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  • Writer's pictureMark Shepherd

Lakefront Stone Hardscape

An unfinished and steep front yard is transformed into a sturdily-constructed new terrain. Walls were made using existing granite boulders, many of them split in two using drills and wedges.

Here is a project we did a few years ago on Lake Sammamish, and pardon me but I need to get some new photos since it was replanted.

This work is hard to photograph because of its multiple levels but this is the view from the dock on the lake. That foreground area was dug out extra low because we were asked to dig out the horsetail roots. All of the hardscaping you see here was installed by Shepherd Stoneworks including the flagstone paving, the stairs and the walls (the rustic bulkhead wall and the brick was already there).

Upper Patio

Here are some shots from the upper patio area. The flagstone is Pennsylvania Variegated Irregular with the treads done in Pennsylvania Bluestone slabs.

I was pleased with the consistency we achieved in the random patterning and cleanly laid out joint lines. Also the color blend has a nice variegation while maintaining a gentle contrast.

Just out of frame to the right was a nook against the house which was nothing but a dirt hill under the decking. We took some granite rubble and made a rustic but useful seating area with a storage platform above.

The upper patio area was supported by this granite wall made with repurposed boulders onsite.

The stairs are dry-stacked Pennsylvania ledgestone.

Lime-Washed Brick

One very glaring eyesore in the original layout of this yard is this three-tiered brick retaining structure. It had been bare, mottled red brick which the customer was not fond of visually speaking. But it had to be left in place because it supports a very large cedar tree. After considering ways of covering it up I suggested that we try painting it with natural lime paint, aka whitewash, but with coloring added to it. We thought about the color for a long time and decided to imitate the color of the house - an earthy tan. This way the brick blends with the house while also imitating the color of bare ground. Lime wash paint will remain free of mildew and can be easily recoated any time. It's perfect for coating and protecting brick work, for which it has been used for centuries.

Seating Area

Down at the lake level is another patio, this one skirted by a curved granite wall and Penn. Slab Caps. Here we took extra time making the split granite pieces fit together in a pleasing way. It is extremely beefy construction being 16-18" deep front to back and filled with tightly-packed stone pieces which drains extremely well. The paving was built on top of an existing slab but raised about 6". Pains were taken to ensure that flowing ground water can easily pass through and escape into the lake to avoid any erosion damage.

And to make things even more challenging, this whole side of the house is accessed down a 15-step staircase, so all of the material had to be carried in by hand! And 20 cubic yards of dirt carried up the same way (ie. in buckets).

Yes, it was a bear of a project but one that remains a great source of pride.


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