Bluestone & Granite: A New Hardscape on Lake Sammamish

Upper Patio E view – Shepherd Stoneworks

We just completed a rather large project on the South end of Lake Sammamish in Issaquah.

The owners had the house built around 20 years ago but the lakeside landscape had always been mostly an afterthought with just a basic concrete slab and pathway to the dock with a bunch of very rustic granite rubble serving as retaining walls. They had decided to finally make it the way they always dreamed it to be.

After much planning, we decided to use the granite boulders salvaged from the old walls.  We did this by hand splitting most of the rocks using feather & wedge, whereby holes are drilled in a line to accommodate small metal wedges. These wedges are then tapped into the stones little by little until a crack forms – once they are split you end up with two flat faces to use instead of just one.

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-Here is the way it looked before. There was a lack of usable (ie. flat) space the way it was before.  Our new design brought the optimal amount of accessibility for the area we had to work with.

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The granite walls were rebuilt with a tight fit and then capped with Pennsylvania Bluestone slab capping. The stairs were built entirely of Bluestone which is more conducive to building steps effectively. You can see the roughness of the original granite rubble bulkhead which stayed as it was.

Then we paved the two patios also using Penn. Bluestone random flagstone. Those two patios totaled up to around 800 square feet.

Another problem that needed solving: the owner absolutely hated the large brick walls that hold up the hill where the giant cedar tree sits. It was an orange brick with swirls of white and black markings that just visually dominated the landscape when looking from the dock. But the walls are crucial to the survival of the tree and replacing them would be very costly and detrimental to the tree as well.

We helped solved this problem by applying Limewash natural paint which I carefully pigmented to try and match the color of the house and/or take on the natural color of earth. This way, plantings can be used to cover up the walls as much as possible and they can sort of disappear into the background.

There was also an area under the deck which was previously a useless dirt slope.  We terraced it using granite rubble walls enough to make some level surfaces which will make it useful as a storage area.

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The whole project was unusually large in scope, made more so by the 17-step stair we had to bring materials up and down throughout the process. In fact, conveyor belts were used to remove the 20 yards of excavated dirt, a mechanism which ended up only helping a little bit because the incline wasn’t ideal for the machinery.

Nevertheless, we brought it all together in a way I think looks quite good and which blends nicely with the natural surroundings.

by Mark Shepherd   www.ShepherdStoneworks.com

(206) 618-0558

Bringing the finest in Stone Masonry to the Greater Seattle Area.

Natural stone walls, patios, steps and rockery of all sizes.

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