Thursday, January 1, 2015



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


It has been a LONG time since I've posted.  The last few years I have been rearing a family and a business and am blessed that all are doing well!  So well, in fact, I now have time to post a blog!  Hot damn!

I am in the middle of editing the company website,  This has become my winter project and can not wait till it is finished.  It will be a great sales tool for us.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Klonoski Residence

On this day we started the job for the Klonoskis. This is a big job in an extremely tight space. The property line on the far side is less than six feet from the house and the property line on the near side as approx. two feet from the driver side tires of the truck pictured. Needless to say, the logistics of this job has been challenging from the start. Luckily, the Garden Center is only a couple of miles away where we can stage a lot of the material.

The objective for this project is to provide exterior living space, extend the driveway and create an area for them to turnaround with a car (thankfully, the car is a prius), pergola for parking area, and at the same time, soften all the hardscape with plant material. Hopefully things start to fit together like they did on paper.

You can see from the pictures that the basement doors sit above the existing grade approx. 2.5'. A deck was not an option here so the only choice we had was a retaining wall. Also, the customer has salvaged some brick from a fire place they took out from the inside remodel. We are planning to use that brick for the floor of the patio.

I'm not sure if you are able to see in these pictures, but one of the biggest challenge we have faced so far is the HVAC units sat only a couple of feet from the far basement door. You could not even open the door 90 degrees. So the plan is to move them. However, they can not go any closer to the property line. The plan is to move them farther away and to drop them down the wall.

The before and after pictures for this job will be dramatic.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bailey Residence

This is one of my more interesting projects. I first met the Baileys in the summer of '07 to discuss their needs. What we concluded was that we needed to direct more attention to the landscape because it was not close to its potential. A brief history of this house - this house used to be located in Buckingham County, VA, and was moved to Albemarle County. From what I understand, the house used to be an Inn. This is shown on the "Inn side of the house" where the wood entry doors show carvings of the people who once occupied the rooms while traveling thru. It is one of the more unique homes I have ever been in. Almost everything in the house is original. The Baileys did add an addition when they moved the house which included a kitchen and a bedroom.
It will be a three phased project. Fall '07 (pictures shown) was the side courtyard entrance(leading to the kitchen which is the addition portion of the house) which was somewhat dilapidated. The objective was to give it a fresh new look, maximize living space while being quaint, and keeping to its roots and history of the house.

The foundation of the house is brick which is why I used brick for the borders and the sitting areas. Both brick areas adjacent to the walk are in a herringbone pattern. I wanted the sidewalks to be profound and defined. The choice seemed obvious - bluestone.

All the hard surfaces are dry laid, except for the steps which are mortared for stability.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Natural stone is great material to use as a wall material. There are many ways in how we construct these walls: dry stacked, dry stacked with a wet mortar backing, mortar showing, and veneer.
I am particully fond of the dry stack with the wet mortar backing. The perfectly placed stone has an extremely tight look and with the mortar backing, it is extremely strong. By looking at the front of the wall or column, you can not see the mortar, but you have the piece of mind knowing that there will be no falling over, kicking out, sliding, etc.

With all the different wall options, there is a common denominator with all the walls we construct - the drainage. Every wall we construct is back filled with 57 gravel, and sometimes filter fabric and 4" drain tile is needed. This is done for a couple of reasons - first and for most, it relieves the wall of any hydrostatic pressure that has the potential to build. Second, it prevents any silt from weeping thru the wall and staining. Many of these walls start approx. 6"-10" below the grade and sit on either a gravel or stone dust bedding. What will be used is determined by the finished wall heighth.

In my opinion, natural stone is the finest of all the building materials. But choosing the material is just half the equation. They are a lot like plants, in that the right stone needs to be chosen for the right spot - a poorly laid stone wall is just a pile of rocks.

Walls are one of those few constant elements in the landscape and can add structure that very few things can emulate.