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A review of 2012 – part 1

2012 has been a busy year for Stone Inspired.

We have been lucky to have worked with many wonderful clients who have involved us in their garden projects.  Of the 20 jobs we were involved in, 18 were for private clients, and the only exception being the small bit of stonework we built for the Macmillan Cancer showgarden at Gardening in Scotland; and the Jubilee bench for Clackmannanshire Council.

Private clients are key to our business, and I look forward to working with more clients in 2013.

Here are the jobs that filled the first half of my year.

January 2012

Dry stone retaining wall and steps

Retaining wall and steps and mud

Larkhall – steps and retaining walls

Thankfully the snow stayed away for most of the winter 2011/2012.  Unfortunately the mud didn’t!  We worked on phase I of this job in Larkhall, building the first set of two steps and retaining walls.  We came back in the Summer to complete the job – see part 2 of the Review of 2012.

February 2012

Dry stone bench

Dry stone bench and retaining walls

Musselburgh – bench and retaining walls

The centre-piece of this job was the curved bench in the middle of the retaining walls.  The clients were very involved in the design and build, moving all of the stone for me and keeping me in coffee.

Dry stone seating area and fire pit

Dry stone seating area and fire pit

Scottish Borders

A seating area made from local whinstone in the Scottish Borders.  We were using a quite random and very hard stone which made building the cheek-ends and curves a bit more of a challenge!  We built our first fire-pit on this job too.

Thanks to Steve Robison for laying the paving.

March 2012

Dry stone wall

Wall rebuild

Carlops – repair and rebuild

A repair and rebuild job in Carlops south of Edinburgh. This was a prelude to a bigger job for the same client. I became pretty familiar with the random whinstone as I ended up using a lot of it this year!

Carlops - mortared wall repair

Mortared wall repair

Carlops – mortared wall repair

Whilst working for the neighbour above, we were asked to repair the wall next door! So, we jumped over the wall we’d just repaired, and took down and rebuilt this old mortared wall.

Low retaining wall rebuild

Repair and rebuild

Edinburgh – low wall repair and rebuild
This pleasant little job involved taking down and rebuilding two low retaining walls in this Edinburgh garden. The stone was limited in supply, and so I asked the client to ask her neighbours for more stone. She produced about another two tonnes! It’s amazing what you can find in other people’s gardens.

Free-standing dry stone wall

Boundary wall

Fife – Boundary wall
This job saw some amazingly hot weather – it was the end of March and I spent most of the first week on the job in my shorts and t-shirt – we had a very unseasonal heatwave. On 3rd April, the weather got back to normal – it snowed!

April 2012

Dry stone bench

Dry stone bench

Alva Glen – Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Bench.
We were commissioned by Clackmannanshire Council and the Alva Glen Heritage Trust to build this dry stone bench as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. This was an interesting project as I don’t tend to build works that are accessible to the public. We were specifically requested to make sure that the bench was vandal-proof, and that required the use of mortar to secure the copes. I don’t like using mortar, or as I call it, the Devil’s cream. More disappointing though was the planned royal opening didn’t happen in the end. Oh, well, maybe next time.

May 2012

Dry stone raised bed

Dry stone raised bed

Livingston – dry stone raised bed
Another small job, this time building two crescent shaped raised beds.

Carlops - retaining walls and steps

Retaining walls and steps

Carlops – dry stone retaining walls and steps
We returned to Carlops to put in place this tall retaining wall as part of the client’s plan to build an extension to his house. He needed a huge chunk of his garden dug out, leaving a large steep slope that had to be retained. In all the two retaining walls stood 2.5m tall. A staircase was required and we put in a bench too. All built with more of that difficult whinstone!

Gardening Scotland

Gardening Scotland

Gardening Scotland
We worked on a show-garden at Gardening Scotland for the first time. We were asked by Jayne Whitehead of Ivy Maud Design to build a wee bit of stonework on her Macmillan Cancer garden. Although we were a bit disappointed not to win a gold medal, we did win a silver gilt, and I personally found it an interesting process.

8 Responses

  1. I so enjoy looking at your beautiful work. My husband and I constructed a set of dry stacked stone retaining walls in our garden two years ago and appreciate the skill it takes to do such work. Have also used the “devil’s cream” LOL to surface a block retaining wall with stone. This felt very akin to mosaicing to me, but far harder work to chip stones to fit the puzzle than it is to work with ceramic tiles. Gonna stick with ceramics and enjoy your efforts with God’s materials. Looking forward to seeing your projects in the New Year. God bless!

  2. Jason Hoffman

    Thanks Julie. The beauty of the medium is that every job is different and you learn with each job. It’s all a big learning curve.

  3. I am continually impressed with your work. I live in upstate New York and we just don’t have the beautiful retaining and garden walls you build around here. I have stone walls bordering my property that are all sloppy and falling down. I downloaded the guide you posted and have been inspired to try and rebuild my walls….next year. Really really beautiful work Jason. Thanks so much for sharing! Happy Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    1. Jason Hoffman

      Hi Renee, I can put you in touch some American or Canadian wallers who either run courses or can do the work for you. I have a friend in Rochester who is a great waller if you need one.

  4. Dear Jason – i really like your work. It is beautiful, free flowing, natural and very skilled. We sadly don’t have many people with these skills in Deutschland anymore.

    I think you could work anywhere in the world, like an artist turning blank stone into something timeless.

    Many congratulations on a great year and such lovely projects – your clientele must be very pleased to have you!

    All the best for 2013


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