While running a landscape business for 10 years is no mean feat, brothers Matt and Luke are even more proud of the hundreds of years the natural stonework they specialise in will last.
Matt and Luke Alder are a rare breed who have learnt the traditional art of stonemasonry and then added their own modern twist to bring it into the 21st Century and to a viable Australian market.
After completing their apprenticeships the boys went to the UK, visiting family, travelling separately and working for a few landscaping companies. This is where Matt, the older of the two, said he fell in love with the properties, textures and structural abilities of natural stone.
“My wife and I moved up to Scotland and that’s where I got the passion for stonework,” said Matt. “I worked with a bloke who used to work for the Royal Botanic Gardens back in the day, so he had an old-school style of stonework. We were working on a church conversion into boutique flats in the middle of winter. This guy was 70 years old and still going strong. He was a mentor to me.”
When Matt and Luke returned to Sydney in 2010 they started their own landscaping business called DUAL Landscapes & Stonework. It was slow going at first, but they soon found their groove. Being based and working around the Northern Beaches has its advantages as there is a strong demand for natural-style stone walls because of how well they complement the area. Not wanting to pigeonhole themselves as traditional stonemasons, DUAL offers all other types of contemporary structural landscaping techniques to work in conjunction with their classical craft.
“A lot of stonemasons won’t touch landscaping or paving or anything else, but we do it all,” continued Matt. “We do retaining walls, besser block walls, concreting, paving, tiling, natural stone cladding, but our favourite work – and it’s a bit of a niche market – is natural dry-stone walls.”
DUAL Landscapes & Stonework now employs five staff with a back-log of jobs lined up for their specialty services. Not even a pandemic could slow them down. Matt has a great theory about why their trade – and many others – has not been affected by recent COVID-19 restrictions: “People are sitting at home starting what
I like to call ‘iso jobs’. They’ve either started something and realised they need to call in the professionals, or they’re sitting around looking at their yard 24/7 because they can’t go anywhere and thinking, ‘I’ve really got to get that paving work done, or put up that retaining wall around the fire pit’.”
A lot of the work the Alders do is in confined spaces with tight access. They recently purchased a little 1.7 tonne Yanmar excavator, which they say is one of the best investments they’ve made. Besides that, they use regular tools and hard, back-breaking manual labour. Known to be particularly fussy, they actually go to the quarry to pick out and hand-load their own stones so they can stack them better and choose the right coloured and shaped stones for the job.
While they still use various man-made materials, what Matt likes best about the traditional ways of constructing using natural stone is the longevity of what they create. “I visited my grandmother’s house in Ireland, which is still standing today,” Matt said. “This thing has been there for hundreds of years. That’s the selling point of natural stone; it has been here longer than us and it will be here longer than us. Any other material just isn’t as solid. If we had our choice it would be to do more natural stonework; it’s superior and so much more sustainable.”
Corinthian Doors’ Platinum Cavity Range
Corinthian Doors’ Platinum Cavity range opens the door to practicality, functionality and a stylish personality.
Builders, trades and developers experience many pain points onsite and a common one relates to the use of traditional timber cavity units, particularly in wet areas. Load capacity limitations on cavity sliding systems can be problematic, and when exposed to moisture, timber cavity units are prone to moisture absorption, rotting, bowing and white ants, impacting the structures’ integrity over time and therefore, warranty issues. To assist builders in meeting clients’ needs for functionality as well as style, Corinthian Doors (Corinthian) has designed the Platinum Cavity Collection, a range of steel cavity units, engineered for superior strength, space and design choice.
Corinthian’s Platinum Cavity units are ideal for new builds and major renovations within both residential and commercial spaces. With a wide selection of widths and heights across three-unit configurations, as well as a heavy-duty track option, the product is suitable for a range of applications, including floor to ceiling doorways and tiled wet areas.
“Over time, traditional timber cavity units can hold up poorly in high-moisture and wet areas like bathrooms and laundries,” says Amy Ryan, Corinthian Doors, Marketing Manager. “Thanks to its steel construction, the Platinum Cavity ensures resistance to moisture, warping, bowing, white ants and rot. The range offers superior performance and durability and has been independently assessed to be fit-for-purpose for tiled wall applications and comes with a five-year warranty.”
All units are made-to-order with the Platinum 6000 and Platinum 9000 offering track load carrying capacity for single applications up to 125kg per door. All Platinum Cavity units are supplied in a flush jamb configuration and can be converted to a flush pull configuration by retrofitting two 60mm converter bumper stops to the back post prior to installation.
Beyond the physical aspects of the Platinum Cavity unit, the practicality of cavity door sliding solutions allows you to maximise spatial efficiency. A cavity door does not impede floor and wall space or obstruct furniture or fittings, unlike swing doors, which require a clear area to open and close.
“Doors play an important part of the look and function of a home. The new Platinum Cavity range provides builders with options to deliver on more ambitious briefs and be confident that they are using a quality product that is going to cause them less headaches in the long run,” adds Amy. Corinthian’s range of interior door designs are compatible with Platinum Cavity, providing design versatility for the homeowner, and the opportunity to play with new materials and styles, using the door as a canvas to create a statement.