London Stone Masonry created a large (1metre x 1metre) hand carved stone planter for an exclusive private estate.
The client is a long-standing customer. They appreciate discretion, and our respect for the estate’s security, so we will not go into too many details about the project on this page.
The brief was to create a planter to match an existing one that stands on a large Portland stone patio area on the estate.
We visited the site to examine and template the original planter base, and began to source various stones to find the best match. We selected a particular block of Portland roach bed, and sent samples to the client’s representatives.
Once the client signed-off on the stone selection, we set to work hand carving the large slabs of roach to the required facade template.
When each stone section was completed, a date was agreed and we used a crane to lift the stones into position.
We then assembled the stones using brackets, dowels and two part glue. Once secure and dry, the planter was thoroughly “tanked” – waterproofed on the inside. The tanking was the final part of the project. Site was cleared, cleaned and our work was done!
Pictured: The monumental stone planter we created
Challenges we overcame on this project included
Creating the “single block” appearance
The finished planter appears to have been carved from a single block of Portland roach bed stone. However, we created the planter from a number of pieces of roach stone, as purchasing a huge single block would be unnecessarily expensive.
We achieved this “single block” appearance by careful infilling and delicate drilling.
Portland roach bed contains large grey shell fragments. The shells include turreted gastropods (“Portland Screws”), as well as large clam shells.
As the stone naturally has many small voids caused by its shell composition, we matched the planter’s sections by creating a stone mix from the off-cuts of roach bed. The off-cuts were crushed into varying small sizes and mixed with specialist cements, then carefully infilled into the voids. We then sanded back the infills using many grades of sand paper to match colour and texture.
We also created voids in the stone using a tiny drill, similar to those used in dentistry. The combination of the two techniques disguised any joins, creating the appearance of a planter carved out of one block.
Due to the location of the patio on the estate, we could not use a wheeled vehicle to move and place the planter. Instead, a date was agreed when other works were being carried out on site, allowing us to use a crane to lift the stones into position. Each section was strapped and secured using masonry lifting equipment and hoisted into its location, so that construction of the planter could be completed quickly and safely.
Photos from the workshop: how we created the hand carved stone planter