Salvaged Puddingstone for Renovation

Roxbury Puddingstone is a beautiful conglomerate stone originally sourced in downtown neighborhoods of Boston and Brookline and pretty much nowhere else. It was extensively used in construction in the late 19th century, but there remains no longer any commercial source for this important building stone. Much no doubt remains in the ground, but the neighborhoods that produced it are now fully built out urban neighborhoods in which it is no longer possible to blast and quarry.

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Salvaged Puddingstone for Renovation

Creative Solutions to Minimize Disruption

Minimizing the impact of renovations is always a priority when we work on an occupied residence. This Charlestown landscape project is an extreme example. Our team transformed this courtyard at the back of this brick townhouse with brick and stone paving, extensive plantings, and a functioning antique limestone water fountain. That was the easy part.

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Creative Solutions to Minimize Disruption

BOARD FORMED CONCRETE - - A LIVING FINISH

Board formed concrete is exactly that, a structure produced by pouring concrete into a form constructed with, or faced with, rough sawn wood boards. This is an intentionally rusticated concrete finish that leaves the impression of the wood boards embossed in the surface of the concrete. The surface of the board is generally sandblasted in order to further raise the grain, and thus to increase the effect. Far from a primitive method, board formed concrete is a calculated and not inexpensive building finish.

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BOARD FORMED CONCRETE - - A LIVING FINISH

Excavation Granite Ledge

This new home on a tight lot in Belmont Hill specified an extensive list of below grade amenities, including a two car garage, an elevator shaft, a finished basement living space, plus a room for utilities. Given the design, the neighborhood and the space available, there was nowhere to go but down. The issue was that the site is located on an outcropping of granite ledge, so the excavation had to be made deep into solid rock.

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Excavation Granite Ledge

Prevent Winter Freeze Ups

By Doug Hanna

As I write this, we have a daytime high temperature of 9 deg F with a 22 mph wind, which makes me very thankful that I am no longer required to be outside swinging a hammer in all kinds of weather.

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Prevent Winter Freeze Ups

WHY WAIT? PLANTING A MATURE TREE

Mature trees perform many functions in a landscape, as screens and boundaries, providing shade and in dispersing groundwater. Usually, if one is starting from scratch, the procedure is to plant nursery trees and let them grow to fulfill these functions. If you can’t wait, you can move or plant a fully grown tree. It is certainly possible to move a fully grown tree on an inconvenient location to a better location on the same property.

 

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WHY WAIT? PLANTING A MATURE TREE

DEMOLITION OF ROCK LEDGE FOR FOUNDATIONS

Bedrock is the most stable of foundation bearing site materials, but whether it is shale, granite ledge or any other type of solid rock, it must be cut away as specified by the engineer. Yes, stone can be demolished using explosives, but in an urban environment is not always feasible because of the proximity to neighbors and concerns that their use could damage nearby foundations. There are a couple of other options available to us, depending on the type of stone and the volume of work that needs to be done.

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DEMOLITION OF ROCK LEDGE FOR FOUNDATIONS

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans: Hardscape

By Michael Weishan, Old House, Old Garden columnist

God is in the details they say, and I can assure you that the garden deity dwells most happily where the creator has paid attention to the quality of the hardscape. Let's face it - perennials come and go, trees rise and fall, seasons pass in a quick succession of constant flux - nothing is more ephemeral than a garden. But even the landscape has some limited element of resiliency, and that resiliency resides almost entirely in its bones, the hardscape.

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Lessons from English Gardens for Americans: Hardscape

The Key to Design Outdoor Living Areas that Work

By Michael Weishan, Michael Weishan & Associates 

To my way of thinking, a relaxing, well-designed terrace or patio is the most important feature of the entire back yard. It’s here, after all, that you get to reap the rewards of all that hard labor – hours spent weeding, mulching and planting come to fruition when you sit down in a comfortable chair with a cool beverage, survey your domain, and drink in the pleasures of a job well done. But for the owner of a traditional home, obtaining this dream space can be full of pitfalls, as outdoor living areas can quickly turn from adjunct to albatross if improperly designed. The key to success is to consider the two most important aspects of any terrace or patio – dimensions and materials – long before you move the first shovelful of dirt.

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The Key to Design Outdoor Living Areas that Work