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Author Archives: Mike

Water Features – Materials

As explained in other articles we have written, the skill a water feature specialist must possess is understanding the subject from different perspectives. The engineering of materials used for the mechanics are more easily selected by a water feature specialist, which can look at the relevant industry standards and apply to each component to assemble a complete system to meet the performance requirements.

When it comes to the all-important part of the water features’ aesthetics and the materials used, clearly the look and feel of the material is going to be important. How it reacts to water and what proven systems can be used to keep its durability and performance in the long term is the challenge. The library for this is ever-changing as the world evolves making new materials with different performances.

Materials react differently with water, such as the thermal movement when a material is out of water and subject to the sun as opposed to the same piece of material being in the shade or below water. This movement can give rise to a multiple of issues from lowering of overall performance, water leaks and changes in the water aesthetics and water effects. A water feature specialist must understand the limitations of a material and have the knowledge of how it can be used within the overall water feature design.

On a broader technical understanding, when water features use certain materials and especially when they use two or more, it’s important to understand how they can be interfaced/joined, which in certain situations may also need to form a waterproof seal. So clearly a relatively easy design would be an all-steel water feature, as everything can be welded together. If on the other hand you had a glass water feature, which needs other materials such as steel to hold the water feature in place, deliver water, introduce water, then welding is not an option, but technically it needs knowledge on how to maintain performance with the different thermal coefficients of glass and stainless steel coming together. This typically means movement joints which not only need consideration for the mechanical and water proofing but also overcome the potential of harbouring water within the joints, becoming stagnant with bacteria growth, showing algae and debris within the aesthetics of the glass feature.

Water features: adding and removing water

Interestingly a water feature design is only as good as its weakest link, and although you may think you’ve considered all the factors, just one missing part can mean a big investment going wrong.

Clearly water is an important element to water features and fountains. There are a number of considerations for adding it and also, which is quite often overlooked, the removal of it.

Generally speaking, you will add water on the first fill up, with additional water as it depletes. The loss of water will be via evaporation and or water spray, the latter being water that’s not captured within the water source.

Good water feature and fountain designs should consider water spray closely as it will reduce water usage, time and effort to top up and can mean the difference between an attractive water feature and one that has puddles or damp patches around the outside looking very unprofessional. It’s one of the core skills that a water feature specialist must possess and in certain designs is the most difficult to calculate to offer the best design.

Water can be added manually by buckets, hoses or Tills Innovations offer automatic water top up systems. If you’re considering manually filling / topping up, then having a tap nearby will limit the length of hose needed to fill. A short length of hose with a quick release connector for the job can easily be made up and stowed away.

If you would like the water feature to be automatically topped up with water, which is critical to certain designs, this must be considered fully. Tills Innovations offer this in two different ways, either mechanically or electronically. Again, the design of the water feature will dictate if either or both are suitable options. Back syphoning needs to be considered and where chemicals are used this should be considered further to meet water regulations.

We hope you found this article useful. Click here for more information about the products and services offered at Tills Innovations.

Water features – contemporary or traditional designs

When Tills Innovations first started over 20 years ago, the majority of water features and fountains were traditional designs, such as ponds, streams and organic stone formations. This was not company or sales driven, but simply the only perceived designs open to the majority of the public. The closest that water was used in any contemporary form in residential designs was swimming pools. Clearly not every water feature falls into one category or the other, but generally the approach tends to be in one form or the other.

With the popular following of RHS flower shows including Chelsea and Hampton Court, driving inspiration and with it change, there started to be interest in moving to contemporary water feature designs as an alternative and now a trend.

Contemporary water features: what to think about

Whilst these shows bring a great wealth of inspiration for clients and professionals operating in the garden and urban environment, it has fuelled a huge number of issues that are attributed to those trying to replicate the spirit of these designs at home or in commercial environments. The two main points that Tills Innovations see overlooked are the life of the water feature, and the other, most importantly, the maintenance that’s required to sustain the look as it was when first installed. Quite simply show gardens only run for a week or two with a dedicated team to manually look after the water feature all day every day. It’s the underestimated difference between a water feature that’s designed to operate for a short period of time to one that’s being cared for in a private garden or operated in a commercial environment that is the seed that grows into a delivered water feature with issues.

Contemporary designs are generally minimalistic, with clean lines and a clean crisp look in one form or another. We explain this to our customers as being akin to a spa or swimming pool look compared to a pond which would be considered a traditional design. When we are approached with contemporary water feature designs there are two things that go through our minds immediately: the first being that most of the time the client is unaware of the complexity of the engineering and installation required, with the other being the associated cost. Explained in more depth below are the considerations and solutions that should be taken to deliver a robust design.

Contemporary water features: the solutions

The solution to delivering a robust water feature design is engineering a solution that addresses the conditioning of the water, through practical systems and water treatment. As well as this, the materials that are used within the design without compromising the aesthetics of the design or the realistic limitations of implementation on the overall site design, and obviously within the cost. There are a number of key parts to the design that will be covered in another article in the future.

Traditional water feature designs: what to think about

Water feature designs don’t always fall neatly into being contemporary or traditional, but Tills Innovations will tend to consider an approach from one direction or another. Generally speaking we look at traditional designs being an organic shape, with natural materials, clear water, but the surfaces possibly going green and therefore more of an aquatic look.

Traditional designs can soften the look of a garden, and complement a contemporary garden design, which otherwise would look very ridged & uniform, offering a different feel and area to relax in.

Traditional designs, such as ponds and streams generally give you licence to reduce the complexity of the water feature and with it the equipment, installation time and therefore cost. You don’t have chemical water treatment but a more modest filtration system with other possible parts depending on the quality of water required. If you’re on a budget but would like to add a water element, a traditional design is your most suitable fit.

© Tills Innovations 2000- All Rights Reserved.

Water features – It’s only water isn’t it?

After 20 years of experimenting, testing, designing, engineering, manufacturing and installing water features, there’s always something that surprises us and we’re always learning.

We drink it, wash with it and 70% of the world is covered with it. We take it for granted, but water is very complex. Water features and fountains, if correctly designed need to consider water on multiple levels. The main two levels are controlling water for its effect and sound, and maintaining the quality of the water with the substrate it comes into contact with. The forma needing an understanding of the fluid dynamics, and the other being water chemistry. The trick with water features is to ensure both are addressed economically within the perceived commercial value of the water feature, and the aspiration that the client has on the look of the water feature, which is equally important in the long term. This will be covered in another topic in the future.

Tills Innovations Ltd water features, including the AquaVeil® Water Wall comes from 20 years of knowledge. As water feature specialists, our expertise is to listen to our clients’ design aspirations, and where budget costs are provided, picture all of the elements outlined in this article in a way that uses water to offer the best designs and addresses these considerations within agreed costs.

It’s the skill of understanding the complexity of water and its needs with the considerations that vary in different situations that requires a water feature specialist like ourselves. Water features and fountains are a beauty and wonder in many settings and can bring so many wonderful different dimensions to gardens, landscapes and buildings. Unfortunately they sometimes receive an unfair opinion, and that’s simply due to the delivery of designs without the lack of knowledge, expertise and respect that water requires.

© Tills Innovations 2000- All Rights Reserved.

Go with the flow: new water feature injects innovation into interior and exterior hospitality designs

Tills Innovations Ltd, one of the UK’s leading water feature specialists, has launched a new style of water feature, the AquaVeil® which is now available for installation in restaurants, bars, hotels and venues. Set to provide innovation in interior and exterior hospitality designs, the AquaVeil® has a mesmerising waterfall-like effect, which is created as water flows over an architectural wall of metal mesh. 

Every AquaVeil® can be tailor-made to any size or shape and is suitable for a range of indoor and outdoor settings – whether it’s a peaceful addition to a small and intimate space, or a grand feature in a large, bustling venue. The water wall can be a free-standing structure positioned against a wall, integrated into the wall, draped floor to ceiling, or even shaped to the curvature of a building or space. 

Due to the translucency of the water feature’s metal mesh, wherever it is installed, lighting in the venue will not be greatly affected. In addition, the design of the AquaVeil® allows for a tailored lighting system to be included in the top and bottom of the feature, meaning the water effect can be experienced during both the day and night. 

Mike Tillett, Director, Tills Innovations Ltd, comments: “Since my brother and I founded Tills Innovations Ltd over 20 years ago, we have been driven to make a long-lasting contribution to water feature design; striving for flair, creativity and individuality in all we do. We’re excited to introduce the AquaVeil® and its bespoke style to the world of hospitality. Due the adaptability of the water wall, we are certain it will have a wide range of uses – smaller water walls could be used as dividers in a restaurant, or a larger AquaVeil® could be installed in the reception or outside courtyard of a hotel or venue to impress guests as soon as they arrive.” 

The AquaVeil® has been carefully designed to not only look beautiful, but to incorporate engineered solutions which enable straightforward and effective aftercare of the water wall. This includes an advanced filtration system, specially-created water treatment solutions, and options for automatic water top up and drain down for maintenance. In addition, due to the foldable nature of the metal mesh, the AquaVeil® can be easily transported, and large features can be installed in tight-access locations.

Mr Mahboob Hussain, Founder of the Royal Nawaab, London, comments: “The AquaVeil® has certainly added a wow-factor to my restaurant. It brings a real sense of grandeur to the space as it is the first thing that customers see upon entering the restaurant; they are greeted by a towering wall of water. I believe the presence of the AquaVeil® adds to the overall experience for my customers; it gives them a talking point, something to photograph and share on social media or with their friends. The ambience of a restaurant is a huge part of good hospitality and can enable you to stand out from the crowd; the water feature at the Royal Nawaab goes a long way to helping us to achieve that sense of distinctiveness.”The AquaVeil® is categorised into three styles, each of which can be tailored to different hospitality venues: The Enigma, The Paradox, and The Quantum.


Water features for wellbeing: innovative water wall offers new way to boost ambiance of public spaces

Tills Innovations Ltd, one of the UK’s leading water feature specialists, has launched a new style of water wall, the AquaVeil® offering an innovative way to create an atmosphere of relaxation, and boost people’s wellbeing when they are in urban settings.    

While much research has been conducted into the benefits of green spaces in supporting psychological wellbeing, it is also thought that water features have the ability to lower people’s stress levels and boost their mood.

The AquaVeil®, which can be tailor-made to any size or shape, has a mesmerising waterfall-like design – the water flows over an architectural wall of metal mesh, appearing to cascade seamlessly through the air, creating an embossed water effect. The AquaVeil® is suitable for a range of indoor and outdoor settings – whether it’s a peaceful addition to a building’s reception, or a grand piece of public art in a public courtyard. The water wall can be positioned against a wall, integrated into the wall, draped floor to ceiling, or even shaped to the curvature of a building or space. 

Due to the translucency of the water feature’s metal mesh, wherever it is installed, lighting in the space will not be greatly diminished. In addition, the design of the AquaVeil® allows for a tailored lighting system to be included in the top and bottom of the feature, meaning the water effect can be experienced during both the day and night.

Mike Tillett, Director, Tills Innovations Ltd, comments: “Since my brother and I founded Tills Innovations Ltd over 20 years ago, we have been driven to make a long-lasting contribution to water feature design; striving for flair, creativity and individuality in all we do. Whether it’s a smaller feature in a private garden, or a large piece in a public space, water features have an incredible way of helping us to let go of stress and relax. The wellbeing benefits of water features owe to a combination of factors which work together to engage our senses, such as the sound of flowing water and the visual impact of the feature’s design. These are all elements we have considered when creating the AquaVeil®. 

“We believe that every AquaVeil® is a refined work of art, and, like an extraordinary painting or sculpture, the bespoke water wall enhances its surroundings, creating an indescribable feeling for all those who experience it. We can’t wait to see all of the innovative uses for the water feature in public buildings and spaces across the UK and further afield.” 

The AquaVeil® has been carefully designed to not only look beautiful, but to incorporate engineered solutions which enable straightforward and effective aftercare of the water wall. This includes an advanced filtration system, specially-created water treatment solutions, and options for automatic water top up and drain down for maintenance. In addition, due to the foldable nature of the metal mesh, the AquaVeil® can be easily transported, and large features can be installed in tight-access locations.The AquaVeil® is categorised into three styles, each of which can be tailored to different spaces: The Enigma, The Paradox, and The Quantum.