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."