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The Case of the Vanishing Stone
Scenario: The homeowner contracted with a swimming pool company, asking them to build a backyard pool that included a large waterfall made with natural stone. The homeowner went with the contractor to a local rock yard to pick out the stone, ultimately settling on a local sedimentary type found in the hills in and around the area in Southern California where the homeowner lived.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, they made the right choice in selecting an indigenous stone that would look natural in the landscape. Unfortunately, however, this was not a stone that had been immersed for centuries and was probably the worst possible choice for this particular application.
Once installation was complete, the homeowner couldn’t help noticing that every time the waterfall ran, chunks of rock material would slough off and fall into the pool. And when the kids went climbing, their hands would break pieces off, and those pieces rapidly dissolved when they came in contact with the water — great sport for curious children, who repeated the “experiment” over and over again.
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Scott Cohen is president and supervising designer of The Green Scene, an outdoor design and construction firm based in Northridge, CA. He provides consultation for clients nationwide and gives seminars on designing landscapes, swimming pools and outdoor kitchens.