An Appreciation of Stone (26)

Parking court

This parking court and upper terrace are held in place by the same sandstone. This sandstone was used on the house and I thought it would look awesome if we were to use it on both of these retaining walls. We even tried to work in the same pattern style applying the stone, as was done on the house.

Imagine the difference in appearance if the walls were segmented modular block(SMB), a product that seems to be everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I took the chance in spec’ing the stone and spoke with the homeowners about going all the way with a look they had started on the house. Turns out everyone(homeowners, architect, interior designer, building contractor, landscape contractor) was in total agreement, and we think the final results speak for themselves.

The stone makes a handsome wall, yes it is considerably more expensive than SMB, or a cultured stone application (lick-n-stick), but price is not the object here . . . what’s at issue is quality materials and presentation style.

For you young designers you gotta think big when dealing with clients who build a particular style/size of house, in a particular style of neighborhood . . . remember this . . . it’s about show business. People who are monetarily successful don’t mind reminding themselves(or their neighbors) of that fact . . . help them.

Help them in achieving their goals, their aspirations, their dreams . . . through your vision make those desires become a reality.


Addendum: This shot is from the middle of last August, it is the 1st growing season for the plant material, and I look forward to watching everything progress. Almost 200 more images.

The parking court surface and drive is a natural brick, not a concrete paver. There’s room to park 4 cars and a back-in, turn around out of frame(left).

parking courtbrick driveway

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. looks great! – thanks for all the picks; im always looking for new ideas for driveways, and i love the tripple header border with the raised course inbetween, it definitely say “i got money”!

    You’re right, it does. it was an extra special detail, but it did set it off-thanks for noticing. I’ve been looking more at driveways lately there seems to be a new found backlash against the concrete jungle.

  2. Now “THATS” a house.

    yes… your stone is right on.

    We all thought it was appropriate, when i proposed that upper terrace wall(no one had even suggested it) and everyone agreed I was a little floored. I was really afraid of cooking by committee, they let the front be; the back yard, well that’s another story.

  3. The brick is good IMO, but the colour is not right. Should have been either the same colour as the house or more muted colour like soft yellow. Sorry!

    No need to apologize for your opinion. I have been thinking the best response to your comments regarding the design process on this project is to respond with a post detailing the reasoning.

  4. Now that is some handsome well crafted stone work.
    So glad that your clients did not entertain the idea of segmented modular block.
    I truly believe that SMB would bring the property value down on a project of this aesthetic.
    I also believe it brings down value on middle range projects as well.
    There are far better design choices than SMB which I believe to be an abomination and blight upon our landscape .
    My small design and build firm will not under any circumstance use the stuff.
    For insight into the type of stone work that we do here on the left coast you might be interested in this recent blog post:

    Thanks Michelle: as mentioned in your other comment you do nice work out there. SMB is something we will just have to live with, it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. I do the best I can to get as many folks as possible to look at other alternatives, explaining the long term value over the initial price savings.


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