Stone Mailbox – Lincoln, MA

Stone Mailbox – Lincoln, MA

At this home in Lincoln, MA we are building a stone mailbox surround.  The column will be built entirely of stone and will surround a stainless steel mailbox.  Power will also be routed so a light can eventually go on top, and bluestone number plates will be included on the sides.

The material we will use is called Colonial Wallstone.  It is the same material as Bluestone and is generally the irregular cast of pieces from the bluestone quarries.  It can be called ‘stack stone’ or ‘thin stack’ as well and gives a neat, clean, and modern look.

Stone Mailbox Construction:

To build the stone mailbox column we first dig 2′ deep, pour concrete for a base, and install electrical conduits.  We then prep for the column by making a template and stretching plumb lines to the ground.  We use a stack of cinder blocks for the template to rest on.  Once the stone mailbox column is prepped we can start building up with our wallstone.  The stone is not a veneer, but full bed stone.  The stones are mortared, and the middle of the column is filled with concrete/mortar.

Stone Mailbox - Prep

Mailbox – Prep

Stone Mailbox - Construction

Mailbox – Construction

 

The process is slow going as there are four corners and not much space in between them.  The stones will look natural in the end but often need to be cut or trimmed to fit. We aim for a mix of sizes, level stones, but with varied courses.  The number plate is the same type of stone but cut from a bluestone paver.  The numbers will be drilled and attached later.

Stone Mailbox - Construction

Mailbox – Construction

Stone Mailbox - Construction

Construction

Stone Mailbox - Construction

Construction

The stone mailbox reaches final height and we are ready for the cap stone and numbers.  The cap stone is also bluestone, has a slight overhang, and gives the column a more finished look.

 

Stone Mailbox - Lincoln, MA

Stone Mailbox – Lincoln, MA

Stone Mailbox - Lincoln, MA

Stone Mailbox – Lincoln, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation – Sudbury, MA

At this home in Sudbury, MA we will be doing a bluestone walkway installation to replace the current stepping stone walkway.  The owners are looking for something more functional and formal for their front entry.  There are also some overgrown shrubs at the door as well as a granite step that is out of level.  The plan is pretty straightforward.  We will install a thermal bluestone walkway that runs parallell to the house.  A landing area will extend from the front door to meet the walkway.  We will also remove the two shrubs that are crowding the door and install a new granite step. 

The bluestone we will be using is thermal blue which has a consistent surface texture and mild color range of blues and grays.

Before photos – Sudury, MA

Before photos – Sudury, MA

Before photos – Sudury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation:

To prep the walkway we remove all the stone and excavate the area about 10″ deep.  This will leave enough room for  8″ of compacted base material, 1″ of bedding material, and then the bluestone.   The base material is a mixed aggregate that compacts very well.  The bedding material is a course sand that we use to set the stones in and fine tune the level.  

The step will be made from a single piece of antique granite.  This is old granite that was hand crafted long ago,  installed likely as a piece of curbing somewhere in Massachusetts, and then eventually pulled up and sent to a stoneyard to be re-sold.  Being handcrafted and having sat exposed to the elements and traffic for many years gives it a distinctly antique look that is hard to replicate with newly quarried granite.  Granite like this has to be carefully chosen piece by piece to get the size and regularity desired.

Bluestone Walkway Preparation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Preparation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Once the base is prepped and the step is in we can level the sand and start laying the bluestone.  The bluestone will be laid in a random pattern which is the more common/traditional style.  When laying a random bluestone pattern the goal is to avoid long joints, 4 corners, and to disperse the sizes randomly.

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Bluestone Walkway Installation

 

Bluestone Walkway Completion:

After all the bluestone is laid and leveled we edge the walkway with a plastic paver edging.  The edging sits below the surface and is staked into the ground with 10″ steel stakes.   This helps hold the edge stones from tipping or drifting over time.  In the joints we spread a polymeric joint sand.   This is a specially manufactured sand that will harden up to a consistency of hard rubber.  This joint sand is meant to remain slightly flexible and permeable to water, but to discourage weed growth and insects.  It also helps to lock everything together so none of the stones shift or tip when walked on.

The result is a sharp looking but classic bluestone walkway.  This bluestone walkway installation will last a long time and never go out of style.  

Bluestone Walkway Installation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation - Sudbury, MA

Bluestone Walkway Installation – Sudbury, MA

Bluestone + Granite Installation – Concord, MA

Bluestone + Granite Installation – Concord, MA

At this home in Concord, MA the owners are getting ready to renovate their garage and would first like to create a more functional and attractive entry to the home.  The plan is relocate the tree that is by the side door, edge the driveway with granite curbing, and then install granite steps and bluestone walkways to the front and side entries.   The bluestone walkway will also be lined with granite cobble stones to match the curbing.

It’s hard to tell from the photos but height of the driveway is about 16″ lower than the height of the entry landings.  This is why the granite curbing and steps are being used to raise the whole walkway area up to level with the entry landings.

Before Photos

Before

 

Installation:

The tree is first transplanted and the area is excavated and graded.  You can now see the height difference between the driveway and the landings, and how the granite will now define and retain the new grade.  

Bluestone + Granite Installation – Concord, MA

Bluestone + Granite Installation – Concord, MA

 

Once the steps and granite edging are in and the grade is set we can install the bluestone walkway.  The owner has chosen a running bond pattern with all the same size bluestone, and we will cut a curve to make the walking path to the doors most natural.

Bluestone + Granite Installation – Concord, MA

Bluestone + Granite Installation – Concord, MA

Bluestone + Granite Installation – Concord, MA

 

After the walkways are installed we edge them with cobblestones.  Most walkways/patios have an underground plastic edging that helps secure the pavers.  In this case the cobblestones will serve the same purpose while adding an attractive feature.  The granite curbing runs level near the house, and then after the steps transitions back down to the driveway grade.  In the end we have level walkways, a raised planter bed that will hold some attractive landscaping, and a mildly graded lawn area to meet the rest of the yard.

 

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing - Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing – Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing - Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing – Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing - Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing – Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing - Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway w/ Granite Curbing – Concord, MA