Water rail on a contemporary terrace

Landscape architect Greg Trutza adapted an idea from Renaissance gardens for this contemporary Phoenix terrace: the water rail. It’s a particularly distinctive feature of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli near Rome, where water courses through the top of a staircase railing.

Here, a channel set into the top of a low wall wraps around an upper patio and then forms a spillway at one end, projecting a graceful arc of recirculating water into a spa on a lower terrace. The sights and sounds of the miniature aqueduct and spillway are especially refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.

DESIGN: Greg Trutza, Phoenix (602/264-5202)

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