This challenging project involved making something really impressive out of some very unremarkable stone…
The client asked for a high retaining wall in their new garden space. It was to be 2.5m tall at the highest point and run 8m away from the house before splitting into three smaller terraces. In the middle of the high wall we had to incorporate an old stone trough measuring 2m long by 0.8m wide, and this had to be connected up to a natural water supply. As the trough was going to be recessed in the middle of the wall – half-in/half-out – an arch or some such would need to span the hole. The original plan was to span the gap with some old stone lintels, but after some discussion we all decided that a dry stone arch would be great.
In all we used about 85 tonnes of stone for the job. This was an eclectic mix of red sandstone and grey whinstone, all collected by a local farmer from his fields. I have never worked with such a different mix of stone, but I always like a challenge! As it turned out the mix of red and grey was pretty good. The client – who is an artist – was keen for the colours and contrasts in shape and styles of stones.
The arch also became part of the contrast. With its very formal, dressed stone outer and more random inner, the stonework here provides a focal point to the garden. The water flowing through the back of the wall into the trough makes a lovely sound.
Phase II due for the Spring of 2013 will see a new patio put down with a rill taking the water from the trough right across the garden.