Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Search Results for: stone bench

Tuesday

27

September 2016

1

COMMENTS

Hope’s How-To: Build a Dry Lay Stone Bench, Part 2

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Hope's how-to: Build your own dry lay stone bench

As you’ve read previously, Wes has completed two dry lay stone bench projects in our yard. In August, he started working on a third, just off our patio, and we’re finally getting around to posting more photos of the whole process. The photo above shows the dry lay bench when the yard-facing end was complete. Wes notes that if you’re building your own dry lay stone bench, it’s important to consider that each layer of the bench should be completed at the same time for structural strength.

dry lay stone bench

This is a photo from our patio vantage point, looking at the completed dry lay bench, just before Wes poured the concrete cap. Wes was very careful to maintain the angle of the bench, taking into consideration which way we want the water to run off the bench (away from our home and patio). During the building of the bench and pouring of the concrete cap, our patio stone was covered to prevent any staining or damage.

dry lay stone bench

In preparation for pouring the concrete cap, Wes utilized some old wire from a sign in substitution for rebar and to reinforce the strength of the concrete cap. We debated whether we actually wanted to pour a cap on this bench, or just leave it as an entirely natural lay, and in the end we opted to pour a cap for a couple of reasons: 1. So the look of our patio would be symmetrical, and 2. A poured concrete cap = extra outdoor seating for entertaining in the summer months!

dry lay stone bench with form

It required a lot of patience to build the form for the concrete. Wes ensured the run off angles were accurate by using a level every step of the way. He also used string to pull in the plexiglass side of the form to create the curved side of the concrete cap. He made several adjustments along the way as setting up the form was tedious work.

dry lay stone bench

As you can see from the photo above, Wes used plexiglass for the one side of the form as we wanted to create a curved side that runs parallel with the natural shape of our patio stone. If you’re planning a project like this on your own property, we’d recommend ensuring that for your concrete cap you use the right ratio of water to cement. Add the water slowly to your mix. After the concrete cap was poured, Wes used a broom to create the brushed effect in the centre of the concrete, and used an edger to create the finished border.

Stay tuned for more pics of the finished product and our patio!

 

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Tuesday

30

August 2016

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Hope’s How-To: Build a Dry Lay Stone Bench

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We’ve had several compliments and questions regarding Wes’s masonry style when it comes to the dry lay stone benches he has been creating in our yard. He’s working on the third bench now to round out the project, and I can’t wait until it’s complete!

dry lay stone bench before

The above photo is before things really got started on the dry lay stone bench. Previously, we had a pile of large stones between the garden and slab stone step off our patio. To get the ground ready, Wes raked and levelled out the earth, and put down some gravel.

dry lay stone bench after

If you’re looking to create a DIY dry lay stone bench of your own, you will want to choose the stones for your bench based on their function in the wall system. In the above photo, you can see how Wes has carefully selected larger anchor stones for around the border of the stone bench, and used smaller, filler stones for the centre of the bench.

my husband cutting stones

Choose a stone according to its density. For example, if your DIY bench requires custom stone cutting, ala the photo above, you’ll want to choose limestone to work with it because it cuts more easily than other rock varieties. As you can see above, Wes is cutting a piece of limestone against a blue metamorphic rock (which is extremely dense and does not break easily).

choose rocks for your stone bench

Wes highly recommends laying stones out so you can see them before you get started with your stone bench project. Having a full view of the rocks available for your DIY will greatly assist you as you compose your stone bench. This practice also allows greater ease in experimenting with which stones will work best for the space in which you’re building.

For more advice and photos on how to build your own dry lay stone bench, check out our other completed DIY stone bench projects here, here, and here.

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Tuesday

16

August 2016

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Dry Lay Stone Bench, Patio Edition, Part 1

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If you’ve been following along, earlier this Spring, Wes built the most beautiful DIY dry lay stone bench by one of the large trees in our yard. You can see the progress here and here, and now, he’s working on another stone bench, this time by our patio.

the beginnings of a dry lay stone bench

When he suggested the idea, I was all for it. Wes and I both love the old European, timeless feel of a dry lay stacked stone bench. There’s something so captivating about the ancient art of dry laying stones. Wes has a real talent in this area, and I can’t wait to show you the finished product.

marking the outline of our dry lay stone bench

Since we already had a pile of stones by the patio, Wes took some time to reconsolidate the collection according to their shape (and use) and prepare the foundation. He kept the larger, more flat rocks on the bottom to support the overall bench (like a float).

selecting stones for the dry lay bench

The art of dry lay stone stacking involves using smaller wedge-shaped (pins) stones to pin up the larger boulders. If you’re planning to try a DIY project like this in your own yard, best practice is to always prep your foundation first (level out dirt, add smaller gravel, pebbles, and then test which stones will work best in the system).

selecting stones for our dry lay bench

A good rule of thumb to remember when building a dry lay stone bench is that every rock or stone has its place. In the photo above, to the right of Wes’s hand, is a long stone called a through. Throughs stabilize the wall by tying the exterior weight to the interior weight of the stone system. (The longer the better.)

dry lay stone bench before the cap is poured

When he’s building a dry lay stone structure, Wes puts emphasis on the positive slope of the stones leaning in to one another towards the centre of the wall (or in this case, bench). This way, the bench or wall is always leaning into itself. Walls created from a dry lay or “drystone” lay have stood for hundreds of years in Europe and are still standing today. You just require the right foundation on which to build.

dry lay stone bench with cement cap

How you complete your DIY dry lay stone wall or bench is personal preference. Because of the location of proximity to the sitting area on our patio, we thought it wise to complete our dry stack stone bench with a cement cap. Bonus: Extra seating when company comes over! If you are planning to pour a concrete cap, be sure to “hoard” materials between the top stones on your wall that are round. This will prevent any concrete from running and will preserve a clean edge for your cap.

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Tuesday

7

June 2016

1

COMMENTS

Dry Lay Stone Bench, Part 2

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dry lay stone bench

It’s been a while since we provided an update on the DIY dry lay stone bench that Wes has been working on. [Side note: Please excuse the weeds; it’s a work in progress, folks!] Last weekend, Wes was able to bring the project even further along, and we’re at a point now where we’ve got to decide how we’ll cap the bench.

dry lay stone bench

Our initial idea was to pour a concrete cap, however after some discussion and observation, — the wildlife in our yard seems to enjoy landing on the stone bench and using it as a favourite vantage point, — we’re actually considering planting some grass or moss on top of our stone bench.

dry lay stone bench

Wes’s methodology behind using an earthy substance is that by growing grass on top, the grass will eventually go to seed and grow a new lawn base around the bench. If we plant moss, it would make an attractive and distinguished cushion for the top of our DIY dry lay stone bench.

dry lay stone bench

We’ve decided that this bench may only be for occasional human use, and more for the natural world to enjoy.

What are your thoughts? We’ve looked at a few European examples, which lend more to our latter idea. Would you cap our stone bench with concrete, grass, or moss?

 

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Monday

18

April 2016

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Dry Lay Stone Bench, Part 1

Written by , Posted in Gardening, Hope's How-To

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apr18_dryrubblelaystonewall2

I’m pretty excited about the latest DIY project at our house: A stone bench. Being married to a master stone mason is a big blessing! This past weekend, Wes started to tackle the large stones we have surrounding one of the trees on our property. They were originally part of a tree well, and now these stones are being used to make a very attractive (and practical) dry lay stone bench (or two).

dry lay stone bench

On Saturday, Wes started the project, and began selecting and striking the stones. Eventually, his dry lay will form a bench, and he’ll pour a cap on the top to create the bench part.

Creating a dry lay formation of any kind — whether it’s a bench, a wall, or even a foundation — requires the mason or enthusiast to constantly keep a cool head and maintain a lot of patience.

This DIY dry lay stone bench project is in the very early stages, and I’ll post further updates as we move ahead. Wes’s plan right now is to create two benches, one that faces east, and one that faces west.

dry lay stone bench

 

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Tuesday

19

September 2017

0

COMMENTS

Hope’s How-To | Dry Lay Stone Border

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Several of you have asked why we haven’t shared any photos of what we’ve been working on in our garden and yard so far this year. Well, friends, it’s been a full summer! Wes and I have both commented to each other several times that we feel that we’ve hardly had any time to be at home this summer and just… be. Anyone else with us?!

How to build a stone border | See our latest garden stone border at hopereflected.com

This past weekend, we were able to enjoy a brief respite from the world and spend some time outside in the garden and yard. Wes was able to get started on the next stone border in our garden, and I must say, it’s looking so beautiful I just had to share some pictures. Check out the “before” photo below.

Our latest garden stone border is on the blog! | See more at hopereflected.com

If you’ve been following along with our blog, you’ve already seen photos of the garden stone border that Wes completed last summer. Well, this summer, between concentrating on our hedge and planting more cedars, we’ve had little time to dedicate to finishing the dry lay stone border on the south side of our garden.

This past weekend, Wes went to work sorting stones and carving out the foundation for our latest dry lay stone border around the garden.

Our latest garden stone border is on the blog! | See more at hopereflected.com

Our latest garden stone border is on the blog! | See more at hopereflected.com

Wes started by cutting back the dirt bank about 10 inches to accommodate for the dry lay stone border. He dug out at an angle so there was positive slope towards the flower bed, which ensures that the stone actually sits into the bed rather than leaning out from the flower bed.

He placed the larger stones after taking a full inventory of the stones he had to work with (see photo above), and went to great lengths to place them evenly throughout the border wall. There was definitely some trial and error involved with creating the dry lay stone border. As Wes noted, the nice thing about this kind of application is that it does not have to be permanent; stones can be adjusted and moved if you get looking at them and feel you don’t that you don’t like the placement. In fact, areas can be entirely dismantled and reassembled to your liking. That’s the beauty of creating a dry lay stone bench or stone border for your garden! Wes says to think of the stones that you already have in your possession as pieces to your puzzle. There will be stones that sit better together; you just have to take the time to find them and to make the pieces work.

Our latest garden stone border. | See more at hopereflected.com

Our latest garden stone border. | See more at hopereflected.com

For us, this latest garden stone border project already makes a beautiful addition to our yard. Our latest border helps balance out the rest of the border around the garden. I love how Wes placed some of the larger stones evenly throughout the first level, and how he was so careful with the colour placement of the stones as well. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Check out more photos of our DIY stone projects, stone garden benches, and stone borders and let us know what you think!

 

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Tuesday

4

October 2016

0

COMMENTS

Garden Stone Border

Written by , Posted in Gardening

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garden stone wall

Our yard has been buzzing with activity this season; I’m thankful to be married to a man who is so gifted. Wes has spent several hours over the spring and summer season complementing our garden with three dry lay stone benches (you can see the stories here).

After the completion of our stone benches, Wes started on our garden stone border. Previously, we had a single row of large rocks edging our flower beds. We thought it would look beautiful to tie in the strength of the dry lay stone benches off the patio, and bring them all around the flower bed, creating a strong stone border to showcase our garden.

garden stone border

After pulling the stones that were originally edging the garden, Wes stationed some stakes at either end of the garden as well as the corner, and strung a line around the perimeter of the flower bed. He also levelled the line so it was even all around. This line acted as a guide as Wes built the border, to provide consistency in both height and straightness.

garden stone wall

Another important thing to keep in mind if you’re looking to create your own garden stone border, is how you disperse the large stones throughout the border. Wes was careful to keep things consistent so that all the large stones were not bunched in one area, but rather dispersed evenly throughout the garden wall. As you can see from the photo above, the start of the garden stone border blends well with the dry lay patio bench, and is about half the height of the bench.

garden stone border

It’s important to keep colour in mind if you’re building a stone garden border (or a stone wall of any kind, for that matter). Sometimes the colour of the stone is more important than the size or shape. Notice in the photos above, how Wes evenly distributed stone colours, size, and shape to achieve a uniform, attractive edge. The photos don’t really do it justice, but this wall is incredibly constructed, and has an even, flat top and straight lines.

garden stone border

Wes did quite a bit of working and re-working to consider where the stones would best fit. Not only is he extremely gifted, but patient as well! The end result is a classic, eye-catching stone garden border that really highlights our flower beds.

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Tuesday

14

March 2017

0

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Outdoor Living | Birds of Winter

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bird feeders

While it’s no secret that Wes and I love birds (you’ll recall that last Spring we welcomed a family of robins to our patio) this winter we’ve had some issues attracting more feathered friends to our yard.

At first we thought maybe it was the feed, then we thought perhaps it could be our timing (we waited until well into December before we set up our winter feeders), and then we discovered it was really just the bird feeder placement.

We’ve got three bird feeders:

  • A tube feeder (metal, enclosed hanging feeder that feeds seed out at ports with perches) which is store-bought,
  • A suet feeder (metal/wood construction with spots to hold two suet cakes),
  • Our favourite is featured in today’s post. A handmade cedar tray feeder which we bought from one of our neighbours (he constructs them as a hobby).

bird feeder

We started our cedar tray bird feeder out on one of our stone benches, but found the only creatures it attracted were squirrels. Last weekend, Wes relocated the tray feeder so it now hangs outside one of our kitchen windows, and after repositioning the bird feeder to eye level, voila! We’ve got birds, people!

Likely a combination of the location of the feeder, as well as its proximity to the fence, our cedars, and our Japanese maple tree, we have a real community of birds visiting our bird feeder once again.

I’ve yet to capture some decent images, so for now you’ll have to enjoy these quick snaps. In the past few days, we’ve enjoyed watching cardinals (both male and female), dark-eyed juncos, slate-coloured juncos (according to our bird book, the slate-coloured junco is a rare variety), as well as house sparrows. (Wes is somewhat concerned with the territorial nature of the house sparrows, as they have been known to extremely aggressive against other birds.)

What birds are frequenting your feeder this winter?

bird feeder

 

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Tuesday

31

January 2017

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Planning Your Spring Garden

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The middle of winter is a great time to get dreaming about your spring garden! Wes and I have already started planning our outdoor projects for the warmer weather, and we are so excited for gardening this year. You may be wondering how to start planning your spring garden, or where to start, so here are some tips to get a head start on planning your outdoor living oasis.

Planning your spring garden doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, quite the opposite! It should be a fun experience; a time to take note of the outdoor projects you want to complete, and narrow down a list of what’s actually realistic for one season.

Tips on planning your spring garden:

1. Take note of the perennials already in your garden. This will help you determine what (if any) new varieties you want to introduce in the spring. Keep in mind that some perennials — such as hostas or peonies — expand and grow year after year. Unless you catch the peonies before they go to seed, expect more peonies this spring (and that’s a beautiful thing)!

planning your spring garden

 

2. Determine what annuals you want to include in your garden. This can be as easy as looking online, browsing local seed catalogues, and figuring out what’s going to work for your outdoor space. Depending on the annual, you’ll want to get your seeds early, and possibly even start them indoors before the thaw. Last year, Wes and I tried our hand at a few different annuals. While our zinnias started out strong, in the end only the bachelor buttons survived. Prepare yourself by getting any potting supplies you’ll need for spring (we like to pot our annuals, as it makes for a portable garden).

planning your spring garden

 

3. Start preparing for any major outdoor projects now. Many people have a misconception that planning your spring garden involves solely plants. Not so! If you’ve got dreams of building an outdoor patio or outdoor living area, get your plans completed now so when the weather breaks you can start strong! Last summer, Wes built a few dry lay stone benches, and also completed a dry lay border around our gardens. We had the supplies in hand long before the outdoor work actually got started.

planning your spring garden

 

4. Cultivate what you already have. It can be tempting when spring rolls around to get all excited about new plants and making changes to your property, and rightfully so! However, keep in mind while planning your spring garden that you need to care for what you have already planted. Cultivating a full and lush garden involves a lot of manual work, and consistent maintenance makes that work a little easier to manage. Did you trim back any perennials in the fall and do a final weed? If not, get ready to weed your garden and trim back any old growth before your plants come out of dormancy.

planning your spring garden

If you’re looking for more tips on how to get planning your spring garden, head over to my Pinterest and check out my Gardening board.

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Tuesday

5

July 2016

0

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5 Inspiring Outdoor Fire Pits to Add to Your Back Yard

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With Summer in full swing, we’re spending as much time outdoors as possible. One thing on the horizon is a fire pit, if ever we can find the time! We’re big fans of natural stone, so planning our fire pit does not involve any kind of pre-fab “kit”. Rather, we’re considering a dry lay, similar to the dry lay stone bench that Wes has been working on. Check out my Outdoor Living board on Pinterest for more fire pit inspiration, and in the meantime, these are 5 amazing fire pits that have really got me feeling inspired!

1. Fire Pit by the water. I’m not a huge fan of pea gravel, but I do love the set up of this fire pit. The sectioned-off area creates definite separation from the grass, and I absolutely love the dry lay of the actual fire pit. Accented with some fantastic colonial red chairs and log side tables, this fire pit is sure to be a spot for making memories.

fire pit

img via Fieldstone Hill Design Darlene Weir

2. Fire pit and bench. Outdoor seating doesn’t always have to be done with chairs, so it makes complete sense that this fire pit has a complementary surround in the same style. Again, I’m not a huge fan of gravel, but in this situation it works.

fire pit

img via indulgy.com

3. Dry lay fire pit. This fire pit is amazing! Check out the intricate details that went into this fire pit. It features some detailed arches and bottom vents to keep air flowing and fire glowing. Absolutely love this set up, and I think it would look great with a flagstone surround.

fire pit

img via Jessica Little House Big Heart

4. Flat and flush fire pit. While I’m more a fan of a fire pit that really stands out, I also appreciate the simplicity of this fire pit, which lays almost flush with the interlocking stone surround. There’s something to be said of this circular set-up, and I especially like that it’s at the end of a walk out with one stone step. Complementary landscaping around finishes the look and adds privacy.

fire pit

img via sunlitspaces.com

5. Built in fire pit. Speaking of privacy, this fire pit is actually built into a stone wall surround with some serious foliage behind. For a property on the road or bordering another home, this set up would be ideal. The stone wall surround means extra seating, and the open front of this fire pit provides plenty of heat.

fire pit

img via Better Homes and Gardens

 

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