Heres the chalkboard notes for our day of hardscapes.  Stone patios, decks, retaining walls, pebble strewn riverbeds, brick walls, calculations of volume, and more…  The  standout concepts from the day are:

  1.  Whatever you design is going to interact with the world and grow over time.  Swell and contract, erode and and settle, get swamped and drain.  So keep in mind the natural forces of water, wind, warmth and light, soils.  Do not forget about gophers and coyotes, rats and raccoons, wood rotting fungus and termites, as you lay down a layer of wood or stone or concrete over the earth.
  2. A couple big catch words these days are Permeability and Sustainability.  Permeability is the ability of the landscape to breathe and allow water to penetrate infiltrate down down low to the groundwater and aquifer below, filtered through the soil.  Sustainability is a bunch of big question marks – what can we keep using without depleting?  At what rate can we cut things down or pump things out or burn stuff up?  What is the value of an intact primeval ancient river bed or forest?  How can we beautify the world through the design and construction of gardens?
  3. When calculating the amount of hardscape materials needed.  Remember to always multiply using consistent same units.  That is to say, in estimating volume, multiple feet x feet x feet, not feet x feet x inches.  Also, use proper and correct conversion factors.  For example, 27 cubic feet is one cubic yard.  One cubic yard.  Even though at the stone yard they just always say ‘one yard’, it is one cubic yard.