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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Oien

The colors of spring

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

My next project has me creating a flag and cobble stone patio under a pink canopy of a blossoming Cherry tree. When I take my hearing protection off in between shaping stones the choral buzz of thousands of honey bees above me is almost as deafening as my stone saw. If one was to look up spring in a dictionary, I believe it would say "see picture"

Often times potential new customers are surprised to find that stonework is more expensive than other hardscape materials. After all, it's a commonly found, natural product that requires minimal processing before being sold, and the standard for "good" or "bad" stonework is somewhat subjective.

I think we should see other people....

In actuality, it's the craftsmanship of the builder that transforms the stone into something special. In every patio I create, the art and craft of my trade is at the forefront of my thoughts. On the artistic side: the relationship between the different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. The way the seems flow and interact with one another. Even the way light and shadow throughout the day effects the appearance. On the craftmanship side: does it drain water well? How does it feel to walk on? Is it high heel friendly? Can you walk across it without looking down? In the winter can you remove snow without jamming a shovel up? Keeping these aspects in mind, one can imagine it's a slow and methodical process. On a tightly laid patio with multiple types of stone such as this, I may spend an entire day in a five foot by five foot space. In contrast, a skilled crew can install many hundreds of square feet of concrete pavers in a work day.

Ultimately, when compared to other more modern hardscape materials, stonework is certainly a luxury. It's bespoke functional art that sits on a different page than pavers or stamped concrete.

On this project, I'm incorporating stone my client lovingly set herself in years past mixed with the new flagstone. Stone once labored over has memories, and showcasing some of them in my work keeps those alive on the property. Upon completion, the home is now is encircled in a continuous stone pathway, with gathering points throughout. With every changing mosaic clusters to hold one's interest, a journey around the home beckons the calming, contemplative feel of walking a labyrinth.


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