July 2020

Stone and Succulents: A Coral Reef Treasure

The owner of this Wrightsville Beach residence created what he calls a “coral reef style garden ,” echoing his passion for scuba diving and the shapes, textures and beauty found beneath the sea. He told us the narrow yard was originally full of overgrown, diseased oleanders. (Photos by Renee Sauer)

Having spent time in Japan, he designed a delicate interplay between water, stone and greenery to dramatic effect. He particularly likes using sedums.

Stone, sand and succulents create a natural art gallery along the pathway. “This limestone boulder has lines, layers and texture, and evokes ancient sculpture.” TN wall boulders make the perfect stone edging with their flat tops or can be stacked to build a wall as shown below.

Thick stepping stones nestled in mondo grass create a lush stairway.

Lincoln Creek blue-brown flagstones, ideal for stepping stone pathways, lead us to a parade of impressive boulders, each with its own character.

This lichen-covered boulder perfectly anchors the landscape.

“The ‘Mama boulder’ has a place of honor at the corner of the property. It’s a massive piece from Stone Garden’s outdoor display at the old store location.”

Feather Rock Boulder-Boulder Edging-Succulents

“Note how the lines in the Featherock dive into the earth below. The key is to set the rock like it has always been there … to show its timelessness.” Featherock is a lightweight, volcanic stone commonly known as pumice.

“This boulder is affectionately called the “Shar-Pei stone” as it appears to be covered in wrinkles like the dog. The color of the rock face is ever-changing and is particularly beautiful at dusk.”

Moving such a mass of boulders is an enormous undertaking. The homeowner credits Thorpe Landscapes with creative solutions for placing them in the tight spaces of the yard.

“Thorpe Landscapes had the equipment and the knowledge. Danny, Anne and their team are the best. A special thanks to Courtney at Stone Garden for introducing us.”

The homeowner is also grateful to Lucas and Orlando Alfaro, the masons who created the exceptionally tight, dry-fitted joints of this pathway. Water and wave patterns in the stone continue the coral reef theme.

The triple basalt fountain was an ‘impulse buy’ installed by Stone Garden’s Ryan Shaw. The water feature is set off with a surprising array of textured greenery. ” I like to pack every square inch with sedums for ground cover. They have minimal water needs and are low maintenance, as there’s no room for weeds.”

Big thanks to the homeowner for taking us on this amazing tour. He has interwoven a spectacular boulder collection, meandering stone pathways, a calming water feature, and a mix of colorful plantings to evoke a coral reef-like garden treasure.