Stone in the Garden

Stone has been used to create buildings, structures and sculpture since the dawn of civilization. Stone is permanent and durable, outlasting any other substance in longevity, ornamentation, and beauty. It seamlessly blends and enhances almost any landscape, adding structure and a timeless “old world charm”.  Historically, mainly locally available stone was used, but at times the stone was shipped long distances. Numerous types of stone for landscape use are available today, varying in suitability and strength. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Which stone is best suited depends on the type of project, architecture of the home or building, the surroundings, as well as your personal preferences and budget.

At Mount Hood Gardens, our own stonemasons have constructed numerous stonework projects in the Mid-Columbia, among them extensive dry-stack and free-standing stone walls, flagstone patios, and stone steps. Please explore the photos below for examples of our work.

FUNCTION AND APPLICATION: Stone in the garden and landscape is used to build retaining and free-standing walls, flagstone patios, stone steps, columns and pillars, water features, benches, planters and sculpture. Stone may be dry-stacked, dry-laid, or joined with mortar. In all cases, good workmanship and a solid foundation are essential, as is selecting durable stone. Stones should be tightly and securely fitted, with each stone set to reveal its individual beauty. Every stone has its own identity. Locally available stone is generally more economical and sustainable. Several types of basalt and flagstone are indigenous to the Mid-Columbia, along with different kinds of river rock and glacial boulders.

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS: From a design standpoint, two or a maximum of three different types of stone should be combined, with one principle signature stone being used throughout the landscape, if at all possible. However, some contrast in texture is important and too many stones of exactly the same shade can blur into an amorphous mass. Stone walls around a patio can serve as sitting walls. Flagstone patios with wider gaps between the stones can be planted with Creeping Thyme or other drought-tolerant ground cover plants. Stone used for walls or patios sets off and enhances any planting, being a delightful and versatile companion to a large variety of plants.

COST: Stone as a building material is initially more costly than concrete or brick, but its permanence and lasting beauty add an enduring element to the landscape. Often even small, refined touches of stone enhance the garden.

Spacious Patio Landscape

The north hillside of this large private residence, located in the foothills of Mt. Hood, required elaborate excavation and drain tile work to accommodate the bi-level patios, and to direct water flow down the slope away from the home.

 BEFORE PHOTOS
(Please click image for an enlarged view)

The lower patio is taking shape, late July. Note the ramp constructed in preparation for stairs to the upper patio.

The lower patio is taking shape, late July. Note the ramp constructed in preparation for stairs to the upper patio.

The hillside prior to construction, late July

The hillside prior to construction, late July

 AFTER PHOTO
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Moss rock terracing walls and Bluestone steps leading to the finished upper patio, early November

Moss rock terracing walls and Bluestone steps leading to the finished upper patio, early November

Owner’s Residence

Marion’s home has experienced a tremendous transformation since she first purchased it in 1990.  See for yourself in the following images.

 BEFORE PHOTO
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The owner's home prior to patio construction and entry addition, mid July. The concrete pad west of the house was transformed into a flagstone patio with surrounding wrought-iron trellis.

The owner’s home prior to patio construction and entry addition, mid July. The concrete pad west of the house was transformed into a flagstone patio with surrounding wrought-iron trellis.

 AFTER PHOTOS
(Please click image for an enlarged view)

View of the remodeled and expanded home, and surrounding stonework in September.  Note the completed west patio and its entrance arch to the left.

View of the remodeled and expanded home, and surrounding stonework in September. Note the completed west patio and its entrance arch to the left.

The west flagstone patio is still going strong, 21 years later, allowing for outdoor dining well into fall

The west flagstone patio is still going strong, 21 years later, allowing for outdoor dining well into fall

 

Natural Landscape with Stone

The area on the east side of this private residence in Mt. Hood, Oregon consisted of a steep slope not favorable to walking or gardening. After construction, the wide, sweeping gravel path interspersed with stone steps flows into a small gathering patio built out of Bluestone. A fabulous view of Mount Hood can be enjoyed from here.

 BEFORE PHOTO
(Please click image for an enlarged view)

The east slope prior to construction, mid June, with Mt. Hood as the backdrop

The east slope prior to construction, mid June, with Mt. Hood as the backdrop 

 AFTER PHOTO
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Three months later, the finished east landscape shines in its new glory, September

Three months later, the finished east landscape shines in its new glory, September

 

Georgiana Smith Park

This public park is located in downtown Hood River, Oregon, and part of the County’s park system. It is flanked by Oak and State Streets, Hood River’s main downtown thoroughfares. For a detailed description and additional photos of Georgiana Smith Park, please visit Public Spaces.

This sturdy moss rock stone wall at Georgiana Smith Park in downtown Hood River retains the slope bordering the north sidewalk and allows for extra seating and relaxing, early July 2008

This sturdy moss rock stone wall at Georgiana Smith Park in downtown Hood River retains the slope bordering the north sidewalk and allows for extra seating and relaxing, early July 2008

Private Residences in Hood River

Over the years Mount Hood Gardens has constructed numerous rock walls all over Hood River.  Following are examples of different stones used to construct sturdy dry stack and sitting walls.

 

A free-standing sitting wall built out of thin, stacked Silver and Gold Mica stone (a quartzite), wraps around part of the curved patio. The mortared cap creates a comfortable seating surface.

A free-standing sitting wall built out of thin, stacked Silver and Gold Mica stone (a quartzite), wraps around part of the curved patio. The mortared cap creates a comfortable seating surface.

 

 BEFORE PHOTO
(Please click image for an enlarged view)

Work has begun at this large, rural property. The graded space is being readied for the swimming pool and patio area, October

Work has begun at this large, rural property. The graded space is being readied for the swimming pool and patio area, October

 AFTER PHOTOS
(Please click image for an enlarged view)

The same portion of the landscape less than two years later, July. Sturdy Montana Bluff Stone walls with custom-made caps flank the entrance to the pool area. The rustic fire pit was finished with cobblestones by the client.

The same portion of the landscape less than two years later, July. Sturdy Montana Bluff Stone walls with custom-made caps flank the entrance to the pool area. The rustic fire pit was finished with cobblestones by the client.

In another part of the same property, flagstone stepping stones set into the lawn create an informal path and direct the eye toward the south patio. The Montana Bluff Stone from the pool areas was repeated in the low retaining wall to the right, July.

In another part of the same property, flagstone stepping stones set into the lawn create an informal path and direct the eye toward the south patio. The Montana Bluff Stone from the pool areas was repeated in the low retaining wall to the right, July. 

This delightful small backyard contains a sunken patio surrounded by a low Camas Basalt Flagstone wall, affording extra seating and an optimum use of space, June.

This delightful small backyard contains a sunken patio surrounded by a low Camas Basalt Flagstone wall, affording extra seating and an optimum use of space, June.

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