Natural stone in lanscape design

Between a Rock & a Hardscape: Incorporating Stone Into Your Landscaping

The aesthetic appeal of hardscaping will bring vibrant beauty back to your outdoor space. Successfully blending plants and stone, various textures, and greens and grays can transform a banal yard into a landscape with impressive visual splendor. 

But how do you do it successfully? How do you strike a balance? Let’s discuss. 

Landscape Balance 

When deciding to incorporate hardscaping onto your property, ensure that the elements complement your landscape. 

You don’t want conspicuous boulders protruding from the lawn or clashing shapes and lines. When creating a stone landscape design, your aim is to organically blend the unique appearance of your landscape with the architecture of the hardscape. 

The shape of cut stone or tile, pathways or patio, should naturally transition into the surroundings. Furthermore, these designs should extend to harmonize with your home’s exterior architecture. Textural balance is also crucial to the overall appearance of your property makeover. Adhere to a textural theme of stone or wood and limit the textures to two, advises HGTV. 

When outlining the landscape design for your home, you’ll want to consider balancing three key elements: greenery, pathways, and the use of stone in patios and walkways. 

Greenery

Don’t allow your hardscaping project to get out of hand and overrun your lawn. Keep some vegetation and greenery to frame your yard installations. For example, you can plant blue fescue and your favorite flowers to border stone steps. Or, plant shady moss under and around a fieldstone path. 

If you really want to create an oasis, consider implementing one or all of the following greenery elements:

  • Flowers When choosing flowers to complement your stone landscape design, keep in mind that most flowers are sun-seekers and will not want to be shoved under any shady overhangs. Decide how much maintenance you can commit to your flowers—perennials are lower maintenance, but annuals can be strikingly beautiful additions (think dahlias and begonias). Plant colorful flowers close together for a lush look, or space out muted pastels mixed with green shrubs for a more modern, streamlined aesthetic. 
  • Shrubs – Shrubs are ideal for homeowners who lack a natural green thumb. These easy-to-maintain plants provide a backbone for your landscape, creating a verdant border or attractive accent to balance out your natural stone elements. Shrubs are easier to transplant than trees, so you can move your shrubbery around until you find the right fit. Some of the best shrubs (that are stable in most environments) for landscaping include oak leaf hydrangeas, rose bushes, mountain laurel, and rose of sharon. 
  • Grass block pavers – Grass block pavers are a unique way to bring earthy green elements to a hardscape. These pavers can be sold as individual pieces or in sets, and are typically made from recycled plastic or concrete, so you can rest easy knowing they’re eco-friendly.  
  • Green wall – Green walls, also known as living walls or vertical gardens, are an excellent way to add greenery to your stone landscape design if you don’t have much grass or you’re worried about keeping flowers, shrubs, and trees alive. Green walls can also help a building (like your home) be more energy efficient and can provide extra insulation. Plant walls can be constructed using soil, fiber mats, or plastic sheets. 

If you’re designing a landscape for a family, keep a swath of grassy lawn for the kids, suggests HGTV. To easily maneuver around the hardscape obstacles, a zero turn lawn mower will help you to maintain well-manicured lawns. 

Pathways 

That old dirt pathway in your backyard could probably use a visual makeover. Depending on where you live, you’ll probably want to use different material to create your new pathways. 

For example, when it comes to Southwestern homes, fine desert gravel surrounded by a coarser slate gravel, mulch, and cacti or agave makes for an appealing pathway, opines Sunset.com. 

You can set small rocks or pebbles flat-side up in concrete for a smooth path or create a more textured path using simplistic flagstone set in multicolored gravel. According to landscape designer Susan Murphy, when creating a pathway for your home, your eye should travel toward a destination, but have pleasant visual pauses along the way.

To achieve this, consider using an ornamental lantern or weeping evergreen to subtly build up to the main attraction. The focal point could be a stone fountain or statue at the end of the path, or perhaps an eye-catching green wall that spans several feet. 

In addition to foot traffic pathways, think about the pathway for your car. Entertain the idea of renovating your driveway with a material other than asphalt. Stone pavers set in a consistent pattern will give your driveway an idiosyncratic quality in comparison to your neighbors.

Patio & Stone Walls 

Low stone walls add rustic allure to any landscape. When designing your wall, choose a regionally appropriate variety of stone, one that matches the distant mountains, desert sandstone or granite, for instance. 

Not only do walls add charm, but they serve a utilitarian function as well by holding back slopes when integrated into the hilly turf. Homeowners can also erect a retaining wall to encompass a patio! 

Setting up a semicircular stone wall enclosing a gravel patio and central sycamore tree is one nontraditional patio option. Another is the soft patio—a “best of both worlds” solution to a lawn and patio. This irregular combination intertwines paving stones and surrounding grass turf, a look you may be able to master with the use of grass block pavers.  

For additional  inspiration, we’ve also shared our exterior stone veneer ideas.

Materials Marketing: Design Your Dream Stone Landscape Today 

Whether you’re revamping your current landscape or you’re moving into a new home and tackling a stone landscape design for the first time, you’ll want to be sure to balance natural elements to achieve a seamless hardscape. 

As always, at Materials Marketing we pride ourselves on our “hands-on” service. 

To that end, we have 11 showrooms around the U.S. with design professionals on site to answer all your natural stone queries. Consider asking them about the limestone from our A.J. Brauer quarry so our experts can help you realize your dreams.

Sources: 

  1. Gardenista. 10 Easy Pieces: Grass Block Pavers.  https://www.gardenista.com/posts/10-easy-pieces-grass-block-pavers/ 
  2. Grounds Keeper. 4 Brilliant Ways To Use Natural Stone In Your Landscape. https://www.groundskeeperinc1973.com/4-brilliant-ways-to-use-natural-stone-in-your-landscape/ 
  3. Lawnstarter. Green Walls: How to Create a Living Landscape (or Wallscape). https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/landscaping/green-walls/ 
  4. The Platinum Group. Modern Landscape Design with Greenery in Mind. https://www.platinumsdgroup.com/blog//modern-landscape-design-with-greenery-in-mind-in-the-glen-cove-ny-area 
  5. Southwest Stone Supply. Top 10 Tips for Using Boulders to Improve Your Landscape Design. https://southweststonesupply.com/top-10-tips-using-boulders-landscape/
  6. The Spruce. Guide to Picking Landscaping Plants.  https://www.thespruce.com/plant-selection-for-the-landscape-2131865 
  7. The Spruce. 11 Best Landscaping Shrubs. https://www.thespruce.com/best-landscaping-shrubs-4138292 
  8. Stonetree. How to Use Rocks in Your Landscape Design. https://stonetreestg.com/how-to-use-rocks-in-your-landscape-design/