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The Hazards Of Water Migration
Scenario: With most common spillways, the water flowing over the edge has a strong tendency to migrate laterally at the edges - that is, away from where it's intended to flow - sometimes causing problems as it goes. Indeed, it doesn't take much water migrating out of the system to empty a pool, saturate the surrounding soil, damage concrete or, most common of all, attack any stone it happens to encounter.
Take flagstone, for instance: Although it's frequently used in spillway applications, the fact that it is sedimentary and was laid down layer by layer through hundreds of thousands of years can make it extremely susceptible to water damage. While it may be something of an oversimplification to declare that flagstone is made by water, you can accurately surmise that water can destroy it - and quite easily, depending on the specific material at hand.
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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.