Title:
LINER ASSEMBLY AND WATER POOL INCORPORATING THE SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A liner assembly for use with a receptacle, such as a whiskey barrel, is provided. The assembly includes a liner, a plurality of connector elements disposed thereon, and a stiff, yet flexible band securable to the liner via the connectors. The liner is formed of a flexible, water-proof material having a bottom panel portion and a surrounding sidewall portion extending upwardly therefrom terminating in a liner edge to define a mouth. When disposed in the receptacle, the liner walls confront the interior walls of the receptacle with the mouth of the liner being maintained in an open condition by the band. The band may be formed of fiberglass and include a first end portion and a second end portion coupled together and maintained in a generally annular configuration of a selected diameter by a coupling member. A water pool assembly, which includes the liner assembly, is also provided.



Inventors:
Hunter, Lynn (Parker, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/908949
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
06/01/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/488, 4/496, 52/169.7
International Classes:
E03B9/20; E02D27/00; E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, DINH Q
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACOBSON HOLMAN PLLC (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A liner assembly adapted for use with a portion of a receptacle that has a receptacle bottom and a surrounding receptacle sidewall extending upwardly therefrom to define a receptacle interior, comprising: (A) a liner formed of a flexible, water-proof material and including a bottom panel portion and a surrounding liner sidewall portion extending upwardly therefrom to terminate in a liner edge to define a mouth, said liner sized and adapted to fit in the interior of said receptacle with said bottom panel portion confronting the receptacle bottom and with said liner sidewall portion confronting the receptacle sidewall; (B) a plurality of connector elements disposed on a margin of said liner sidewall portion at a location proximate to the edge thereof; and (C) a stiff yet flexible and resilient band adapted to be secured to said liner by said connector elements, said band sized and adapted to extend around said liner sidewall portion in spaced-apart relation to said bottom panel portion thereby to hold the mouth of the liner in an open condition.

2. A liner assembly according to claim 1 wherein said connector elements include: (A) a first set of loops disposed at spaced locations around said liner sidewall at a first distance from said liner edge; and (B) a second set of loops disposed at spaced locations around said liner sidewall at a second distance from said liner edge that is different from said first distance.

3. A liner assembly according to claim 1 wherein said band is adjustable in size.

4. A liner assembly according to claim 1 wherein said band has a first end portion and an opposite second end portion.

5. A liner assembly according to claim 4 including a coupling member operative to couple said first and second end portions whereby said band is generally annular in configuration of a selected diameter.

6. A liner assembly according to claim 5 wherein said coupling member includes (A) a clamp including (1) a head portion having a central opening therethrough; and (2) a pair of spaced-apart jaw portions extending from the head portion in opposed relation to one another thereby to form a gap therebetween, wherein said first and second end portions overlap one another in the gap and in the central opening as confronting band sections; and (B) a collar adapted to surround said jaw portions of said clamp and operative to compress said jaw portions toward one another thereby to retain the selected diameter.

7. A liner assembly according to claim 1 wherein said band is formed of fiberglass.

8. A water pool assembly adapted to hold a selected quantify of water, comprising: (A) a barrel section having a barrel bottom wall and a surrounding barrel sidewall extending upwardly therefrom to define a barrel interior; (B) a liner formed of a flexible, water-proof material and including a bottom panel portion and a surrounding liner sidewall portion extending upwardly therefrom to terminate in a liner edge, said liner sized and adapted to fit in the interior of said barrel section with said bottom panel portion confronting the barrel bottom and with said liner sidewall portion confronting the barrel sidewall; (C) a plurality of connector elements disposed on a margin said liner sidewall portion at a location proximate to the edge thereof; and (D) a stiff yet flexible and resilient band adapted to be secured to said liner by said connector elements in a mounted state, said band sized and adapted to extend around said liner sidewall portion in spaced-apart relation to said bottom panel portion, said band having sufficient resiliency to hold the margin against said barrel sidewall.

9. A water pool assembly according to claim 8 including a fountain supported by said barrel sidewall and a recirculating pump adapted to be disposed on said bottom panel portion, said fountain including a hose in fluid communication with said pump whereby said pump is operative to pump water through said fountain.

10. A water pool assembly according to claim 9 wherein said liner includes a cover piece secured to said bottom panel portion and sized and adapted to conceal a portion of said pump.

11. A water pool assembly according to claim 9 wherein said liner includes a first pair of straps secured to said liner sidewall portion and adapted to secure said hose thereto.

12. A water pool assembly according to claim 11 wherein said liner includes a second pair of straps secured to said liner sidewall portion in spaced relation to said first pair of straps and adapted to secure said hose thereto.

13. A water pool assembly according to claim 8 wherein said connector elements include (A) a first set of loops disposed at spaced locations around said liner sidewall at a first distance from said liner edge; and (B) a second set of loops disposed at spaced locations around said liner sidewall at a second distance from said liner edge that is different from said first distance.

14. A liner assembly according to claim 8 wherein said band is adjustable in size.

15. A liner assembly according to claim 8 wherein said band has a first end portion and an opposite second end portion.

16. A liner assembly according to claim 15 including a coupling member operative to couple said first and second end portions whereby said band is generally annular in configuration of a selected diameter.

17. A liner assembly according to claim 16 wherein said coupling member includes (A) a clamp including (1) a head portion having a central opening therethrough; and (2) a pair of spaced-apart jaw portions extending from the head portion in opposed relation to one another thereby to form a gap therebetween, wherein said first and second end portions overlap one another in the gap and in the central opening as confronting band sections; and (B) a collar adapted to surround said jaw portions of said clamp and operative to compress said jaw portions toward one another thereby to retain the selected diameter.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many people enjoy spending time in their back yards or around the premises of their domicile. As such, many hire landscapers or simply choose to work in their back yards, weeding, planting, and keeping their grounds manicured and pleasant.

Water pools, such as water gardens are becoming a very attractive addition for many backyards and patios and particularly those having water pumps, which power fountains or other water accessory item to provide movement to the water. Water gardens can be elaborate and incorporate waterfalls, lights, rockwork, and even fish. Alternatively, water gardens can be quite simple and include a conventional, submersible water pump connected to simple or decorative nozzles with various aquatic plants.

Whether elaborate or simplistic, water gardens are easy to take care of in that there is little weeding or water involved, while at the same time, these gardens can produce vibrantly colored and fragrant lilies and other aquatic flowers that are enjoyable. Coupled with the relaxation and comfort many tend to find from the sound of moving water, the water garden industry is increasing in popularity.

Above ground water gardens that make efficient use of space are perhaps ideal for those with limited space for landscaping. Many kits can be purchased for constructing such above-ground water gardens from whiskey barrels, or other similar vessel or water containing receptacle. Submersible pumps attached to fountains, decorative nozzles, or spitters are also associated with these whiskey barrel water gardens.

Since whiskey barrels and other similar receptacles are not waterproof, they are provided with liners, such as pool liners or other plastic or rubber liners. Since these receptacles vary both in size and configuration, there remains a need to provide a liner that can accommodate a variety of receptacles. Further, since receptacles such as whiskey barrels are of limited size, there is a need to organize the various desired components or aspects associated with the water garden to maximize the limited space and improve its overall aesthetic appeal. The present invention is directed to meeting these needs.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present invention relates to a liner assembly adapted for use with a portion of a receptacle that has a receptacle bottom and a surrounding receptacle sidewall extending upwardly therefrom to define a receptacle interior. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, this liner assembly has a liner that is formed of a flexible, waterproof material. The liner includes a bottom panel portion and a surrounding liner sidewall portion extending upwardly therefrom to terminate in a liner edge to define a mouth. The liner is sized and adapted to fit in the interior of the receptacle with the bottom panel portion confronting the receptacle bottom and with the liner sidewall portion confronting the receptacle sidewall.

The liner assembly is associated with a plurality of connector elements disposed on a margin of the liner sidewall portion at a location proximate to the edge thereof. The liner assembly is further associated with a stiff yet flexible and resilient band adapted to be secured to the liner by the connector element. The band is sized and adapted to extend around the liner sidewall portion in a spaced apart relation to the bottom panel portion thereby to hold the mouth of the liner in an open condition.

The connector elements associated with the liner assembly may include a first set of loops disposed at spaced locations around the liner sidewall at a first distance from the liner edge. The connector elements may also include a second set of loops disposed at spaced locations around the liner sidewall at a second distance from the liner edge that is different from the first distance. The band may be adjustable in size and further may include a first end portion and an opposite second end portion. A coupling member operated to couple the first and second end portions may be provided such that the first and second end portions may be overlapped to configure the band in a generally annular configuration of a selected diameter.

In the exemplary embodiment, the coupling member includes a clamp that has a head portion with essential opening formed therethrough. The coupling member also includes a pair of spaced apart jaw portions extending from the head portion in opposed relation to one another thereby to form a gap therebetween. The first and second end portions of the band may then overlap one another in the gap and in the central opening as confronting band sections. The coupling member may also be provided with a collar that is adapted to surround the jaw portions of the clamp and operative to compress the jaw portions toward one another thereby to retain the respective diameter of the band.

In addition to disclosing a liner assembly, a water pool assembly that is adapted to hold a selected quantity of water is also illustrated. The water pool assembly includes a barrel section having a barrel bottom wall and a surrounding barrel sidewall extending upwardly therefrom to define a barrel interior. A liner assembly associated with some or all of the aspects described above may be disposed in the barrel interior such that the liner sidewall portion confronts the barrel sidewall while the liner bottom panel portion confronts the barrel bottom.

In addition, if desired, the water pool assembly may be associated with a fountain supported by the barrel sidewall and a recirculating pump that is adapted to be disposed on the bottom panel portion of the liner. The fountain is associated with a hose that is in fluid communication with the pump whereby the pump is operative to pump water through the fountain. The liner may be further associated with a cover piece secured to the bottom panel portion thereof and that is sized and adapted to conceal at least a portion of the pump. As illustrated in the exemplary embodiment, the liner may be provided with a first pair of straps secured to the liner sidewall and adapted to secure the pump hose thereto. A second pair of straps, spaced apart from the firs pair of straps, may also be provided to secure the hose thereto.

The following is a detailed description of the exemplary embodiment of the present invention when taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a water pool assembly according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the water pool assembly shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view in cross-section of the liner assembly taken about lines 3-3 of FIG. 2 shown with a recirculating pump, pump hose, and an electrical cord;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view, partially cut away, of the barrel, liner assembly, recirculating pump, pump hose, and electrical cord;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the band and coupling member according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of the coupling member and the confronting band sections shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the two end portions of the band, the clamp, and the collar of the coupling member;

FIG. 8 is perspective exploded view of the coupling member according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a side view in cross-section of the coupling member;

FIG. 10 is a side view in elevation of the clamp;

FIG. 11 is a side view in elevation of the clamp and confronting band portions received therein; and

FIG. 12 is a side view in elevation of the coupling member shown retaining the confronting band portions at a selected location.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The illustrated embodiment herein relates to waterproof liners useful for lining receptacles for the containment of a selected quantify of water, such as whiskey barrels, which may be used to create decorative water gardens. However, it should be understood that the concepts described herein are applicable to any type of impermeable liner for lining receptacles, pools, ponds, or other container adapted for the containment of liquid, such as water.

With reference, then to FIG. 1, a water pool in the form of a decorative water garden 10 is shown in FIG. 1. Here, water garden 10 includes receptacle 12, in the form of a whiskey barrel, which contains water and aquatic plants such as lily 14 floating on the water surface, cattails 16, and grass 18. The water garden may include real or faux plant life, as desired, and may further include fish or other water gardening accessories such as rocks and decorative pebbles, snails, and the like. As should be appreciated, a whisky barrel, as shown here, is for exemplary purposes only and any suitable receptacle that can accommodate the liner described below, may be used.

With continued reference to FIG. 1 and with additional reference to FIG. 2, barrel 12 includes surrounding barrel sidewall 22 formed by a plurality of wooden barrel staves 13 extending upwardly from bottom wall 21 (also shown in FIG. 4) to terminate in a continuously extending circumferential top edge 24 and defining a barrel interior 26. Liner 42, associated with liner assembly 40, is disposed in the interior 26 of barrel 12 thereby allowing barrel 12 to receive and contain a selected amount of water for the garden.

Fountain 28, shown here in the form of an antique water pump, is releasably secured to top edge 24 of barrel 12 by means of a bracket, which is described in provisional application Ser. No. 60/594,733 filed May 2, 2005 and incorporated herein by reference. Pump 30 includes electrical cord 34 that can be plugged into an electrical outlet. When submerged in barrel 12 and activated, pump 30 pumps water from within barrel 12 and through fountain 28. The water is then dispensed through spout 36, as shown in FIG. 1, and returned back to barrel 12.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, and now with additional reference to FIG. 3, liner assembly 40 is associated with bag-like liner 42, which is formed of a flexible, water-proof material, such as PVC. Liner 42 includes bottom panel portion 44 and a surrounding liner sidewall portion 46 extending upwardly therefrom to terminate in a liner edge 48 to define a mouth communicating with the interior thereof. Liner 42 is sized and adapted to fit in the interior 26 of barrel 12 such that when disposed therein, liner bottom panel portion 44 confronts barrel bottom panel 21 while liner sidewall portion 46 confronts barrel sidewall 22.

With reference to FIGS. 2 through 4, liner assembly 40 may be associated with cover 54 as well as retaining members 56 and 58, shown here as a first and second pair of straps. Cover 54 may be a piece of material disposed on bottom panel portion 44 of the liner in the form of an arch. Cover 54 may be formed of the same material and color as bottom panel portion 44. In this way, pump 30 can be disposed underneath arched cover 54 thereby to conceal a portion thereof from view as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

Retaining members in the form of straps 56 and 58 are disposed on liner sidewall portion 46 and, as shown here, may be formed of two strap members such as first strap member 60 and second strap member 62. Both strap members 60 and 62 may further be provided with matable fasteners, shown here in the form of matable snaps 64 and 66. When joined together, strap members 60 and 62 form a loop sized and adapted to retain both pump hose 32 and electrical cord 34 against sidewall portion 46. Retaining both the hose and electrical cord against the sidewall in this way keeps these aspects of the pump stationary, makes efficient use of the size of the receptacle within which they are placed, and provides a more aesthetic presentation of the water pool.

As should be appreciated, liner assembly 40 may include different aspects or construction that accomplish that of either the cover 54 or straps 56, 58. For example, cover 54 could be a casing in the form of a shell having an appropriate color, that is not secured to the bottom panel portion, but that is simply seated thereon and that is sized and adapted to received the pump therein or thereunder. Further, straps 60 and 62 may vary in number as desired and may be of a loop construction without a need for fasteners. Alternatively, if provided with fasteners, it should be appreciated that any matable fasteners is hereby contemplated including ties, hooks and eyes, and buttons and openings, and the like.

With continued reference to FIGS. 2-4, liner assembly 40 is provided with a plurality of connector elements 50 and 52 disposed on a margin of liner sidewall portion 46 proximate to liner edge 48. Connector elements 50 and 52 are in the form of a first set of loops 50 disposed at spaced location around the liner on the margin at a first distance from liner edge 48, while connector elements 52 are in the form of a second set of loops disposed at spaced locations on the margin at a second distance from liner edge 48, which is greater than the first distance. Connector elements 50 and 52 are adapted to receive band 70 therethrough thereby to secure it to liner sidewall portion 46 to define a mounted state.

Band 70, is a stiff yet flexible and resilient band and is sized and adapted to extend around liner sidewall portion 46 in spaced-apart relation to bottom panel portion 44. Band 70 is of sufficient resiliency such that when in the mounted state, it holds the margin against barrel sidewall 22 when liner assembly 40 is disposed therein and hold the mouth of the liner in an open condition. Either the first set of loops 50 or the second set of loops 52 may be used to secure band 70, the selection of which depends upon the size of receptacle in which the liner assembly is to be placed. Here, band 70 has been fed through the first set of loops 50 to accommodate the size of barrel 12. In the event that a smaller receptacle is used, the second set of loops 52 for the purpose of securing the band.

Band 70 is shown in more detail in FIGS. 5-7. Band 70 may be formed of any suitable material, such as fiberglass, sufficient to hold the margin of the liner against the barrel sidewall as shown and described above. As shown, band 70 is a strip of material of a selected length having a first end portion 72 and an opposite second end portion 74, which can then be shaped into a generally annular configuration of a selected diameter by overlapping the first and second end portions 72 and 74, forming an overlap area 76. The selected diameter of band 70 is retained by coupling member 80.

With continued reference to FIGS. 5-7, coupling member 80 is formed of two components, clamp 82 located on a first end portion 72 of the band and collar 92 located on second end portion 74 of the band. With additional reference to FIGS. 8 and 9, clamp 82 includes head portion 84 having a central opening 83 formed therethrough, and a pair of spaced-apart jaw portions 86. Jaw portions 86 extend longitudinally from head portion 84 in opposed relation to one another forming gap 87 therebetween. Each of jaw portions 86 includes stopper 73 and spaced apart retaining tabs 75 and 77, the aspects of which will be described below.

Collar 92 includes a central collar opening 93 that is sized and adapted to receive head portion 84 of the clamp. Once supported by clamp 82, collar 92 may be moved along the length of jaw portions 86 up to and in confronting relation with stoppers 73. Stoppers 73 retain collar 92 thereon such that collar 92 can not move beyond stoppers 73. Tabs 75 and 77 assist in maintaining collar 92 on clamp 82, but preferably are not of a size or configuration to inhibit the separation of collar 92 from the clamp via the head portion 84.

With this structure in mind, then, and turning now to FIGS. 10-12, jaw portions 86 of clamp 82 are separated a distance d1 when unencumbered by collar 92. When received by clamp 82, first and second end portions 72 and 74 of the band extend through the central opening in head portion 84 and gap 87 as confronting band sections. Due to the resilient nature of the band, the band sections 72 and 74 press against jaw portions 86 separating them a distance d2, which is greater than distance d1. When placed thereon, collar 92 surrounds jaw portions 86 and compresses them toward one another such that the distance between them returns to approximately a distance of d1 thereby retaining coupling member 80 at a selected location of the overlap area of band sections.

Returning now to FIGS. 5-7, then, it may better be appreciated that the diameter of band 70 may vary as desired simply by passing a selected length of end sections 72 and 74 through clamp 82. The selected diameter, then, can be retained by positioning collar 92 so as to surround jaw portions 86.

Accordingly, the embodiment of the present invention has been described with some degree of particularity. It should be appreciated, though, that the scope of the claimed invention is set forth in the following claims such that the exemplary embodiment should not limit the scope of the invention. That is, it should be clearly understood that modifications or changes may be made to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention without departing from the inventive concepts contained herein.