Garden of the Day

DSCN1828, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Actually I really like this photo because of the slate retaining wall. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a slate retaining wall look this good. What do you think – thumbs up or down?

15 Comment

  • Thumbs up!!

  • Get a good look now. All those slates will pop off after 4 or 5 winters. That type of stone shouldn’t be used that way. It’s just not durable enough. Thumbs down to the waste of money.

  • can u elaborate Crin? i had been thinking of redoing my bland concrete steps with slate

  • Crin is right. It will only take a few drops of water to get behind those flat stones and freeze. Since we all know water expands when it freezes, it will push out on the flat stones and cause them to pop off. That’s why you usually don’t see slate pavers on walls. At least not anywhere that has freezing winters.

  • Flat cut slate is so obviously a facing material. In this application, it always strikes me as a ‘real imitation stone wall’ that is pretending to be a stone wall but is evidently concrete with slate facing. Ungenuine. I think Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has a passage about faux stone covers for the bottoms of run-down mobile homes…kind of like that.

    Not to be too harsh, though: good craftsmanship in putting this one together, your mileage may vary, no accounting for tastes, etc. etc.

  • Ditto to all the criticism.
    Will look like hell in no time.

  • Wow I really think it looks nice. Sounds like the above commentors know what they are talking about and it will look horrible in a few years 🙁 too bad.

  • I can’t pull up this photo. Is anyone else having problems?

  • I think it looks lovely. Very neat and clean. Nice colors too.

  • it is extremely well done – better sell it fast, because as the others have said this thing veneer is going to fall apart quickly.

  • Agree with all the negative thoughts! This looks no better than that crappy scurge of Charm City: formstone! However, I do love a nice flagstone walkway, especially when it has the reds and blues mixed in.

  • Also, aside from the non-durability of this treatment and other aesthetic considerations, the look is architecturally inappropriate from a period point of view.

  • Looks like it’s on an alley too. That stuff is going to get bashed apart before it freezes off. Slate is a sedimentary stone of widely varying quality. The best slate goes on roofs and lasts 100 years, yet it’s nailed and layered and mostly just sits up there. Read any good article on how to repair a slate roof and they tell you not to walk on it: slate can’t bend and walking on a slate roof will break the slates.

    This stuff is obviously thicker and bedded in mortar so it won’t break right away, but it’s still a sedimentary stone. Once the mortar breaks down a little (or grout if the homeowner really got duped) water will get into the edges of the stone; freeze/thaw; and then start to delaminate in chunks. All those nice crisp edges, especially at the stairs will break and crack in time; it will just take one sharp blow and that brittle stone will chip.

    Mileage varies depending on the quality of the craftsmanship. Also depends on the quality and thickness of the slate (again not all slate is the same). Maybe 10 years if you’re lucky, but it’s really easy to spot similar designs that are 5 years old and falling apart. Signs this one is cheap: white efflorescence in some of the joints, cracked slates slapped on anyway, kinda straight but not really, random PVC weep holes. At least they knew enough to use PVC tubes to keep the water away from the slate edges. Durable materials don’t need tubes for their weep holes, just holes.

    Best material: concrete; affordable, historic, durable. You want people to love your house, not your sidewalk steps. Second best: brick; durable, simple construction, timeless.

  • interesting. thanks. i’ve been considering brick as well too

  • Dudes, stop harshing on the neighbors. The slate has been there as long as I have lived here (7 years) and the guy who lives there works very hard to always have a perfect and beautiful garden. Plus, he is just a super nice guy and great neighbor. I don’t think he is planing to sell, if he installed the slate, he did it to make his garden look nice, not to flip the house.

    There is a lot of negativity on this forum. Remember, every garden or door or house you harsh on actually belongs to a real person, with real feelings.

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