The Benefits of Using Decorative Landscaping Stone
Since I posted our project about utilizing landscaping stone as a ground cover at a client’s property, I’ve received a few calls regarding landscaping stone and it’s feasibility within different projects. Although not as widely used today as in previous years, the use of decorative stone as a ground cover is making a comeback as a “green” sustainable landscaping alternative to have besides the standard green grass lawn area.
Coming in a variety of sizes and colors, natural colors seem to be the most popular as they enhance the appearance of today’s landscaping and are effective in reducing maintenance costs and can be a solution to drought or dry areas.
There are many benefits to using landscape stone instead of mulch, wood, concrete or other materials. Whether it is a stone patio, walkway or flower bed, the choice to use landscape stone will add value to your project in a cost effective manner.
- Adds Curb Appeal—Landscape stone can help the property to look completed, polished and elegant, making anyone that comes to visit appreciate the aesthetic beauty.
- Looks Beautiful—Landscape stones look great. Using them can create a pleasing backdrop for your home or business.
- Weather Resistant—Stone does not wear down like other materials and holds up well in all types of weather.
- Tough Material—Landscape stone is strong and tough, can hold up under weather and looks good for a long time.
- Long Lasting—Stone does not decompose. It can last for decades. Though the color may fade slightly, it lasts much longer than other materials.
- Safety Benefits—Stone is less slippery in winter than concrete or wood.
- Reduced Maintenance—Stone does not require maintenance. It will not need to be replaced yearly like mulch and is less likely to allow for weeds to grow.
- Helps Drainage—Landscape stone can be placed so that water can drain from your yard and still look good.
TYPES OF LANDSCAPING STONE
CRUSHED GRAVEL – by definition this is any type of stone and/or rock that has been ground down and crushed from larger pieces of stone. Generally after crushing the material is then sifted to sort out the different sizes. These range from 1/4 of an inch in size but can be as large as 2 inches. Crushed gravel makes for a great filler when creating stone pathways, is excellent used as edging. Tamping crushed gravel after installation helps to compact it and holds it in place during severe or inclement weather. Many people choose to use this type of stones in and around children’s play areas, as they are shock absorbent and recreationally safe. Crushed gravel can even be used in lieu of sand in sandboxes, or as an alternative to traditional organic mulch.
RIVER ROCK- This type is perhaps the most widely utilized in landscaping. These stones have a natural rounded shape and are found in river beds where the erosion of water creates their shape. Coming in small, medium, large and real large sizes, river rock also looks great when different sizes are utilized together. River Rock SHOULD NOT be used on a sloping surface as their shape allows for them to move over time due to their roundness and the flow of water down the slope. It can bunch up at the bottom or tend to build up in low spots.
COBBLE STONE – Usually used a dry creek beds, cobble stone generally is not suited for walking surfaces because of their size and shape. The ideal uses for cobble stone include dividing areas of the landscaping, as a ground cover for focal points in the landscape and to accent hardscapes.
OUTCROPPING AND BOULDERS – Outcropping and boulders can be used to create a beautiful landscape design to add appeal to your property. A variety of different types of stone can be used to create this visually appealing look.
FLAGSTONE/FIELDSTONE – Flagstone is a large, durable, flat stone. It is easy to work with and is low maintenance. This landscape stone comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Depending on the area from which you get the flagstone, it can be red, pink, orange, blue, brown, gold or white. Since the sizes and shapes vary, flagstone is very flexible and can create a wide range of designs. Projects that flagstone are perfect for are:
- Paths Walkways
- Seating Areas Walls
LANDSCAPE STONE SELECTION
Once you have decide what type of decorative stone you would like to use on your property, either crushed, river or cobble, it is time to start looking at the details. There are four primary elements that can help homeowners to choose what type of stone ground cover to use in their landscaping or hardscaping project.
COLOR – There are a wide range of natural colors to choose from, Browns, beiges, whites and gray can be mixed and used together in interesting combinations of colors and textures in both residential and commercial landscape settings. Blues and purples add a sense of depth to any pathway, garden or stone ground cover edging along a bed. Select your colors based on taste, style and decor of existing structures or areas, keeping in mind that darker colors tend to absorb heat while lighter colors create a cooler and more ambient atmosphere.
DEPTH – When replacing a lawn area, stone must be in a thick enough layer to prevent bald spots, weed growth and other issues. The thinner the decorative stone that you use, for example finely crushed gravel, the thicker the depth of the layer must be to prevent it from moving around too much. A two inch thickness is the minimum that should be used to replace a lawn, while a three inch or thicker layer must be used for a driveway or parking area to prevent movement.
BASE – A base layer can be used to add further protection against weed growth and other common landscaping issues. Plastic used to be the material of choice, but today most professional landscapers recommend fabric. The problem with plastic is that it will eventually break down, especially after repeated walking on the surface, allowing gravel to spread and weeds to pop up in no time. Weed barrier fabric is different, as it allows water and air to get down into the soil, while still blocking the light to prevent weed growth. Whether or not you need to use a base material depends on the condition of the ground being covered. For our project where the pool was removed, the ground was compacted from years of use and the weight of the pool water and was comprised of a high percentage of compacted sand and soil.
COST – Compared to other sustainable landscaping materials, stone ground cover is very cost-effective and affordable. However, there are still lots of different types and pricing of decorative stones. Keep the cost in mind as you shop for stone ground cover and consider the benefits of using decorative stone. Also think about how you will move it. Stone is much heavier than grass seed and other landscaping materials.
If you have a need for decorative landscaping stone within your residential or commercial property setting and aren’t sure of just what you need, give almost PERFECT Landscaping a call at 201-301-6979 or drop us a line today and we’ll be glad to help you with your project.