Landscaping With Stones

Planning and Preparing Your Landscape

Landscapes are man-made, they could be mixed with nature while others are cut, carved and built in their entirety. The goal in landscape building is longevity, making landscapes of stones one of the important indicators of past cultures. Stones used in landscaping may be rocks, pebbles and boulders. It could be carved, cut, uncut, cleft giving each stone its own unique characteristics of size, shape, color and density. Stones as the natural clothing or mantle of the earth is the most intriguing artifact for landscape architects.

Black-Lava-RockHowever due to the cost of obtaining stone for landscape, effective use of each stone is non-negotiable. The architect must consider the visual appeal and the feasibility of the stone intended for the choice landscaping site. The stone must fit into the site intended for landscaping which leaves the architect with the option of deciding which stone best serves his purpose. He could either obtain stones from water courses that makes them rounded, grey and offer little contrast or a stone that have sustained microbes due to the corrosive nature of iron that blends easily into a new location. Since rocks are naturally heavy, distance must be considered in its acquisition as transportation from long distance increases the cost of landscaping. When rocks are available, once again the site determines the choice used. For example if the site is a garden; warmth is provided by tawny beach pebbles or river rocks while marble chips help brighten shady areas. A tropical landscape would be greatly enhanced by flat terracotta stones and black lava stones are used for modern landscape.

In selection of ground cover (especially when landscaping a garden), using mulch (protective organic covering laid over soil to prevent erosion, retain moisture and sometimes enrich soil) will only generate unnecessary work as it must be replaced every season while rocks though more expensive is more durable. Another value rocks add to landscaping is the striking contrast it provides which brightens shady corners of landscapes. Weed growth is also hindered by rocks when landscaping is in gardens but a weed barrier is essential before putting stones in place.

Center Piece Stone
Center Piece Stone

Some Creative Ideas
Creating a centerpiece is an eye-catching focal point especially when landscaping gardens. For this purpose, a large unusually-shaped boulder is often used for this purpose. A boulder is simply a large fragment of rock greater than 200 mm/8 in diameter. Creation of a centerpiece adds visual interest and appreciation of the landscape. However arrangement of stones alone doesn’t highlight beauty and proper contrast if there is no appreciation for properties of stone used. A stone taller than it is wide typically used on the taller half of waterfalls or as a central stone in a composition is usually called a tall vertical. The opposite is a low vertical which is a stone wider than it is tall. It is usually a massive stone, carefully placed to complement tall vertical stones so they don’t appear as monolith.

When an oddly shaped stone overhangs on right or left which could also be referred to as a thrusting stone, this is known as arching. It is slightly lower than the low vertical stone and usually used to give firmness and durability to places like the corner of a stone bridge which considered as part of the vital points of a garden. This design can prove a bit tricky and usually require the experience of a professional landscape architect as the stone is planted at an angle to make a moderate arch more permanent.

Reclining Boulder
Reclining Boulder

Another design stone is known as reclining where the boulder looks like the shape of a reclining animal with the head on one end higher and narrower than the hips on the opposite end and generally regarded as the ox stone because of the strength it represents. All these gives landscaping with stones an intriguing subject to consider.

Ready to add some boulder and stone to your landscape?  Contact Us for more information and a free quote!

One thought on “Landscaping With Stones

  1. I have always been fascinated by adding stones to decorate my lawn. I particularly like the stepping stones you put on your lawn to create a scenic path. However, I saw an article somewhere else that discussed maintenance for cleaning. Some of these look easy to keep clean.

    On a side note, the center piece stones look magnificent. I know the little ones would get a kick out of them, especially when playing hide and seek. This was a fun article and I’m going to look further into this at the end of winter.

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