When it comes to landscaping, homeowners in southeastern Pennsylvania have a variety of options to beautify their outdoor spaces and make them more functional. Part of that design is softscaping—the trees, plants, flowers, and shrubs that bring your outdoor space to life. The other part of the design is hardscaping, or the permanent, non-living pieces that give structure and versatility to your outdoor spaces.
Stone is a popular material for many hardscaping projects, from walkways and water features to patios and retaining walls. Stone comes in a huge variety of types and cuts, and each has its own beauty and special attributes that add style to your landscaping. To give you an idea of the choices you have in incorporating stone into your landscaping projects, here are a few of the most popular types of stone being used in outdoor spaces:
· Flagstone. Flagstone is most often seen in patios, garden paths, and walkways. It is a natural stone that is generally cut into larger sized, flat slabs. This makes it perfect for walkways and patios, as the even surface makes it safe for walking and provides a flat foundation for the placement of outdoor furniture. Because flagstone is a natural stone, it has variations of color and shading that give it a customized look. Depending on your style, you can get flagstone cut to uniform shapes so they look more like traditional tiles you can lay out in a grid format, or you can keep the natural, irregular shape of the slabs for a more rustic look
· Sandstone. Sandstone is extremely popular for a number of reasons. It is prized not only for its beauty and the array of colors it comes in, but also for its versatility and durability. Sandstone is a natural stone that is very easy to maintain, lasts a long time without being affected by the elements, and is soft enough to be easily cut into custom sizes and shapes. Some common uses for this beautiful, grainy stone are patios and outdoor steps.
· Limestone. Limestone is a subtle, elegant, natural stone. While it doesn’t come in a huge range of colors, one of limestone’s distinguishing features is that it is a sedimentary rock—that means that it formed over time from deposits of sediment and particles. Because of that, limestone can have pieces of coral or shell in it which lends a beautiful and unique character to the stone. In landscaping, limestone can be used as larger, flat slabs in walkways and patios, and also as gravel to line gardens and pathways. A potential drawback of limestone, however, is that it can be slippery when it’s wet, so if you are using limestone for a walkway it’s important to make sure it is texturized with a treatment like sand blasting.
· Slate. Slate is a popular landscaping choice because of its unique texture, sophisticated look, and durability. Slate forms underground from layer upon layer of shale and other stone shifting to create thin, compressed layers of rock. Typically, slate has a high quartz content, which contributes to its natural beauty. Most slate is found in the gray color scale, but sometimes it can appear in other shades as well depending on the percentage of different minerals and organic compounds in it. The stone is commonly used in walkways, and can be finished in a variety of ways, from the natural look of clefted slate to the texturized, lightly sanded feel of honed slate and the more rare (and slippery!) high gloss of polished slate.
These are just a few of the many options available to you as you bring the beauty and durability of stone into your landscaping. For more information on how to enhance your outdoor space with stone, call Modern Landscapes today!