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Customized Hardscapes

by Stephen Kelly, regional editor

Sandstone wall construction at the north entry to the Two Rivers development began in 2000. Dennis M. Baker and Associates (Dennis and his son, Mike) and project engineer, Dan Torfin, joined Loring Evans, ASLA, founder and president of Montgomery Inc. of Boise, Idaho, to create this community. The sandstone is from the Table Rock quarry in Boise. The stone worker in the red shirt is Jesus Corona who Mr. Evans considers the best dry stack wall construction artisan he has ever worked with. Jesus and his team finish the face of the stone primarily with hand chisels. The base of each wall is compacted with road mix to a depth of one foot and the stone set one-foot below grade. The walls are back filled with a sand loam. After the grade is cantilevered above the wall, a 4-inch perforated-drain is placed behind the wall at its base and the water redirected to a drain inlet that flows into the bio-swales adjacent to the ponds. The walls are never built over four feet in height. The weight of the stone and the precision of the placement provides the stability.

When Loring Evans settled in Boise, Idaho in 1977, there were fewer than 100,000 souls living in this tranquil setting along the Boise River, tucked up against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and less than one million people in the entire state.

"When I became licensed as a landscape architect in 1980, the opportunity for a design only profession did not exist," says Loring Evans, ASLA, president and founder of Montgomery Inc.
For this reason, he chose to build what he designed, a decision for which he has no regrets.

"I believe to create space you have to live within that space,
feel the wind, listen to the sounds and take in all that surrounds you. When you are working with plants or natural stone the design can only be conceptual on paper. When the boulders arrive and the plants lay before you that is when you begin to create."

This estate at Moon Lake in Eagle, Idaho was designed and constructed in a collaborative effort with Loring Evans, ASLA, and Gerhart Borbonas, ASLA, though the residence was solely Evans' design. The patio and walk are mortar-set. Evans uses a 4-inch concrete base poured over a 4-inch compacted roadmix base. The pavers are grouted over the top of the concrete base. The dark pavers were molded by Lee Jones to allow imprinting of scriptural proverbs. The darker color emphasizes the lettering. The granite boulders from Garden Valley, Idaho have been smoothed for thousands of years by the Payette River.

Boise, the capital city, has steadily grown since his arrival, allowing for a "renaissance of ideas to unfold in a beautiful surrounding," Evans observes. Yes, Boise is no longer a secret. Just this year it was named "Best Place for Business and Careers" by Forbes and "Second Best City in America to Do Business" by Inc. magazine.

"I believe to create space you have to live within that space, feel the wind, listen to the sounds and take in all that surrounds you."--Loring M. Evans, ASLA, founder, president, Montgomery Inc.

Talent Helps

Montgomery Corp. employs the talents of many artists and craftsman-- specialists in their own individual art.

A double layer of 60 mil vinyl is placed behind the stone used for the waterfall. "This method works well when the water source is constantly fed by ground water and diverted river water," says Mr. Evans. The pumps, installed by Jay Caron Pump of Eagle, Idaho, were placed in concrete vaults adjacent to the ponds. A 10" intake extends out into the ponds, then into the pump vault. A screen fits over the end of the inlet pipe. The largest waterfall in Two Rivers requires two 5-hp pumps.

"The work is the collective efforts of many," says Evans. "It is my responsibility to first conceive the plan, then set in motion and work harmoniously with my peers until completion."

After 28 years of designing and building, he still has the passion.

"There are many projects that still remain conceptual, foundations for what can be spaces shared by generations to come. The next project, I hope, can be more beautiful than the last."

Lee Jones, of Paving Stone, installing the pavers himself. Most of the time his company manufactures the product but it is installed by the Cobblestone Company or Alps. "Lee has taught both these companies well," says Evans. The base for the pavers is a 4-6 inch bed of compacted road mix, with a two-inch layer of chiseled granite placed over this base. The paver sits upon the chiseled stone. When the pavers are set, sand is worked in between the pavers and a plate compactor is run over the surface upon completion.

The hardscapes featured herein include some of his work done in the last seven years, including the Two Rivers land development, in Eagle, Idaho, developed by Dennis M. Baker and Associates. Dennis and his son, Mike, and the project engineer, Dan Torfin, joined Evans to create this rustic community. He makes great use of the local sandstone to create dry stack walls and core-drilled, free-standing fountains.

The dry stack work is done by stonework craftsman Jesus Corona, originally from Ensenada, Mexico. Evans introduced Corona to the dry-stacking method about 16 years ago. The stone arrives on site in a rough cut form. Corona has developed into a real artisan of hand chiseling the stone to perfectly fit. Evans considers Corona the best dry-stack stone man he has ever worked with. These walls are never built over four feet tall. The weight of the stone and the precision of the placement provides the stability.

Loring Evans who designs and builds his projects, constructed a number of waterfalls that cascade from the sides of the many ponds within the Two Rivers development. Craftsman Jay Grieves, of MR Miller Inc., directed the placement of the sandstone quarried from the Owyhee Mountain Range south of Boise. "During construction of the falls, Jay often worked by himself. He runs every machine and prefers to work alone," explains Mr. Evans.

"They are not as strong as a manufactured wall, but are far more beautiful," says Evans. "Often when the site mandates a higher wall, I will use larger boulders or go to an engineered wall made of concrete or a Keystone product."

The other hardscapes are residential and include pavers atop a two-inch layer of chiseled granite with a 4-6 inch bed of compacted road mix as foundation; granite boulders from Garden Valley, Idaho, smoothed by the waters of the Payette River for thousands of years; granite drystack walls; concrete colored and stamped stairways with bull-nosed steps; and dark-colored pavers molded by Lee Jones to emphasize the lettering of imprinted scriptural proverbs, a project that took 14 months to complete. The final paver placed reads: "It is Finished."

The entry to a residence in the Terra Nativa development in Boise. The concrete stairs are colored and stamped. A bull-nosed step was selected for the shadows it casts. The railing is constructed of wrought iron by Precision Fence of Boise.


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February 26, 2020, 8:13 am PDT

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