Launch Slideshow

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A backyard view of the towering casinos and bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip could easily overwhelm a simple waterfeature, so Damon Lang used eye-catching materials and some unexpected tricks to make sure it stood out.

He centered his design on the classic elements of fire and water.

“The water and fire combination is such a soothing effect, with the gentle flow and heat you get,” he explains. “It harkens back to a time when the earth was being born. It’s really a simple and early technology that was developed well before we even existed. I just worked around that.”

The project, which consists of a 25-by-5-foot reflection pool and fire wok, is wrapped almost entirely in iridescent tiles that emit shades of indigo, deep greens and other peacock-inspired colors when illuminated by flame.

“I wanted to do something with it that would really generate great reflections of the walls, the house and the surrounding trees,” Lang says. “The pool is only 12 inches deep, so those dark tiles were key to simulate depth.”

Lang filled the fire wok with mixed glass chips of cobalt blue and black to match the main tile and enhance the waterfeature’s sparkle. “It adds to the fire and ice effect,” he notes. “I wanted something really enticing to draw people outside after dinner.”

First, Lang used virtual plotting software to determine how the waterfeature would be seen and heard from inside the house. He also stretched the attached reflection pond so it can be seen from the dining and wine-tasting rooms just inside.

In addition, Lang added a few extra touches to make the waterfeature pop: fiberoptic bubblers in the adjacent reflecting pool, and 25 pinpoint lights (from a starlight floor kit) on the fire cylinder itself. Both serve to illuminate the tiles and enhance their rich colors.

The tiled cylinder that holds the stainless steel fire bowl also is full of surprises. The unit sits on a weir, so water can sheet seamlessly into the basin below. And the steel cylinder inside is removable for easy cleaning.

Lang worked with the homeowner during construction of the house to ensure that a natural gas line ran to the feature. He even engineered a hidden drainage system within the fountain.

“We don’t get a lot of rain in Vegas, but I wanted to give the homeowners that ability, in case water seeped in,” Lang says. By adding a variable speed pump, he also made the entire project green (all the glass materials are recycled).

“The homeowner trusted me and let me do my thing, experimenting with these different touches,” Lang says.