Over the years I have learned to generally avoid showing “before & after” photos in my gallery or portfolio. I find that the “before” shots tend to be so unattractive that they kind of contaminate the overall impact of my collection. But even I have to admit, the transformation can sometimes be breathtaking. Therefore I have decided to make an ongoing series of articles displaying some of the better Before & Afters from my past.
This shot was taken when I met my client on Mercer Island to discuss the installation of a patio “and a few other things”. (Those other things ended up being a laundry list of stone features, some small, some Herculean.) Having seen my popular photo of another patio that had a “stone river” within its pattern, he wanted that included. But in addition he wanted an actual river running through the middle with a foot bridge over it.
Mind you, he already had a gargantuan pond and waterfall directly below the proposed site (the river would spill over a granite boulder into the larger water feature). And to make things even more challenging, the only way to get the materials to this site was to build a wooden chute to drop it down, piece by piece, shovel by shovel, into the ravine where it all sits….. off a dump truck parked on an impossibly steep driveway.
Four men and two months later, we had the finished results (this photo is a year after that, with landscaping in place courtesy of Artegos Designs). As you can see, he had me put in a dry-stack stone wall which was made to not only have a curved face, but was also curved to follow the contour of the ground. This is highly unorthodox – you may never see another wall like this again, so enjoy it!
This patio made up about 1/3 of the work on this project. The other large part was placing a 30′-wide “Basalt Column Forest” rockery at the base of his driveway – that’s another story for another day. We also made a stone wishing well, placed several granite boulders, plus the river water feature extended another 30′ up the ravine.
The story of this project is so dense with mind-blowing twists and turns, it is impossible to fit it into a short article like this. But you get the idea: it was a big deal!
Mark Shepherd www.ShepherdStoneworks.com
Bringing the finest in Stone Masonry to the Greater Seattle Area.
Natural stone walls, patios, steps and rockery of all sizes.
Mortared stone veneers, fireplace surrounds, and interiors.
Integrated landscape design and installation.