Building a Bluestone Patio

There are two primary types of bluestone flatwork, flatwork referring to the stone being set on grade as a walkway, patio etc.  Arguably, the easier and more straight-forward style is with dimensional bluestone.  Dimensional bluestone is processed at a quarry, and cut into square and rectangular shapes measuring 12”x12”, 12”x18”, 18”x24”, etc so that all the pieces work and fit with one another when laid into a large area such as a patio.  This type of bluestone is generally considered more formal in appearance.  Many of our landscape customers in the lakes region prefer a less formal and more rustic style.  This is when we usually suggest a walkway or patio constructed with irregular bluestone, installed in a mosaic fashion. 

My preference of the two is certainly the mosaic style.  I love the irregularity of shapes, and also the cleft texture of the stone which you don’t get with thermaled dimensional stone (although you can get cleft dimensional as well).  Of course, the difficultly with a mosaic patio is the pieces are not cut for you.  Further, the thickness of the stone is much more variable than processed dimensional stone.  In order to lay a patio with tight consistent joints, it is necessary to cut EACH AND EVERY STONE.  In order to set each stone, it is necessary to shim or remove shim (sand or stone dust) beneath each stone to set it at grade.  People look at our mosaic installs and will often say “It’s like putting a puzzle together”.  Well, not really.  It’s more like building a puzzle.  We can’t take all the stone off a pallet, and assemble the patio without extensive work to each stone.  That’s the only way to get each stone to match up perfectly with one another.  This is done with diamond blades mounted on grinders and large demo saws, and also with carbide tipped chisels specifically manufactured to work with stone.  Once we are done, you could pick up every stone, put them in a giant cardboard box, and then reassemble it (although I wouldn’t want to).

I’ve included a time-lapse video of a mosaic bluestone patio we installed late 2013.  This customer specifically asked for small stones in the patio.  I generally prefer larger stones, but I have to admit that I loved the look after it was done.  It also made setting the stones much easier.  Usually setting to grade on stone dust or sand is a two-man job due to the weight of the stones.  In this case, the lovely and talented Tammy was able to do all the setting alone after the stones were cut and fit into place by the stone mason.

The mosaic bluestone has also been a very popular choice for permeable applications on several waterfront projects we have completed the past few years.  For more bluestone project photos, please visit our website.  If you are considering a patio, walkway, or just want to chat about stone, feel free to call Mark at (603) 387-7885.

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NH Landscaper Greg Hutchins Achieves NHCLP Status

Congratulations to Greg Hutchins, Partner and Manager of Seacoast Division, on achieving New Hampshire Certified Landscape Professional status. 

The NHCLP test consists of two parts: 1. Plant identification 2. General Landscape knowledge to include hardscape, botany, soils, turf, fertilizer, and practical methods and techniques. As expected, Greg performed well on both portions of the exam and will receive his certificate at the New Hampshire Landscape Association annual meeting in March. 

Greg joins Dan Felix and Mark Arsenault as the third Certified Landscape Professional on the Green Monster Landscapes staff.  The certification program is voluntary, and allows landscapers to separate themselves from the competition, and show their customers that they are educated and commited to professionalism in the trade.

Greg and his company, Terraventures Landscaping merged with Green Monster Landscapes in 2011. After an eight year relationship as colleagues, and collaborating on projects together, Greg was a perfect fit and addition to the Green Monster team and blended seamlessly. Greg brings great problem solving skills with his engineering background, and also great ‘Green Industry’ knowledge coming from a family of horticulturists and landscapers. Greg is not only a great landscaper, but he’s also a great carpenter who has built stunning outdoor wood structures for us. The addition of Greg is allowing us to better serve customers in the Seacoast and Southern NH from our Barrington, NH location.

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The Best NH Landscapers Reside Here! Justin Douglas

Over the next week, I'd like to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit about each of our employees. If most of you follow this page, or have dealings with me in real life, you've probably heard me gush over the guys we have on staff. And even though the winter revenue doesn't really justify keeping our entire staff on board, we think it's important to do so. It ensures we'll have quality employees to start up again each spring, and it also lets them live a more comfortable, predictable lifestyle. Collectively, they are our greatest asset for success and we want them to stick around.

Because we value each one equally, I will do this in no particular order, but I'll start with JD Douglas, who has been with us the longest.

JD is a great guy toGreen Monster Landscapes have on the crew simply because of his sense of humor. Of course, we need more than that to make the day successful, and his biggest contributions come operating excavators and Bobcats. His ability to take on any equipment related digging or grading task without constant supervision is a dream for a boss. But to stop there would certainly be selling him short. JD spent a great deal of time with me last year, working on natural stone projects where he is also very skilled, and a great partner to work with. He has a great ability to look forward several steps into the process to the keep the job flowing, and he understands how important quality, detail and craftsmanship is to our final product. In a few words, "He gets it!". Never is there a worry sending JD out on his own to complete a job, to move equipment, to finish up on the final details, or to get a job back on track. In the upcoming season, we expect JD to take on a greater leadership role, helping to mold a few of our younger guys which I will spotlight later on. Thanks for all you do JD, your efforts are appreciated!

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Barrington NH Office Opening

Green Monster Landscapes is pleased to announce the opening of its new landscaping office in Barrington New Hampshire. This new location will help us better serve our clients seeking a landscape contractor in the NH Seacoast.  The Barrington Office will be led by Greg Hutchins.  Greg and his company, Terraventures Landscaping merged with Green Monster Landscapes in 2011. After an eight year relationship as colleagues, and collaborating on projects together, Greg was a perfect fit and addition to the Green Monster team and blended seamlessly. Greg brings great problem solving skills with his engineering background, and also great ‘Green Industry’ knowledge coming from a family of horticulturists and landscapers. Greg is not only a great landscaper, but he’s also a great carpenter who has built stunning outdoor wood structures that have been incorported into our landscape designs.  Green Monster Landscapes