On a recent project, my crew and I incorporated a number of traditional Japanese building features, including a series of turned, structural cedar posts bearing on natural fieldstone footings. The posts support a wide roof overhang, which sheds its runoff directly onto a "moat" of 3/4-inch crushed stone that wraps the building's perimeter between the foundation and the drip line (see photo below).

The footing stones appear to "float" in the gravel bed but are actually embedded in concrete on top of conventional, 10-inch-diameter sonotube piers that terminated just below finished grade. We stood the sonotubes on Bigfoot bases (F&S Manufacturing, 800/934-0393, www.bigfootsystems.com) to ensure good distribution of the...

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