These two pieces were created for clients in Atlanta, GA. “Coyote” is what I call a garden guardian. It is a freestanding garden sculpture set in concrete below grade. The coyote itself is made of a polished black marble that was inlaid into a slab of Tennessee sandstone. While labor-intensive to produce, the results are worth it.
The dendrite stone screen, or framed picture stone, features a beautiful dendrite pattern in a slab of 2′ by 3′. Despite their appearance, dendrites aren’t actually fossils of a fern or other plant but result from mineral intrusion into the stone.
We designed the frame and had a friend fabricate it for us. The frame secures the stone without requiring any drill holes or epoxy. For installation, the frame is bolted to a subterranean concrete slab.
The patio is what we call big stone paving, and it is one of Hammerhead’s signature styles. It is made of sandstone slabs (also used here) about two inches thick and also connects to a pair of boulders found on the property.
As a preventive measure to protect the look of the patio from grease drippings, we ensured that the grill is set in a small gravel area next to the patio.
The shape of the patio is very free-flowing and truly complements the both the modern design and color scheme of the house.
This path was designed and installed for the entryway of a house of modern design in Alexander, North Carolina. It is 4 feet wide and is comprised of boulders found and selected around the site as well as Tennessee sandstone (also used here and here).
In addition to helping to maintain a comfortable walking rhythm, the steps and landings are spaced to run with the slope. This was essential in order to avoid excessive excavation and/or build up.
Mortared sandstone steps create s stunning entryway to this home in Arden, North Carolina.
Earlier this summer, Hammerhead Stoneworks built a set of formal stone steps leading into a home in Arden, North Carolina. The steps are mortared and utilize a couple of varieties of sandstone to achieve the desired aesthetic. Hidden from sight are several changes we also made to the drainage in the area.
The existing steps were of pressure treated lumber and were rotten through and through. The old steps sat in so much puddled runoff that there were supporting uprights that had wicked water up vertically over two feet. We could squeeze pieces of lumber and water would seep out like a soggy sponge. Stone, subjected to the same abuse would also eventually suffer, so we put in a trench drain immediately next to the steps and reshaped the planting bed to discourage water from accumulating there.
The formal stone steps from above
A stone bench, retaining wall and patio built in Arden North Carolina.
Behind the house we built a small patio with this bench and a short retaining wall to address the general slope of the yard. While the bench uses some concrete and mortar for anchoring, the wall and patio are laid drystone.
Hammerhead Stoneworks offers a stone fire pit design solution for small patio spaces. This past spring I built what I call an Invisible Fire Pit. This is a design solution for a small patio area. A typical stone fire pit can take up a great deal of space. In a small area, this can be problematic, as it limits the amount of outdoor furniture one can use, or make it hard to entertain in the space at times when a fire isn’t desired. The Invisible Fire Pit is built down into the ground, but has a stone cover, so that when not in use, it really isn’t noticed. You can walk right over it with no indication that the space beneath your feet is hollow. Of course, this raises the issue of how to access the fire pit. I had my blacksmith friend Lynda Metcalfe make wrought iron handles. These are drilled through the stone and rest in a small groove I cut into the top of the stone. With the handles recessed in this way, there’s no trip hazard. The stone is still heavy, so it’s best to lift it with a friend! Last weekend the client had us over and my boys roasted marshmallows over the fire with his daughter. It was a great fun and the fire pit will get plenty of use in the coming months, as the nights cool off so perfectly.
This set of stone steps replaced a worn bank that was prone to washing out in a good rain and becoming slippery and messy. And while not a formal entrance to the house, this is the main access for the family. When I build stone steps, I make sure that the rise and run is consistent throughout the staircase.
I’m nearing completion on a stone steps, wall and patio project in downtown Asheville. Living in the mountains, there’s generally a slope in every yard. This patio required a small drystone retaining wall to create a flat enough area for this patio. Two big slabs of Tennessee sandstone are integrated into the wall, allowing easy access for the homeowner and guests coming from the backyard.
I built another short stack of stone steps at the back of the house, allowing access from the driveway to the deck and into the house. With big chunks of stone like this, I am able to get the proper rise and run, so that these steps walk comfortably, just like the steps in your house. Prior to installing these, there was a muddy slope to the deck stairs, and a ten inch step up. More pics coming soon of the flagstone area above the steps finished.
This is the beginning of a set of drystone steps that fall on a very tight radius. This is a new challenge and one I’m truly enjoying. When completed it’ll be a set of eight steps that lead to a patio that I’ve nearly completed.
Here’s another view of the tight radius, from the inside. Not quite a spiral staircase, but still tight and fairly detailed in terms of structure and placement. Unlike a spiral staircase though, there’s ample room to land a foot on each tread, an important aspect for a heavily used set of steps.
This is the sketch I made to help guide me through the layout, so that I hit the top of the block wall in the proper alignment. I spent a couple of hours moving pixel-stones around on the screen, trying different configurations to get the right arc. So far, reality is lining up with the design quite nicely.
I’ve recently started a new project in West Asheville, building a drystone patio under the deck of a new green-built home. In this image sunlight filters through the decking. I’m using a sandstone, presumably from Tennessee. I’ve switched suppliers recently and am pleased with the colors and durability of the stone.