Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stone by stone...

Each project we start begins with one stone. It sets the tone for all others that follow in response to it's mathematical proportions and character. Generally I like to start with a good sized stone and build out in enough directions where my crew and I can see where we are going. 

On this project I knew we were building a 6' tall dry stone retaining wall with granite from Idaho and Washington state. As per our engineer we dug down into bedrock 12" to toe in our foundation into the Chuckanut sandstone. 12" of foundation stone which I still had to build up another 9" to the top of our foundation stone! On top of that it was about 3-4' wide for the length of the wall. Aside from all the tonnage and work never to be seen... I knew we would have three sets of 'through stones' in this wall and decided to play with that detail starting with the large stone I craned into place.
Through Stones provide bonding deeper into retaining walls, and transfer laid to the back face of dry stone fences....

In this case...looking down on our wall, you can see our wall stones are about 12" deep on average. Our Through Stones are 30-36" long and overlap the stones in the back of our wall. They are set in modern dry stone retaining wall and dry stone fence construction at 18" in height, and every 36" in length of the wall. This repeats as you build up to what ever height. It is a working stone that every trained and certified dry stone mason will use in their construction. They add decades to the life of structures.

Usually we set these flush to the face of the wall. I wanted this length of wall to have a bit of character very subtly and calmly. 

From here we wrapped around the corner and built a water feature into the wall.

And so stone by stone you see the pattern language revealed with the wall stones, through stones, cap stones, and even the large boulders which have the 'feather and wedge' drill holes left on the faces. The first stone I set was the large boulder below the set of three 'through stones'.

From here we needed to build stairs up to the top of the property for another intimate patio.

This image is to the right of the water feature. The first few steps were hand carved into the boulder. Our outdoor fireplace is mortared Montana Slate with tight joints, and a granite cap. We used a different tone our out door fireplace to set it apart from the other features.

And up we go around the water feature to the upper patio. Staging for this project is complicated, tight, and slow for installation as we work from a platform on top of the pond cutting our stones to fit for the wall above. Room for 2 people max here.

When we started developing this space in the backyard and collaborating with the client, engineers, and plant landscapers we knew we wanted the wall, a water feature, an out door fireplace and BBQ, a small patio, and a main entertaining area. For us at Borrowed Ground, we build unique spaces in natural stone wether it is mortared, or a dry stone structure. Our crew fluctuates a bit from year to year, we travel around the state of Washington(even the islands), work in a wide range of styles, and continually strive to exceed our clients expectations. Not all of our jobs are of this scale. We work the same for each customer creating unique spaces that are fundamentally built to the highest quality of masonry standards, and artistic detail stone by stone.


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