Landscape & Gardening

Backyard Progress (days 15 thru 18)

Bertha and Bubba survey the realm from their new lofty perch. I'm pretty sure with time and exposure, the intense color of the steps will eventually tone down as my front doorsteps have.
Bertha and Bubba survey the realm from their new lofty perch. I’m pretty sure with time and exposure, the intense color of the steps will eventually tone down as my front doorsteps have.

The handmade clay brick paver work is complete, and I would now like to bore you with the technical design details of brick laying. It all started with a series of books written and illustrated by Peter Joel Harrison, who was the first to research and illustrate the historic details of fences, gates, gazebos, trellises, brick pavement, and garden walls. I won’t tell you why and how he came to do this, because you can easily find this out by visiting his website.

(above) For each step and the frame on the top level, the corner is set in a herring-bone bond, while the rest of the bricks continue away from the corner in a stretcher design.
(above) For each step and the frame on the top level, the corner is set in a herring-bone bond, while the rest of the bricks continue away from the corner in a stretcher design.
(above) Stretcher Bond
(above) Stretcher Bond
(above) Stack Bond
(above) Stack Bond

Peter Joel Harrison’s book Brick Pavement and Fence-Walls has been an invaluable resource for all of us. The dilemma of how to lay the corners of the steps without diagonal cuts that would create fragile slivers was solved by the illustration in Plate 40 of this book. On the top level within the stretcher frame, we re-introduced the pattern from my front doorsteps, stack bond, which is illustrated above and on Plate 11.

(above) two small terraces
(above) two small terraces

For the two small terraces, the only specification I gave was to do the infill with stretcher bond, and left the border design up to the paver contractors. Speaking of the paver guys, I should have mentioned earlier that this group of highly skilled craftsmen are part of an outfit called Performance Paver Systems, Inc. from Irving, Texas. The border and corner designs of these two small terraces are exquisite!

Monday the landscape crew will return to start laying down the pennsylvania bluestone creating a patio below the back steps, two pathways, and redoing the stonework at the front entrance of my house.

4 thoughts on “Backyard Progress (days 15 thru 18)”

  1. Margaret Downs-Gamble says:

    Patsy Ann, Your pavers really are exquisite. What gorgeous work. When we lived in Virginia I was fortunate to see some historic paver work from the 18th and 19th centuries. You really have done a superb job. In the northeast, they paint the pavers or stone work with a milk solution to encourage things to grow and begin to soften the newness. In Texas, I fear it would simply sour and then burn away. Genuinely lovely.

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Margaret, most of the brick patterns from the referenced book were found in Colonial Williamsburg, and you recognized them! The steps will retain their color more so than the terraces and path, because these latter three are placed on packed sand which will leach salt through the brick forever. This will cause them to get kind of dull and grey.

  2. Karen Clayton says:

    I have “aged” brick with beer or buttermilk smeared with moss spores — from the sheet moss you get from a florist. Might be slick on a step surface but okay on the risers. Beautiful work. I want to come look!

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Karen, I’m planning on some kind of open house later on this year. Maybe November before folks start revvin’ up for the holidays. I’ll keep you posted through facebook.

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