Garden Stone

Garden Stone
Creative Landscaping with Plants and Stone
by Barbara Pleasant
Storey Publishing, 2004

Whether you keep a home garden or have plans for landscaping a place of business, this idea book will provide mounds of inspiration for incorporating stone structures into the environment.

Barbara Pleasant, a garden writer who has won many awards for her books and articles, penned the narratives and how-to instructions for 40 stone projects, which are amply illustrated with photographs by Dency Kane and line drawings by Kathy Kester. Their combined efforts earned the book a Garden Globe Award of Achievement.

"This book includes hundreds of ideas for using stone in your garden," Pleasant explains. "My purpose here is to help gardeners enjoy the magic of working with stone, which is far different from teaching the hard-learned skills of a stonemason or helping you design massive  projects that require heavy equipment, hundreds of man-hours, and thousands of dollars. Rather, I want to help you discover anew realm of creativity in your gardening life in which stone, plants, soil, water, and light interact with your knowledge and your imagination so that your garden evolves into a place of enduring beauty."

While the narrative sections of this book discuss using stone in pathways, water gardens, walls and ornaments, the how-to sidebars -- called "Stone Skills" -- explain the nitty-gritty of stone cutting, installing flexible liners, building pillars, putting up retaining walls, making swales, setting stone steps, creating mosaics and making walkways.

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Garden Stone

Stone Skills: Cobblestone Pads

If you have an unlimited supply of small cobblestones, broken rock pieces, or pretty river stones, consider mortaring them together into stepping-stone-sized pads surrounded by pebble mulch. After preparing the site with landscape fabric and a bed of sand or crushed rock, build two or three wooden forms for the pads. Each form should be the size of one or two pads. Lay them in place and fill them one at a time with 1 to 3 inches of wet mortar. Push your selected stones into the mortar until they are embedded to two-thirds their thickness and the tops are level. Spray lightly with water and wipe up any spilled mortar. Then go on to the next pad, which will give the first one the hour or so it needs to set. You can then gently pry the form from the first pad and use it to frame pad number three. Wait several days before filling in between the pads with gravel, and do not walk on the pads for at least a week. Although mortar appears dry after a few days, it becomes much harder over time.

M. Hofferber Books 
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