In the autumn of 2014, Hammerhead Stoneworks collaborated with garden designer Mardi Letson of Gardens by Mardi to create the Faerie Garden. Commissioned by a couple in Fairview North Carolina, the garden is meant to be a special place for their grandchildren to explore and play when they come to visit.
The location they selected already included several small terrace walls, mortared of a local gneiss. Our scope of work included removing and replacing the lowest of these, which was falling apart, and building a new wall at the top, where the Faerie Garden would be. The walls we built are all drystone of a matching gneiss called Hooper’s Creek. We also added a set of trail-grade steps that lead to the Faerie Garden and a Toadstool Table in the garden’s center.
The stone Toadstool Table is a bit of whimsy, but is solidly built. The river rock support is anchored into concrete and has rebar pins that reach into the circular sandstone cap. Colorful marbles are mounted into the edge and sparkle in the sunshine.
The homeowners had a collection of antique glass insulators from old electric poles scattered around their property. We suggested using these in the walls. We built six niches to contain the more colorful of these beautiful pieces of glass. As good designs tend to do, the idea evolved as we worked; we installed electrical conduit in the wall such that the insulators could be illuminated at night cool LED fixtures.
Thank you to photographer Ameila Fletcher for sharing her nighttime images of the garden with us.
Bits of whimsy and telling details are found throughout the project, in our stonework and Mardi’s personal details. It was an ideal collaboration between the designer (who is also the gardener), the homeowners and the stone workers. Everybody brought ideas and excitement to the table. And in this case, even brought a table…