Stone Works

My house is built into a slope and I have very few flat areas in the garden. I recently designed, and at this very moment I am having built, a patio at the back of our house just off the porch.  A few years back I had a dry stone retaining wall built off this porch that reaches a height of about 5-6’ feet. The new blue stone patio comes off of this wall at the back of our house facing the view. What I like about the new patio is how it anchors the house. Unlike stone or brick houses,  clapboard houses appear light in the landscape – as if they could float away, but already the blue stone slabs gives the house a solidity it did not have.

Plants are fragile as the spring has shown us, but unlike plants stonework withstands the harsh weather that gets thrown at it.  In fact weather enhances the stone with lichens and mosses, that visually softens and melds it with the landscape it belongs to.

Jeff, the stone mason told me he was bringing about 11 tons of stone into my garden for 3 new projects. Talk about adding a little weight to the garden!

I added a stone walkway at the side of the house too –an area off the Big leaf room. It is an important transition space between the front and back gardens. There was quite a slope walking through a series of 4 hedged borders of Rhamnas ‘Fineline.’ The new 3’ foot walk way is now a sure footed place to walk.

I remember reading the Garden designer, Ellen Biddle Shipman, who after years of designing gardens came to the conclusions that to flatten out and alter the natural movement of land was to rob it of its poetry.  I agree with this statement, however you do need safe places to walk and sit and stone work is a way to achieve this, in moderation.

Before shot: before stone patio added

New Patio- walls unfinished.

Before -grass paths through Rhamnus hedge

After: new stone walkways through hedge

Before- difficult slope to navigate

After: 3′ foot pathway with small retaining wall-view ice house

New large rock steps added to access chicken coop

This entry was posted in Before & After shots, Stonework and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Stone Works

  1. Per Lofving says:

    I think the stonework looks great! It will be interesting to see how the flat hard surfaces contrast with the softer, shapelier plantings as they grow in around the stones. I’ve noticed another benefit of having a patio – it creates a microclimate which helped our containers of herbs begin growing earlier in the spring. We’ve been clipping mint, thyme, and oragano for months now!

  2. Tammy Lingle Davis says:

    Don. I love you new stonework. Very nice blog to keep up with! You’re a long way from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, dude! Looks like life is treating you well……..Tammy

  3. I concur with Tammy. You are very talented. Your house and grounds are gorgeous. What a beautiful setting.

  4. julian says:

    Don, the new stonework looks beautiful. So glad I got to see it in progress. The interaction between the hedge material and stone by your studio is wonderful. Can’t wait to see in person

  5. Lisa Porter says:

    Hi Don. I’m a new follower and am enjoying your photos and writing as well. Wow! You all are troopers with that kind of snow! Your home is beautiful as are your gardens. I’m curious about the tall retaining wall. Quite a beauty!

    • Don Statham says:

      Hi Lisa
      Welcome to Rooting For Ideas.
      Yes the tall drystone retaining wall is 8′ feet tall by 25′ feet long.
      There was a rather ugly 2 car modern garage stuck on the front of the house & when we removed it there was an 8′ foot drop off.
      The wall was the first major project for the garden.
      It created an upper & lower garden. Best Don

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