North Asheville Stone Pathways

A front walkway of natural stone in North Asheville

I was in the neighborhood and so got to visit this project from earlier this year. We got to do two different kinds of stone paths: a formal flagstone walkway and an informal stepping stone path. The formal stone pathway leads from the sidewalk to the front door. I prefer the more orderly look in these situations. I feel that the main entrance- the way the guests enter the home- should be more formal and approachable. It is wide and flat and really requires no thought to navigate.

An informal garden walkway of stepping stones

The step stone path on the other hand, winds through the side yard, a garden area. The owners called it the dog entrance, since they primarily used it when they were returning from walking their dogs through the neighborhood. They are really the only people who use it. In this context, I prefer the less formal look. If feels like a garden path, more rustic and private. While these two paths are near each other, it’s clear to anyone approaching which is the right path to follow to enter the house. Or course there are other clues- like hey, there’s a door- but I like that the stonework reinforces that information.

East Asheville Patio Project

A drystone patio surface of Tennessee sandstone installed by Hammerhead Stoneworks.

We recently built this patio at a home in East Asheville, off Riceville Road. There was a step down from the deck onto bare earth area. We built a small retaining wall to hold up the patio, so that it could be flush with the deck.

A drystone patio surface of Tennessee sandstone installed by Hammerhead Stoneworks.

We used Tennessee sandstone for the patio surface. Every batch is different from the last, but this color palette is particularly pleasing to me. I just like the variation and the muted tones.

Two little pond liners and a stone ‘bridge’ make a bigger pond

A drystone patio surface of Tennessee sandstone and a small pond installed by Hammerhead Stoneworks.

The homeowners had a small pond in the backyard. They maintain the pond mostly for wildlife: amphibians that live and breed there as well as creatures that bathe or water there. We worked with the homeowners to expand the pond and integrate it into the overall design. The homeowner bought a second liner and dug it in next to the first. They are positioned and covered with the bridge stone to give the impression that it’s a single body of water, but really there are two little ponds there- just the usual pond liners you can buy at a Lowe’s. Decorative gravel covers the rest of the area, with river rocks around the ponds to keep the gravel from tumbling in. It was a fairly cheap and effective way to get the desired results.

Tiny Patio

A tiny stone patio in North Asheville

This is a small patio we built in front of a North Asheville home. It’s big enough for a couple of chairs and a small table, perfect for morning coffee. It’s in the front yard, but will be sheltered by plantings being done by our friends at BB Barns. The stepping stones lead from the street to the sidewalk, providing some continuity from parking to the front entrance of the home.

North Asheville step stones by Hammerhead Stoneworks

“The Village” Mosaic Patio

A mosaic patio we built for the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County

“The Village” is a mosaic patio we made for the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County. I had occasion to visit it recently after it was vandalized. As it was explained to me, someone had been told there was money hidden inside it, and was taking it apart looking for treasure. There’s no gold in there, I promise. One piece was broken and several were disturbed, but I was able to patch it up okay.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling when my work is vandalized.

A mosaic patio we built for the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County

North Asheville Stone Steps

Hooper’s Creek risers support Pennsylvania stone treads in this North Asheville staircase.

I recently visited an older project, I think from very early 2019. I recall it was crazy cold. The client let us hide out and warm up in their garage. He often made us tea. The project is located in an out-of-the-way corner of North Asheville, off Beaverdam Road, not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway. We built a drystone wall, mortared steps and a dry laid pathway. The wall and step risers are Hooper’s Creek stone. The step treads and pathway were made of Pennsylvania stone, the full range variant.

I used my real camera for this images, but I think I had it on some weird preset, because everything’s a bit fuzzy. Sorry!

I have posted about this project before.

A dry laid path of Pennsylvania full range flagstone

While I was there, the neighborhood bears came through. Momma led the way. This cub sat lazily in the a street, and then flopped over onto his back. He was then tackled by his sibling and they wrestled in the middle of the road. Momma ignored them and kept on walking.

Momma and a cub, who laid down on his back in the middle of the road, only to be tackled by a sibling.

North Asheville Patio

A new patio off Windsor Road in North Asheville

A close up photo of a Pennsylvania patio

We just finished this patio in North Asheville, just off Windsor Road. The patio is made of Pennsylvania stone, including some of the more purple-ish color- a variant we’d never used before. A small wall- unseen in these pictures- of Hooper’s Creek holds up the outside edge of the patio, which overlooks a nearby golf course.

Stone Walkway

A stone walkway leads to the front door of a lovely home in Leicester, NC.

This stone walkway is made up of Hooper’s Creek, a granitic gneiss quarried in nearby Fletcher. The steps are a different material- slabs of gray sandstone from Tennessee. The section of the walkway closest the camera- below the step & boulders- doubles as a parking area. To ensure they would support the weight of a car without shifting, those paving pieces are five to six inches thick. Shaping and leveling pieces that big was a challenging undertaking.

Small Patio

We’ve had a run of smaller projects lately, including this patio in Arden. This was a former client who had moved and wanted a new patio. The stone is Tennessee sandstone, a rather variegated batch of it. You might see a couple of small steel eyelets tucked into the joints. The client likes to rig up inflatables for the holidays. The hooks are installed to help keep the decorations from blowing away!

Tennessee sandstone makes a colorful patio in Arden, NC

Asheville School Medallion Installed

A close up of the stone medallion after installation

It took a long time to fabricate, but the Asheville School medallion finally got finished and installed just before the Fourth of July. It is set in a patio of Pennsylvania stone. Initially that presented some challenges to me in choosing colors. I dark ring of granite surrounds the medallion providing some contrast. The granite is salvaged counter top material. I flip it over so the polished side faces down, which makes it less slippery and safer for walking. I used an ager/color enhancer to darken the stone. When we finish the project I will do some detail work to get the colors more consistent. It’s just so dusty right now.

The light gray surround is gray sandstone from Tennessee, often called Crab Orchard. It’s usually much darker, but I used the grinder to take off the top layer. The exposed grain is much lighter but still has traction for walking. That is a main concern for me when designing pieces like this; it’s a walking surface and can’t be too slick, especially since it will get wet on a rainy day. One little trick I used was to add cut line details, like the scrawled text on the book pages. By dragging the grinder across the surface I implied the written word- and I added texture for extra grip. I am hopeful that several hundred years from now someone will work tirelessly to translate my “text.” I’m curious to know what I was talking about.

The badge is made of Pennsylvania bluestone. The inverted V pattern is made of a marble that I believe comes from Georgia. It’s a material I get from my friends at Tennessee Marble. The braided cord, under the lamp at the top, is made of sandstone.

The Asheville School Medallion set into the patio of Pennsylvania stone

The Asheville School Medallion is aligned with the distant peak of Mount Pisgah

The medallion is the centerpiece of a large circular patio in the midst of a garden on the Asheville School campus. Designed by our friend Mardi Letson of Gardens by Mardi. She has deep ties to the school and this is a real labor of love for her. The patio itself is made of Pennsylvania stone laid dry in a bed of crushed gravel.

This inlay features a bit of pink granite from the chapel at the Asheville School.

This is the cross inlay before it was mortared into place. The red granite is from Sweden. The little square of pink granite os from the chapel on the Asheville School campus. The day I was there to first see the site they showed me the chapel, a sturdy structure of pink and gray granite. As it happened, there was a crew there working on the heating and cooling system. They had used a coring drill to put some holes in the wall of the chapel to run their piping. I was able to find a couple of the cores they had made, 3″ diameter cylinders of pink granite. Of course I snagged all I could find! I cut a small chip off and polished it to put into this inlay.

The Asheville School Medallion is the back of my truck ready leave the shop.

I love pictures of mosaics in the back of my truck.

Stone Mosaics In A Patio

My dog and a mosaic heart

We recently built a small patio of dimensional bluestone adjacent to a newly renovated home in downtown Weaverville. A seating wall wraps two sides of the patio and frames the space. I collaborated with the family on designing four small mosaics to be nestled into the patio itself. The patio is made up of 24″ by 24″ pieces of bluestone (people who work with bluestone will snicker; they are never quite 24″. Or close to square.) I cut six inch squares out of the center of four stones, to lay these mosaics.

These sketches inspired my mosaic designs for this patio

The family developed the concept. Their daughters, ages 4 and 8 led the way. The concepts were Kindness, Honesty, Intention, and Explore. They gave me some drawings and I revised them into forms that I thought could work in stone. Small mosaics can become illegible- and hard to execute- if there’s too much going on. They gave me good ideas and I think the translation works well.

Four small mosaics in process for a patio project in Weaverville.

These are the four designs while I was working on them; they’re not grouted in this picture. I like the bold colors and simple graphic compositions.

A small stone mosaic of a tree’s heartwood installed into an outdoor patio.

This was the design I had the most concerns about going in. It’s their vision of Intention; the heartwood of a tree. I wasn’t sure if it would read, particularly in comparison to the very clear images of things like a heart or the planet Earth. But I love the way the colors work together. The green slate is smooth but not shiny. The tree bark is sandstone from Tennessee, a material we use all the time for patios and walls. I forget the name of the stone I used for the wood grain. It’s remarkably beautiful though, even if I could not find a concentric ring pattern to more closely echo the heartwood. The stone itself is super thin; it is adhered onto ceramic tile.