When people come together in social spaces, ideas are shared and communities are strengthened. It was an honor to help build this pergola designed by my friend and supervisor, Ariel Von Raven of Symbiosis Regenerative Systems. First, the basic hexagon design was sketched out on paper using geometry based on a circle. Then the drawing was translated to the landscape using stakes, strings and paint.

One of the most useful tools in our repertoire are strings. For eons, masons have used this simple tool to create near-perfect circles, squares, rectangles, etc. They can also come in handy for leveling surfaces.

The next step was to set vertical 6×6″ posts in concrete in the ground, followed by the horizontal crossbeams along the top. After reinforcement and detail pieces were added, we turned our focus to the stonework.

When doing masonry projects, it is imperative that you start with a level surface (unless you’re doing terraces, stairs or some other inherently split level installation, and even then…) We used a laser level to get an accurate reading on the terrain, and after laying out the fire ring in the center, ran strings along the desired surface and built the pad up using road base and sand. Flag stones were puzzle-pieced together (the fun part) and after much meticulous attention to detail of stone placement and leveling, we added decorative river stones in the larger gaps, and then filled in the rest with polymeric sand, which hardens when wet. We carefully wet it down with a water hose, and gave it a few hours to set.

The final touches were added; a mosquito repellent system by Nutone (the little black stake near the post) and a 12V half-moon lighting system by Kichler and Voila! We hope this social area will be a community builder for our clients and a place to share love, laughs and good ideas!

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Creating Social Space
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