Using Barn Foundation Stone in the Landscape

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Earlier in July, we visited Malabar Farms in Lucas, Ohio. The farm’s claim to fame is the home of Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize winner author and the location of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall’s wedding.  Besides these notable characteristics, Bromfield and Malabar are notable for pioneering sustainable agriculture practices.  The farm is now a State Park, with miles of trails, house tours and open barns. With two kids, we skipped the 45 minute house tour and spent the afternoon touring around the barns and ponds.

Using Barn Foundation Stone in the Landscape, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

A barn stone retaining wall at Malabar Farms shows the softness created from the hand scraping marks from sandstone blocks. The upper right hand corner shows a newer stone placed along the wall and the contrast in the stone’s surface. 

 

The house was built in 1939 (or really the expansion of an existing house), and the landscape surrounding the home and barns include old barn stone retaining walls.   Prior to the early 1900s, all barn foundations where built using local stone, which here in Ohio is often sandstone.  What make these older barn stones unique compared to stone quarried today, are the hand scraping marks.  The dimpling lines of the scrapes give a human touch to the rock which makes the hard stone seem softer.  Also these stones are often in large blocks, which allow the stones to provide scale in larger gardens.

 

To locate barn stone in your area, look for reclaim companies selling the beams from torn down barns. The wood is highly sought after now, but the large heavy stones are at less of demand. You can also check with local stone yards or even Craigslist searches could return results. This of course is easy for us in the Midwest where the country is dotted with old barns, but you can incorporate any stone in the exact same manner as shown below.

 

Using Barn Foundation Stone in the Landscape, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

SEATING AREAS: Using the reclaimed stones as bench seating area in the garden. The rounded smooth edges and cool surface are great stone surface for sitting and lingering in the garden. Also the thickness makes it great for a seating height, compared to creating something out of ledge stone or bricks which would be busier visually.  

Image via Spirit Level Designs, Longueville Project HEREThey also have great use of larger stone as a seating area in their Darling Point Project. 

 

 

Using Barn Foundation Stone in the Landscape, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

RETAINING WALLS:   I have seen retaining walls shift over time, but with these large of stones there is very little chance the earth will push these over time. Also it goes back to scale again, you have larger chunks of block compared to smaller stone which create a heavier and grander appearance.  This photo is of a retaining wall at Malabar Farms. 

 

Using Barn Foundation Stone in the Landscape, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 DIVING PLATFORM:  I found this image via Pinterest and think using a found stone, or barn stone as a diving area or incorporated natural element to the smooth, smooth square pool ingenious. Here it plays off the stone wall in the background, incorporating the pool to the surrounding landscape.

Image from Lonny.com HERE. The project completed by Alexandra Champalimaud, the Oliver Wolcott Residence (more photos of entire project HERE)

 

Using Barn Foundation Stone in the Landscape, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

CREATE EDGES:  Barn stone surrounding a pool, provides a natural edge between the turf and the pool again in a very natural way.  The stone could also be used in this exact same manner around a patio or perennial garden creating a boarder and seating wall in one element. 

Image from Tone on Tone Antiques from his tour of Bunny Williams garden in 2014 HERE.   Check out his other photos from the tour, my favorite are of the chicken coop and the wire compost bin. 

 

Hope these images inspire you to think about using old barn stone in your garden.

What’s in Bloom This Week

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What's in Bloom This Week- July 13 , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

We have had a wet spring and summer to say the least. Besides making our working schedule crazy (and muddy) it has created for a plethora of blooms in the garden.  Today before the storm, I walked through the garden with my wife and my Felcos and trimmed a few blooms into an arrangement.  There is no science to the collection other than I try to stay in a color family and since the Thomas Edison dahlias were in bloom, I used they as the starting point.

 

What's in Bloom This Week- July 13 , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Below I have included a breakdown of all the perennial and annual cuttings I included in the arrangement for reference.  What's in Bloom This Week- July 13 , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Masters of Design: Anthony Paul

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Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

 

“The way a garden sits in its landscape is my main concern. I sometimes feel that I fill in the foreground like a stage, and the background is done by a far bigger hand than mine…”

-  Anthony Paul,

 

Website:  http://www.anthonypaullandscapedesign.com/ all photo are located there

Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Recognized style:  Contemporary design of restrained, natural perennial plantings which enhance the grander landscape. I admire his designs of hillsides and mass blocking of plantings.  He often uses natives in the design, but not in the native planting style. Also his use of decking and water provide a contemporary relief to the plantings.

Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

 

Paul often designs the containers for each project and uses their placement in the design to highlight scale. In many of his designs he includes a decking plinth under the container, which I have not seen used before. Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

I also admire Paul’s use of circles in his design. For decking to containers and water features.

Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Accolades:  Torsanlorenzo International Prize 2009 1st prize for a private garden, FRANCE. (image below)

Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Gardens of Note: The Black & White Cottage and Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden  is Anthony Paul’s personal garden with his wife Hannah Peschar. The garden combines their mastery in horticulture and sculpture into one garden. Open to the public in Surrey.

Masters of Design: Anthony Paul, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Additional Reading: Paul is the author of four books, all of which are out of print. I have a copy of his “The Garden Design Book” in the mail, and will be adding “Creative Ideas for Small Gardens” and “Designing with Trees” to my next Amazon order.