Pender style grand stone staircase and ramp

1024 768 Thuja Wood Art - Reclaimed Cedar Furniture Wood Art Vancouver Victoria Gulf Islands British Columbia

I recently was invited back to a previous clients place to do some more drystack stonework.  What a fun project it turned out to be.  Transforming the yard into a functional and wonderful place to be.  The clients had purchased a nice new greenhouse and put it up in pretty much the only good spot in their landscaped yard with space and sun.  The problem was that it was at the bottom of a steep gravelly slope from the main house and pathways.  This presented some interesting design issues.  The clients wanted stairs down the greenhouse with a patio area in front.  But they also needed to be able to get down the greenhouse with a wheelbarrow, as there was no other way down.  The space for the stairs is in between sloping garden beds on either side, and quite wide.  Hence the grandness of the ensuing staircase as it widens as it goes down to the greenhouse.  To solve the wheelbarrow problem I suggested a stone ramp that would run along side the stairs.  To match the existing stonework I had done in previous years around the property we decided to do it all with drystack stonework.  I started with a drystack patio in front of the greenhouse (with sand over landscape cloth underneath).  I also needed to do drystack retaining walls along the high side of the slope, so I decided to build a stone bench into the wall on the patio creating a nice place to sit and relax in the garden.  The staircase starts out about 8′ across with the ramp, and narrows as it goes up the hillside to about 4′ across at the top.  Everything is done drystack, meticulously, and permanent.  Its a lot of work moving big stones by yourself, but I just love doing stonework (but not enough to do it all the time – I try do time my stonework projects for the spring or fall seasons, not to cold and wet or hot and sunny!).


Colin Hamilton

All stories by: Colin Hamilton
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