New Granite Wall

by philinshelton on March 28, 2009

in How To,Landscape projects

Last week, Outdoors By Design worked on the removal of an overgrown water feature, the installation of a granite retaining wall, and prep work for a concrete paver patio.  In this article, read about how we did it, and see some before and after images of the project.


Before we start

Friend and business partner Travis Meyer is the hardscape whiz-kid of our company (abut 20 years younger, so he's a kid to me).  Not only is he a highly skilled equipment operator, Travis has a genius for interpreting design and making adjustments on-the-fly to accommodate the unexpected obstacles encountered on nearly every job.  For this job, the challenge was to reduce the wall size in order to stay within our client's installation budget.  This meant moving the wall forward over 10' (down the hillside) and changing the shape of the patio and beds to fit the new space, while retaining the overall form and integrity of the design.

The Granite Wall

Granite wall

Granite wall

For retaining walls, Travis uses stone from the Columbia Granite Quarry.  Beautiful and much more durable than other local stone, Columbia granite is also the stone of choice for building jetties, and was used to repair flood damage in Mt. Rainier National Park.  At sunrise, Travis is headed up the logging road to the quarry, where he hand picks suitable stones by size and shape.  Then it's back to the job site, where he cuts and shapes the hillside to accommodate the main patio area, before the stone arrives.  With an excavator, he expertly sets the stone to match the crown and slope of the bank, leaving a 4' opening for steps that will lead up to a small, flagstone sitting area.

The Patio

Patio prep

Patio prep

Next, Travis lays out the the shape and size of the patio, and uses a laser level to set the forms level from side to side, and slightly sloping away from the wall.  Pictured right, Travis uses a gas powered compactor to compact the gravel before adding the thin layer of sand that the pavers will be set in.  Notice Leslie in the background, planting a Fargesia robusta! Next week, I'll blog about the progress of the patio and plantings, and post images of the final results.

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