Whether it’s a large boulder as part of a landscape feature, stones for a water feature, or large solid stone steppers, large stones can be an impressive part of any landscape.
And anybody who has ever watched our crew in action also knows that we are somewhat of minimalists when it comes to heavy equipment. As far as I’m concerned if the ancient cultures were able to build Machu Pichu and Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids and the amazing cathedrals of Europe with little or no heavy machinery, then certainly we can move around a couple of 800 lb stones without leaving too much of a carbon footprint.
Over the years I’ve had a few clients who have looked at me somewhat in amazement when I tell them we’ll be moving the stones around by manpower with no large excavators or heavy equipment. These same clients also watch us in awe as we wrestle the big stones around on planks and rollers and get them into place, and when the job is done they tell us how much they enjoyed watching us use old tried and true techniques.
My reasons for opting for these methods include a few things. A New England colleague of mine who also favors the manpower method refers to it as “New England frugal” to put it politely.
And true, that is part of it. But there’s more, much more in my opinion. Anytime I can skip the smoke-inducing diesel-hogging gas fueled machines is a good thing in my book. I think too many people are too quick to jump to heavy machinery just because it’s there. And any opportunity to help with the environment should be jumped upon in my eyes. Others may disagree with me somewhat -- fair enough. But that's my opinion.
Additionally though, heavy equipment can tear things up. Whether it’s scuffing the very stones we’re putting into place, or tearing up the driveway with heavy treads, heavy machinery can do some damage to the site.
I’m also a firm believer of really immersing myself in a project while its being completed. At the risk of sounding too zen-like and new-age, I think there is a value in the opportunity to get my hands on every stone as its being installed. It helps get a true feel for the project and, in my opinion, helps to create a more successful outcome.
And there’s also the “wow” factor. Whenever we start moving big stones around by hand, there always seems to
be a small crowd to gather to watch us, and the comments are always positive as people marvel over our techniques.
And there is no greater sense of satisfaction than at the end of a hard day wrestling large stones around, seeing those things in place knowing we put them there. By hand. After personally having completed a number of these projects I have little to no patience for people who say it can’t be done.
About a year or so ago, a colleague of mine on an online forum referred me to this video, and I since have referred to it a number of times when speaking with clients or prospects.
One Man Moves Huge Stones with No Equipment
It’s pretty amazing to watch. Basically this guy in Michigan has set out to demonstrate how they built Stonehenge with no heavy equipment. And he’s building a Stonehenge replica in his backyard by himself with pieces weighing as much as 25 tons and no heavy equipment. And little to no help. Shows you the power of the body’s strongest muscle – the brain – when used properly.
This is one of those videos that I’ve watched a few dozen times, and it constantly serves as inspiration to me that anything can be done given the time and ingenuity. I hope you find it as interesting and entertaining as I do!