To The Gazebo We Go!

Over the river and through the woods to the gazebo we go! 

This past year we had a client who had recently cleared out an old house from their property and were left with lots and lots of space. Though they enjoyed their expansive backyard, they realized the space was a little too… spacious. It was time to fill their empty lot with some life! That’s when we got the call. 

The client’s dream was a secluded garden surrounded by trees and traversed by stone pathways and large rock walls. At the center of the garden would be a beautiful large gazebo, somewhere to relax and enjoy the enchanting sounds and sights of nature. It was an inspiring vision we were excited to help execute.

Here we are clearing out the lot and preparing it for all the work we were going to do. As you can see, it was a big project!
This picture shows how large the lot was. You can also see the challenges posed by the grade. The incline was where they wanted to build the stone wall to create structure and outline the curve of the hill. The black circle would be the location of their future charming gazebo.

To start, we first had to figure out what we were dealing with. We discovered the yard was near a stream which meant the soil was very wet and soggy. Because of the muddy ground, we had to bring in lots of dirt and stone. Then, we used the jumping jack compactor… a LOT. 

Usually these types of compactors are used for small spaces (like an area against the foundation of a house) but we wanted to ensure this soil would be very compact for all the large stones and equipment we were bringing in. No one wants a sinking gazebo! For this reason, we decided to use the jumping jack on the whole yard. It was very time consuming but in the end it was worth it. 

This image shows the structuring of the stone wall we built as the outer circle of the garden. It would act as a retaining wall and visual outline of the yard.
In this picture you can once again see how big the space was. You can also see the nearly finished wall composed of flat, medium sized rocks.
After adding tons of gravel, it was time to move on to the big stuff. 
We brought in the massive stones to help visually punctuate the hillside and create a cohesion with the stone surrounding the gazebo. Here is Jorge guiding one of the 1+ ton boulders into place.
Placing all the giant boulders was also a time consuming process. Luckily our team had the help of a Takeuchi Excavator to lift everything. Once it was complete, we had to test them of course! It’s funny how giant rocks beckon to people of all ages. Why are they so fun to climb on? They are basically nature’s playground. We love them. 
During our construction, the new gazebo was delivered and placed like the centerpiece of a beautifully decorated table. The vision was finally starting to come together!
Next, we added truckloads of Complete Landscape Mix, an organic, PH neutral compost with Permatil. We spread it out throughout the space to cover up the mud and give the yard a natural, clean look.
Nearing the end, our next job was to create the stone pathway that would become the inner circle of the space, a walkway guiding the client through the garden and around the gazebo. After measuring and clearing a path, we used the jumping jack to compact the soil and then added gravel. Then, we used the jumping jack again before adding more stone.
We used 89 stone, a finer pea-sized stone used in projects like this for coverage. Finally, we compacted everything with a plate compactor and brought in the flagstone.

Side note: People often think that you can just put flagstone in the ground and it won’t move. Unfortunately, this is not true. If you don’t want to use concrete, the best way to get this flat, stone path look is to follow the process I mentioned above. Here it is again: 

  1. Compact as much as possible
  2. Add gravel
  3. Compact again
  4. Add 89 stone
  5. Compact again
  6. Place your flagstone

Here is the final product! The stone wall, stone pathway, and large boulders create cohesion and give balance to the client’s yard. They all serve as function as well as visual appeal. The stonework frames the gazebo and the surrounding garden, drawing the eye to the center of the space.
In this image you can see the details of the stone walkway. The flagstone is embedded in the ground, creating a flat, clear path. 
Here is another view of the finished project. Don’t those boulders make you want to go climb some rocks?
This client is doing most of the planting themselves. We have a lot of clients who are similar in that they enjoy the challenge and expression of planting but just need some help getting there. We love to see it!
One final view of the project. Can’t wait to see how it all looks in a few years with more planting and when everything has grown in a little more! I will be sure to share some updates as they come. This gazebo oasis is one for the books!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of gardening and stonework tips from our blog. You may unsubscribe at any time and we will not add you to any other mailing list.