Photo by Michele Lee Willson, courtesy Sunset Books from Patio & Stone, p. 189
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I don’t know about you, but I see a photo like the one above, and I just want to get busy! I want to figure out what they used and see how I can somehow incorporate even a smidgeon of the beauty into my garden even if it’s a humble rendition. I do. I mean, look at this! The boxwood. The fountain. The walls! The wall beyond! The doors! Where did they get those doors?? And then to have the brilliant creativity to add the lumber on the top. I mean, it’s orgasmic. Really.
Can you tell I’m into hardscape?
The truth is I haven’t done a whole lot of work with hardscape but it doesn’t diminish my passion. I did one flagstone walkway to the rose arbor; one large brick sidewalk to my guest cabin on my old four acre property; and one mini-sidewalk, that barely counts. But I am fascinated, nevertheless. So this post gave me the perfect excuse to examine hardscape more closely. I headed out for Nickel Creek Nursery, as owner Dawn excels at this sort of thing. Sure enough, look at this.
Tumbled flagstone. It looks so doable, right? It is. It’s heavy, no doubt. But what a great way to build summer muscle! If I can do it, you can, too. It’s actually very fun to fit the pieces together like a puzzle, and then to fill in the spaces in between with tiny rocks or something low to the ground. In the area I built to the rose arbor there is a hodgepodge growing of violets, some teeny succulent and a blue star creeper. I do have to weed out invaders, but it’s not that hard and I enjoy it so much. It’s a precious corner that I dearly cherish.
Poking around Nickel Creek a bit more I found this lovely used brick walkway that runs around one side of the nursery. I look at this and say, “I can do this.” How about you?
One thing I learned living in Arizona was to consider using large rocks in my landscapes. Dawn has these wonderful basilite stones she gets from East Washington state. I think they would add so much to a creative project, don’t you? And I love how she offers up a plate of river rocks for you to consider for your building palette! Yes, thank you. I’ll take a big bunch. (How do you order rocks? By the pound??)
Worse. How do you order big rocks? By the flatbed?
Clearly out of my element, I came home and turned for some good practical advice from Sunset Books’ brand new Patio & Stone: A Sunset Design Guide by Tom Wilhite and the experienced Sunset editors (published March 2009). It is rich with both photos and details to take you from start to finish. And now is the perfect time to be planning this sort of project with our weather patterns finally shifting allowing out of door time in our beloved gardens. Look at this inviting spot featured on the cover. How luxurious. A cup of tea? A nice book in the morning sun, enjoying the chirping of neighborhood birds and the buzzing of bees? How relaxing. This is the way to live.
Patio & Stone is thorough and well organized. It examines many materials you might consider using then turns to the likely projects at hand: patios, paths and steps, walls and raised beds, boulders, water features, and entryways, side yards and driveways. That about covers most of the possibilities, right? There is clearly something for every gardener aspiring to create a destination garden. The 400 beautiful photos alone make this book a valued addition to your library. Patio & Stone is the kind of book you will pour over again and again for years to come, I guarantee you, kindling your inspiration and imagination to create something wonderful and new. Enjoy, dear readers!
Love and gardening blessings,
Posted on April 18th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Book Notes