Spruce Up With Stone




Most often when homeowners think of granite, they think of beautiful (and at times pricey) counter tops for the kitchen. But this year as the snow recedes and your yard is left looking a little drab, why not take the granite out of the kitchen and put it back outside? This is, after all, the granite state. Think beyond rock walls and get creative with this lovely natural resource we're so lucky to have on hand. From benches and birdbaths to steps and patios, there are any number of ways to incorporate granite and other stone products into your yard's makeover. If you're not planning on a complete overhaul, keep in mind that it doesn't always take a huge amount of effort to make your yard much more attractive. Aside from steps some of the most popular items, says David Duford of Swenson Granite Works, are simply granite lamp and mailbox posts. "People love the idea of a granite mailbox post, after their wooden ones have been destroyed by the snow plows," he explains.
Based in Concord with a total of eight locations throughout New England and a 125,000-square-foot production plant in Barre, Vermont, Swenson Granite Works is still a family-owned business after four generations. With an impressive range of granite (and other stone) options from small things, like lamp posts, benches and cobblestones to steps, pavers for larger areas like patios, fountains, edgers for your driveway or garden and much more, there's bound to be an option that fits your home, budget and personal style. A common misconception, says Duford, is that anything granite is expensive and takes months of waiting before you see the final result. But really, he adds, that's simply not the case. In part, explains Duford, costs are kept lower through a combination of production techniques that continue to improve with time, and by producing larger quantities to stock at Swenson's stores. Besides its natural beauty, granite is, to probably state the obvious, one of the most durable forms of rock. A hard, coarse-grained rock that is actually made up of different, interlocking minerals, once you install those granite steps, they're in it for the long haul. Granite is one of those rare elements of your yard that won't require a ton of maintenance and upkeep. And, happily for New Englanders, rock salt and other ice melting materials won't damage the stone. Granite actually weathers beautifully over the years, and dirt can be cleaned away with soapy water and a stiff scrub brush. Oil or grease stains require a bit more effort, and it's recommended you contact your granite retailer for help to avoid damage. Though you probably think of a lighter gray when you think of granite, colors include variations of light pinks, darker grays and nearly black, and all come in a variety of finishes. For a natural resource that's so permanent, it's actually incredibly versatile. NH

Other Granite and Stone Suppliers (interior and exterior) Blue Fish Granite North Hampton (603) 964-4120 http://bluefishgranite.com Triad Associates Inc. Serving N.H. Haverhill, MA (978) 373-4223 www.triadassociatesinc.com Barcelona Tile & Stone Nashua (603) 579-9600 www.barcelonatileandstone.com Elegance in Stone Merrimack (603) 394-4538 www.unitedtileamerica.com Ripano Stoneworks, Ltd. Nashua (603) 886-6655 www.ripano.com Rumford Stone Pembroke (603) 224-9876 www.rumfordstone.com
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