Project Details

Photos: Tim Ritter

Creative Courtyard

Design:   Christie Dustman, APLD

Meticulously installed granite slabs draw together driveway, courtyard, and house in this Japanese-inspired North Reading garden, featured in Design New England Magazine.

The clients had already developed their property over a period of 30 years when they hired designer Christie Dustman, APLD, to create a courtyard joining the house and garden. From custom statuary to a screen room modeled after a Japanese tea house, their aesthetic was clear. Dustman pulled together the driveway and garage entrance, hillside garden, and modern house with a motif of repeated granite rectangles that spoke to the existing ledge throughout the property.

To implement the detailed design, project manager Geovani Aguilar coordinated with our asphalt subcontractor and a quarry in Chelmsford, MA, which fabricated all of the 3’ to 6’ long granite slabs. Additional asphalt thickness was required to keep the paving from cracking when it was cut, and the granite pieces dropped into place. The heavy granite had to be placed precisely by our craftsmen, as there was less than ¼” gap around the edges of each piece. We backfilled the joints with the same polymeric sand that we use to ensure stability in all of our paver applications.

While the paving pattern required geometric precision, the rest of the installation attempted to mimic nature. Irregular granite pieces echoing the existing ledge on site were used to retain slopes and build steps. To age the installation and integrate it with the existing garden, our crew placed large boulders and successfully transplanted a mature 20’ chamaecyparis.