Flagstone patios, winding paths, retaining walls, decorative bridges and musical waterfalls - these are the elements that can make a backyard garden look and feel special.
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a one-stop shop to do it all without the headache of dealing with several different stone treatments?
As it turns out, southern New Mexico now has that alternative, via Southwest Stone Creations. Based in Deming, the company is an affiliate of nationally recognized hardscape specialists StoneMakers Inc., which has spent the past 25 years replicating, in hue, complexity and texture, the look and feel of actual stonework using a proprietary concrete process that allows for molding, sculpting and fast-set design.
"As far as I know, there isn't anybody else even close to this area doing what we do," said Southwest Stone Creations owner Jeremy Wainwright. "I think the closest is Colorado Springs."
A veteran of the armed services, Wainwright acquired the skills and his resulting business through a Veterans Administration-approved program that allowed him to be trained in the specialized area that would put his construction background to good use. Now out of the Army, he is moving full-steam ahead with a new career and a product he can feel proud of.
"We make retaining walls, waterfalls, walkways, patios, you name it, using solid concrete," Wainwright said. "But it's carved and textured. We can do bridges over ponds. We can do stone firepits, or make it look like a tree stump. They don't always have to look like stone. We can do benches that look like logs and posts holding a pergola up that look like trees. We can do pretty much anything you can think of."
Though the secret to StoneMakers success in the hardscape market is proprietary, Wainwright gives some insight into how the process works.
"We add a super plasticizer, then let the concrete sit for 10 or 15 minutes after we pour," he said. "That lets it crystallize, so we can stack it. Really, what it does is speed up the crystallizing process that already occurs in concrete, but multiplies the speed by days. It hardens up a lot quicker, but it stays soft enough that it can be carved. After a couple weeks it hardens to about 6,500 to 10,000 pounds per square inch, instead of traditional concrete which is between 3,000 to 4,000 psi."
Firepits and benches can be crafted to look like stone, brick or even wood, depending on the location's needs.
Working as trained artisans, the hardscape specialists create the illusion of stone, flagstone, brick, block or even wood, all by hand, carving and molding as they go, based on sketches created to the specifications of the property owner. As an example, Wainwright describes his largest project to date.
"It was a triple spill waterfall with four retaining walls," he said. "There was a patio and a walkway, with a fire pit and bench, then a stairway onto a railroad tie bridge over a pond with a ledgefall and a small patio on the other side of the bridge. It was all one project and it took three days from start to finish."
The result is a custom-designed living space built to harmonize with any exterior landscape, done in a fraction of the time at reasonable rates.
"Nobody that does real stone can work at the pace we work," Wainwright said. "They can't get as much square footage done as we can, for the simple fact that we are the only business in the area that can stack walls without forms. The StoneMaker product I use is the only one that will allow it. It's also real quick. Our price per square foot is pretty competitive, because we can charge lower than most, depending on what kind of stone we're carving into it."
Currently taking orders in Deming, Silver City and Las Cruces, Wainwright and his Southwest Stone Creations team are offering introductory specials for those Bulletin readers quick enough to pick up the phone and give them a call.
"Right now, we've got 15 percent off deal on the first four firepits and benches that call in, then 10 percent off the fifth," Wainwright said. "We also do a deal with businesses, like landscapers, nurseries and places like that. If they let us install a waterfall or pond in their building, any jobs that come off that, they get 10 percent. Call and we'll talk prices."
Fashioned entirely from concrete, waterfalls, bridges and ponds are specialties of Southwest Stone Creations.
David Salcido can be reached at 680-18945 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Reinventing the stone - A unique alternative to block construction By David Salcido
Las Cruces Bulletin September 5,2014
Copyright (c) 2014 OPC News, LLC. All rights reserved. 09/05/2014