Sunflower Mosaic for Frankie

Frankie on her sunflower mosaic patio

Frankie on her sunflower mosaic patio

This mosaic patio was created for my friend Carmen. She needed something to cover the muddy space just outside the doggy door that leads off her porch. Frankie, the puppy in the picture, is an enthusiastic digger and was tracking in altogether too much mud. I had wanted to try a sunflower design in stone and this seemed like a good opportunity.
Sunflower mosaic made of natural stone

Sunflower mosaic made of natural stone

The seeds are Mexican beach pebbles anchored in concrete. I cast that piece in an retired plastic flower pot. The rest of the stone is laid dry on a bed of crushed stone and sand. The background is Pennsylvania stone and the flower petals are sandstone from Tennessee. I might simplify the design if I were to revisit it. There’s a slight “S” curve on the petals that required more time for cutting and shaping than a straighter line might have, though if it were bigger, that curve would be easier to cut.

North Asheville Stone Patio and Steps

dry stone wall and steps

A drystone retaining wall supports a set of carefully stacked steps. This is an overview of a recent Hammerhead Stoneworks project in North Asheville.

This is a recent Hammerhead project, a patio and wall combination to create a exterior space at a home in North Asheville. We used sandstone from Tennessee, one of our favorite stones for tight walls and flat floors.

A favorite detail of this project is the set of steps that emerge from the face of the wall. It’s all dry laid- no concrete or mortar. The design offsets two walls, providing support for the steps. This creates the effect of a single wall that is pulled apart to reveal the steps. I love the look and like how sturdy they are.

stone step emerge from dry laid wall

This is a close up of how the steps emerge from the dry stone wall. Super sturdy, clean lines- how Hammerhead rolls…

Dry stone wall detail

Detail of a section of drystone wall built by Jonathan. Part of a patio/wall project in North Asheville.

Stone cut for downspout.

Detail showing where the downspout plunges through the patio surface. There’s a marble we found on site tucked on the right side there.

Faerie Garden At Dusk: photos by Amelia Fletcher

Here are a few more images from the Faerie Garden in Fairview, North Carolina. These images were taken one evening by Amelia Fletcher. Thanks Amelia for sharing the images with us!

Detail of an illuminated glass insulator in a niche in a drystone wall

Detail of an illuminated glass insulator in a niche in our drystone wall. Photograph by Amelia Fletcher

Drystone wall

The Faerie Garden is a drystone wall with several niches for glass insulators. It’s in Fairview, North Carolina. Photograph by Amelia Fletcher

Stone terraces

A full view of the terraces leading up to the Faerie Garden. Hammerhead built the bottom and top walls in this photograph by Amelia Fletcher.

This image shows the whole hillside. We built the bottom wall and the top wall, where the Faerie Garden itself really resides. In this image you can see the little table on the top level. The many terraces between were already there and are mortared walls of Hooper’s Creek- a big reason why we used that same stone ourselves.

Black Mountain Patio

We just finished transforming this Black Mountain backyard from a ragged old deck with drainage issues into a dynamic living space with a fire table. Over the course of the last year we have been using larger and larger slabs of flagstone, but keeping our very tight tolerances for the joints. The results are more like a floor in terms of level and walking comfort than the typical concept of a patio, which is often as much filler as stone. All of the work here is drystone, except for the fire table, which has some refractory mortar in the fire brick for stability. I’ll post about that when I have some good images of it in use.

Getting started on a large patio.

Getting started on transforming this backyard in Black Mountain.

Big flagstones in a patio in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

A panorama from above the Black Mountain patio, from above

Black Mountain patio completed

We transformed this Black Mountain backyard with a patio and fire pit. Many of the flagstones are huge and all the work is laid dry.

A large patio is supported by a tightly fitted retaining wall.

This crib wall supports a large patio in Black Mountain.

Pebble mounted into a larger stone.

A pebble mounted into the face of a small boulder.

Recent project: Fire pit with boulders and a big patio

Panorama of a recently built patio and fire pit.

Lacey the lab puppy is concerned with my high vantage point as I take this panorama of a recently built patio and fire pit.

We recently completed this large patio and fire pit project in Atlanta. We built the whole patio here in Asheville and then created a detailed map of how the stones went together, before loading it on pallets and freighting it to the job site. It took us two and a half days to fix a slack grading job, reassemble the patio and build the fire pit. They were long days of hard work and great fun. The hosting house had a pool table, which was a nice bonus. This was very much an experiment, but I feel like it worked so well and we learned so much, that we can start offering our particular styles of flagstone patios to areas outside of Asheville.

Stacked wall fire pit with boulders

Stacked wall fire pit with boulders

A backyard fire pit with walls stacked around boulders.

A backyard fire pit with walls stacked around boulders.

Building the fire pit

Building the fire pit

Weaverville Nature Park Stonework

Drystone wall and path in Weaverville.

We built this wall and sidewalk in Weaverville at the Downtown Nature Park.

Hammerhead Stoneworks recently completed this wall and sidewalk for the Town of Weaverville’s Downtown Nature Park. My boys and I take frequent walks there looking for bugs and snakes and tree frogs, so this was an exciting opportunity to make public work that I’ll get to enjoy.

The wall is a two sided, free-standing structure. Except for the seating cap, which is mortared in place, the wall is all drystone. It’s a very labor intensive approach to building a retaining wall, but I know well how kids will run and jump and scramble along the wall. We wanted to make the most durable and sturdiest product we could. I think it’s pretty too.

Drystone wall and path in Weaverville, North Carolina.

We built this wall and sidewalk in Weaverville at the Downtown Nature Park.

Drystone wall and path in Weaverville, North Carolina.

Drystone wall and path in Weaverville, North Carolina.

The pathway is also laid dry, over crushed stone. We used very large pieces, to give visual impact and to make the surface very, very stable. We used a wide variety of stone types, to give it different colors, patterns and textures. All the stone is sedimentary, which generally makes good walking surfaces.

Van accessible parking area with a drystone sidewalk.

The stone sidewalk fades down to the same level as the asphalt, creating an accessible parking area at the Downtown Nature Park in Weaverville, North Carolina.

The stone sidewalk fades down to the same level as the asphalt, creating an accessible parking area at one end of the new parking area. I like the abstract shape formed by the stone against the asphalt. That last section is a parking area for a van that can just pull up parallel to the stone sidewalk.

Seating wall

Stone sitting wall built in Weaverville by Hammerhead Stoneworks.

Haw Creek Wall

Haw Creek Wall

Granitic gneiss quarried in Fletcher, North Carolina is used to make a sturdy and beautiful drystone retaining wall in Asheville.

Materials used for the Haw Creek Wall

The Haw Creek Wall, as we call it, is a drystone retaining wall in the Haw Creek neighborhood, in the eastern parts of Asheville, North Carolina. We’re using Hooper’s Creek, a granitic gneiss quarried in Fletcher, NC as our primary building stone. It has all the toughness of granite, but it also possesses an unruly grain. It is hard, sharp, and tough to work, and it makes the sturdiest and most beautiful walls.

Haw Creek Wall

Looking down a drystone wall we’re building in Haw Creek.

 

Read more about Retaining Walls.

Stone Sidewalk

Process shot of a stone sidewalk being installed in Weaverville, North Carolina.

Process shot of a stone sidewalk being installed in Weaverville, North Carolina.

The crew has been working diligently on this stone sidewalk at the Main Street Nature Park in Weaverville, North Carolina. The sidewalk is five feet wide and has a two percent grade from the wall to the parking area, which will someday be paved with asphalt. The stone is almost all sandstone from Tennessee, sometimes referred to Crab Orchard. I like the mixture of colors and textures.

Invisible Fire Pit

An invisible fire pit with its cover in place.

A thick stone lid covers an invisible fire pit installed in a drystone patio.

We’re creating an outdoor space for a family in Montford. Part of the design is an invisible fire pit, a technique we developed as a way to save patio space. We use fire brick to create the place to burn below grade. We don’t go too deep, so the fire is able to draw air from above. If it was too deep the fire would starve for oxygen. The lid is quite thick and heavy enough that we decided to cut it into three pieces, making it much more manageable. 99% of the time, it’s just a patio, but when you want to have a fire, you open the lid (handles provided) and enjoy the ambiance.

Invisible fire pit installed in a patio.

Invisible fire pit installed in patio, with the cover off.