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Thursday, September 6, 2012

antique cobblestones at the entrance

So, lest you think we've just been sitting around on the porches all day eating bon-bons ;), I thought I would show you what we've been up to... our latest project!  If you follow me on Instagram (which I'm loving btw, you will have seen some of these photos.  I try to post once a day on sightings/happenings around the house, or places we travel to.  If you don't have a smart phone you can still see the current photos at the bottom of the blog.  If you would like to follow you can find us at "for the love of a house".)


This is our entrance from the street that I showed you most recently.  You can see the "brides" (Endless Summer Blushing Bride Hydrangeas) planted behind the granite curbing.  You can also see how the edge to the gravel drive has lost its shape after being driven on and plowed over!  Although I didn't love how it looked it has never really been an issue since we had yet to landscape this part of the property.  But, knowing that we are working our way down from the farmhouse I wanted to address this issue.  It was decided that an antique cobblestone border would be the perfect (and period) solution to keep the gravel in the driveway!



Ella helped us pick out the antique cobblestones... couldn't have done it without her! 



I love working with stone and was Dan's hod carrier on this project which was a two-person-on-deck-at-all-times project!  Minute changes in the angle of a single stone changes the entire curvature of the line, so working the line required constant tweaking and decisions to be made... and re-made, over and over!     



Dan and Big Blue bringing the cobbles to the job site.






I drew the curve on the dirt and Dan dug the design first with a pickaxe and then a shovel making a channel for the stones to sit in.  He then put down a base of granite dust (also referred to as stone dust) which is granite crushed to a very fine consistency and is used for setting stones.  It allows for water to easily pass through and once wet it helps to lock the stones in place.  New cobblestones have a more consistent size, but antique cobbles can vary greatly, so the granite dust allows you to add or subtract the base to get all the stones to the same height.  At the street the stones are flush with the road, but as you come up towards the stone beehives it has a small lip to contain the gravel.






New fill dirt added behind the edge which will eventually (hopefully in the next week) be planted with grass.  This south side of the project was a breeze!  From start to finish it took only 4 hours; the north side was a bit trickier!


One side completed, one to go! 
For scale it is 16 feet between the beehives.



This side proved to be more difficult and took two days to get right!  Day two we even worked in the rain to complete the project before Dan had to leave town!   On this side of the drive Dan had to first use the pickaxe to remove asphalt left over from a previous driveway on the property- you can see the pile on the left.  Then, trying to get the curve to match the installed south side was a big challenge.  Dan found the center of the drive and used mathematical measurements, but that wasn't working.  Eyeballing it wasn't working either.  I decided to draw the start of the completed curve on some thick bubble wrap, cut it out and flip it as a pattern for this side (this was the day it was raining, so regular paper wouldn't have worked;)  That got the ball rolling and the rest of the project went pretty smoothly after that.






Stone beehives as command central!



So, once again...
 before


after
Once the grass is put down you really won't even notice the cobbles, but it's a subtle improvement and a detail that looks like it could have been installed a hundred years ago.



And, for the record... apparently the "house angels" like Dan more than me as my Endless Summer Blushing Bride (white) Hydrangeas are turning blue!  I wanted this bed to bloom white and Dan was partial to blue.  The gardener (me;) chose white!  I do admit that this icy blue is a gorgeous color, so don't tell the house angels, but I'm happy too!



 This is the "runaway bride" hidden in a little clearing in the trees several feet down from the other "brides".  When the brides get all droopy and cranking needing water we call them bridezillas!

73 comments:

  1. Oh, My. What a wonderful difference all your hard work makes! It looks fantastic. You should be very proud and so should Ella.

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  2. you guys have been working your tail off! your entrance is absolutely stunning!

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  3. That looks beautiful! What an improvement!

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  4. Looks like a big, fantastic job. Gorgeous and those Hydrangeas, love it all. Have a great day. Ciao for now...

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  5. What a wonderful welcome to the house, and it does give the look of 'I've been here all along'.
    The nearby coniferous trees are likely adjusting the soil PH level making the hydrangea change colour. Even with powder to adjust the alkaline, the garden angels will likely kiss Dan for his hard work and keep those 'brides' blue {and all brides need something blue}.








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    1. hi Katherine- Yes, I knew it was a slight possiblity they would turn since there are large pine trees all around the bed, but just didn't expect to see them turn so quickly! And, you're right about the brides needing something blue;)

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  6. The new driveway curbing was worth all of the effort, it looks beautiful. And I love the ice blue color the hydrangeas and house angels have settled on. Each time I read one of your posts I can't help thinking that your neighbors, and the spirits of those who once lived in your beautiful home must smile at all the marvelous work you are doing!

    Kat

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    1. Kat- I'm thinking our neighbors probably think we are nuts!!

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    2. ..but the spirits love you...

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  7. The way you toss off projects like this really makes me feel like a sloth--I never even get much done in my small apartment. I always appreciate it when you tell us step by step how things like this are accomplished. I have seen stone curbs, etc. before, but never thought of the individual steps necessary to get them in place.

    I have to admit that I didn't mind the old look of the spreading gravel. However, the new edging really creates an impact. The old loose gravel made the drive said "informal" and "country". The granite-edged gravel seems to say "estate"!
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. ha! I almost mentioned how the before photo didn't look too bad; but in reality gravel was everywhere- feet away from the drive. It was a mess. We had initially intended to keep it just gravel, but sometimes "simple" isn't always easy maintaince!

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  8. You guys have done a great job! !! What a beautiful entrance! Have a great day

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  9. I chuckled in appreciation and empathy thru your entire post as I read your descriptions of trying to get the curve just right and then trying to get the north side to match the south side.... It brought back memories of a client we had who wanted to put a curved end wall on a single room addition to their house. It couldn't be a half circle - too static. It couldn't be an arc - joined the straight sides of the room awkwardly, you saw the joint. It couldn't be an ellipse - the peak of the arc was too flat. Had to be a b-spline curve... Fortunately, Autocad can generate such a curve. We plotted the curve full scale and brought it to the site. Still wasn't right.
    Worked on getting half the arc right for two days on our hands and knees at the bottom of the excavation for the frost wall. We were still dinking around with it the day the guys showed up to pour the foundation at 7:30 in the morning. They set the forms for the straight parts of the foundation as we continued to dither around with the arc... Finally, the foreman announces that it was 9:15 and his guys were quickly running out of things to do. In fact, he was getting ready to leave and wasn't sure when he'd be able to get back... Suddenly, the arc looked fantastic!!!! Then there was the bluestone terrace... All eyeball design... I could write a book...

    Cheers,
    John

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    1. John, I'm happy to know that sometimes even Autocad can't get a particular curve right! And could have retold your story almost exactly- with the concrete guys trying to keep busy while we were frantically making last minute decisions and then all the sudden what you had at the moment was absolutely "perfect"!!

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  10. I will make sure to live within visiting distance so the man of the house can talk to Dan about how to do Things. Or to you :)
    I just save the photos and tell him, This is what we have to do to our house .. wherever it is.
    besitos from cold and damp Argentina.

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  11. How beautiful... really looks finished now! Cheers!! I have read that it is harder to change hydrangea color to pink than blue... maybe there is something you could add to the soil to help, but I agree the icy blue color is beautiful!

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    1. hi Diane! I think I'll let them be...I learned a long time ago not to mess with the gardening gods, much less the house angels ;):)

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  12. Simply beautiful! Your hard work will pay off when visitors are welcomed into your drive! I can hear the oohs and aah's now!

    XO,
    Jane

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  13. Absolutely beautiful -- of course! And so inviting. I love your command central ;) and i LOVE blue hydrangeas! Now...about hiring out? ;)

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  14. Everything justs getting prettier and prettier. It's a lovely welcoming entrance and makes you excited to see what's next. I love the soft blue hydrangea color. Que Sera, Sera...
    What a project, getting all those stones into place. But with the help of your trusty supervisor ( Ella) looks like all went well.

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  15. I love Instagram. I just started following you. I am kristincita. I photograph food and life in New Hampshire.

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  16. You two must be in fabulous shape! I know your house and garden are, and all that work must keep you fit!

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    1. Sunny- you would think so, wouldn't you?!! But, sadly no one has confused us with any fitness models lately:)

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  17. Looks wonderful, Joan! Very manicured... with character!

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  18. you have ALL the components to make a great entrance...I would be excited to drive up that drive every single time I did it!

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  19. The cobble stone edge is a perfect finishing touch. Everything you have done together has been wonderful. What a team!

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  20. What a beautiful entrance, Joan... good luck with the hydrangeas... my whites are turning pink! xv

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  21. What a gorgeous drive way! Even without the antique stones! But you did a trully amazing work there(:
    Blue hydrangeas are the best((((: lucky woman!
    Xo z

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  22. You and Dan seem so perfectly suited to each other. I admire your attention to every perfect detail and your teamwork to make it happen. Your driveway entrance is now as beautiful as your house!

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  23. That is weird. I had a WHITE hydrangea for 27 years. Then last year it turned blue! I was shocked. ALL the other 9 bushes are blue and I wanted so badly to have a white one. The driveway looks wonderful. You 2 are amazing. Joe and i used to do gardening/landscaping projects like this. We were alot younger:):) Now we will have a MUCH smaller property to maintain. But ALOT of blood, sweat and tears has gone into THIS homes gardens and landscaping. I hope the new people like it..............

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  24. Just beautiful, as is everything you work on. A very fitting entrance to an amazing home. Well done. Thanks for sharing, liz

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  25. That looks great. I assume the new grass in front of the curved walls will meet up perfectly with the strip in front of the old curbing?

    It must be a Blushing Bride hydrangea that got mismarked and mixed up with my Nikko Blues. It also starts as white and ages to a really icy blue.

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  26. Love, love, love it!!! You guys do nice work! My husband loves working with cobbles! I should post some of his work! Have a great day!

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  27. Joan,
    It's impressive how those 2 curved sections of cobblestone truly finished the drive so beautifully. You two must be very fit for all of the hard labor you engage in. ;-) I am surprised that the hydrangea turned blue since I understood that white hydrangea was one of the few that didn't change color. I agree with you, the icy blue is beautiful. Maybe it will be white next year, since they change with different soils and even outside temps.
    Your entrance is so pretty.
    Karen

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  28. That turned out absolutely gorgeous. I'm visiting my daughter in Connecticut, and was showing off your pictures...they are all in love! My son-in-law is in love with Big Blue!!!

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    1. Big Blue has a bit of fan club out there!:) Have a great visit!

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    2. Had a great visit! Went to Brimfield two days, and took a different route each day...beautiful country! Found some old whiskey barrel rings in the woods behind their house...I see an orb in my future!

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    3. So glad you had a great visit! We went to Brimfield today (Sunday)! How cool that you found the rings in the woods behind their house. Be sure to send me a picture of that orb!

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  29. Joan, Dan, and Ella: As with all of your projects, this is beautiful! Cindy

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  30. Ha! Love your command central! My husband doesn't have a Big Blue, but he loves his equivalent: a 1967 JOhn Deere he affectionately calls, "Big Daddy." I'm so thankful for a hardworking husband, aren't you?

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  31. Love your photography and love watching all your progress! The stone wall is so beautiful too. The hydrangeas are beautiful! I'm sure you are loving NH weather over our texas heat. West Nile Virus is no picnic either. You're not missing anything. All the best.. http://preppyemptynester.blogspot.com/

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  32. Gorgeous - I bet you two sleep like babies at night! I've had several hydrangeas bloom different colors than the plant tag too! xoTrina

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  33. Just love it...how fun you are doing all that work together. We are just about to start a similar "house" project since my daughter just left for college. I hope we do it with all the grace you guys do! Such a blessing is your blog to me....

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  34. I am thinking that Big Blue needs his own twitter account!!

    Gorgeous as always ma darlink!

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  35. Wow, you two are quite the hardworking pair! I wish we had an ounce of your industriousness. It's a good thing you had Ella there to assist. I'll bet it would've taken longer had she not helped. The results look beautiful, and really add a lovely touch to your already gorgeous entrance.
    Claudia
    P.S. I know what a dog lover you are, Joan. Wanted to share that we have a new "pound puppy" ... a 7-year-old rescue we've named Henry. He's precious. I've posted about him, FYI.

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    1. Claudia- bless you and your husband and Phoebe for adopting an older dog! Henry is a love! And that face.... so sweet. Wishing you all the puppy joy in the world!

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  36. I love your blog, love the story of your house, feel like you must be one of the nicest people.
    Christine

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    1. I agree with you, Christine. I think Joan is one of the nicest people. We've never met, but I can just tell.
      Claudia

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    2. Christine and Claudia... y'all are very sweet, but you apparently have never spoken to my two sisters!! ;) :)

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    3. Hmmmm...you can move a Texas girl to New Hampshire, but the "ya'll" will still be there!

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  37. Joan, it is gorgeous!! I've always loved that look, and did it around my garden beds. It's just terrific on the driveway!
    Stacy

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  38. What a grand entrance fit for your stunning house!

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  39. seriously this blog is better entertainment than television that said
    love the cobblestones,love the entrance tweaking,know there is more to
    come cannot wait to see it all come together. Splendid taste you have.
    Give Ella a rub behind the ears for us.

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  40. Joan, just beautiful! My blushing bride blooms white for most of summer and then turns pale blue. About this time of year in Ga the blooms turn to lime green. strange, i know, but its always the talk of the neighborhood.

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  41. My white turned blue as well! First it was pure white, then it developed blue on the tips...it was gorgeous...then all blue! I was as surprised as you! It has made some lovely dried hydrangeas. Love your blog.

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  42. ...nothing more beautiful than combination of old stones and old timey hydrangeas...perfection...blessings laney

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  43. it's the subtle details that make all the difference! this looks great and will be all the more beautiful when the grass grows in! I'm so happy I've found your site! I'm your newest follower! xoxox

    (and btw, I love blue hydrandeas!)

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  44. Incredible! And so much information you share with all of us!
    You are a great example of the power of the internet!

    Thank you for this very informative and instructive blog!

    Bravo!

    Penelope

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  45. How amazingly beautiful! As you start to pull into your beautiful drive you must hear music...beautiful music...it's just that pretty!
    xo
    annie

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  46. Love that Ella helped out. The clean lines make all that hard work really pay off. As for Hydrangeas and their willy nilly wish to find soil that will make them whatever color they want to be. I plead the fifth on my frustrations with all of that (smile).

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  47. This was a great project and determination gets the job done and a short time slot too. Great post!

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  48. I just happened upon your blog today from Adventures in Decorating and was just blown away. Your home is simply beautiful and the property, what can I say?! I have never seen any place more beautiful. I did a search from 2010 you have about your home. Just fabulous, so much so that I called my husband in and told him that I would love to live there. He, however, is waiting until I give the go ahead to move to Kentucky. My in~laws are there and he has always wanted to make the move. I am a litte apprehensive but we"ll see! Thank you for sharing your blog with us and I will most certainly be following you. Thanks again. Diane in Indiana

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  49. Wow - what an undertaking, Joan! I think I might have thrown in the towel on the second side when neither mathematical calculations OR eyeballing it was working. The bubble wrap was genius! And it looks amazing now.

    Also, your hydrangeas are beautiful.

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  50. i didnt get it at first, but afterwards - it's perfect and just want you needed!!! now, let that man rest for awhile!

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  51. So ,so wonderful and I am so jealous. Thanks for dropping by. K

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  52. It is perfect! It looks very welcoming and you cant wait to see whats down the drive way.

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  53. Oh, seriously? Very impressive work! Looks fabulous and very tidy! Loi

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  54. Another perfect detail that seems so simple (only if you aren't doing the work!) but provides so much impact. Love the pic of little ella guarding the stone! That dog is just adorable!

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