the base of the stucco wall that matches the house.
Incorporating the same materials as the pool, a stone footrest frames the base of the stucco wall that matches the house.
The outdoor kitchen provides plenty of space for hosting large parties.
The outdoor kitchen provides plenty of space for hosting large parties.
To get the palapa's posts to the edge of the pool we engineered custom welded baseplates that split the posts like a blade, hidden beneath the rope detail.
To get the palapa’s posts to the edge of the pool we engineered custom welded baseplates that split the posts like a blade, hidden beneath the rope detail.
Fire does not need formal containment. A simple rock outcropping provides plenty of room to sit or elevate your feet at the warmth of the flame.
Fire does not need formal containment. A simple rock outcropping provides plenty of room to sit or elevate your feet at the warmth of the flame
The stone decking gently bends down to create the zero-depth entry, inviting guests into the shallows.
The stone decking gently bends down to create the zero-depth entry, inviting guests into the shallows.
The floating steps require a little adventure to find as the path is not immediately noticeable upon entering the yard. Crossing the path and adjacent water feature clears the mind and prepares guests for their relaxing retreat in the palapa.
The floating steps require a little adventure to find as the path is not immediately noticeable upon entering the yard. Crossing the path and adjacent water feature clears the mind and prepares guests for their relaxing retreat in the palapa.
Although extensive electrical lumens were incorporated into the design, the four fire elements continuously dance the flame's natural light upon the surrounding surfaces. It's a magical experience that feels a bit like the tiki torches illuminating the paths of a Hawaiian resort.
Although extensive electrical lumens were incorporated into the design, the four fire elements continuously dance the flame’s natural light upon the surrounding surfaces. It’s a magical experience that feels a bit like the tiki torches illuminating the paths of a Hawaiian resort.
True arcs intersecting at expected tangents result in pleasing natural lines to define the water's shape.
True arcs intersecting at expected tangents result in pleasing natural lines to define the water’s shape.
Team

Design: Skip Phillips

Engineering & Construction: Watershape Consulting Inc.

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