Stone has been appreciated by people for its qualities for at least 2.5 million years – for its durability for use in tools, lasting stability in architecture, and for its natural beauty. In more recent history, stone continues to be a natural choice for the landscape for many of the same reasons. Talk about enduring style. Here are just a few of the ways that we use stone in the contemporary landscape to achieve both modern and classic looks.
Since stone has been used since time immemorial, it has a place in our hearts as a “classic” aesthetic. We find that it has the ability to create ambiance like few other materials can. Travertine pavers and wall caps, such as those in this landscape above, instantly imbue the landscape with a Mediterranean feel. Porous stones like Travertine also have the benefit of wicking water, and are a great choice for a non-slip pool or spa edge. Since Travertine actually comes from the Mediterranean, it’s definitely a high-end material, so here we use it carefully to highlight key features in a small landscape. Using stone like this to highlight the most important focal points allows us to stay budget conscious while still creating a stunning atmosphere.
The durability and natural weight of stone make it truly the foundation of the landscape. From classic dry-stack walls to stone slab steps to natural boulders, it is a natural choice for retaining and stabilizing earth. One of our favorite techniques in the landscape is varying formality between different areas. So a sleek modern Bluestone patio might surround the house, but farther out chunky Bluestone steps and local boulders would begin to blend into the less formal landscape, and matching gravel or crushed stone used to create informal paths and sitting areas.
Stone also has infinite potential when used in outdoor kitchens and outdoor furniture, and in these applications it can really shine! Solid countertops are a gorgeous choice that form a real statement piece guaranteed to last. You can achieve wonderful contrast with a marbled Granite, or with the elegant black of Soapstone (very “in” right now!) As always, we find that the details make all the difference. This Soapstone countertop above is a beautiful modern accent, but what really makes it unique is the chiseled edge that carries through even around the sink.
The key to any great landscape design is the creation of a unifying theme, so when we work with stone, we try to carry that element throughout the site. Material Boards (like this clip above) help us to define areas we want to highlight with a certain material, so we can use a special stone with intention to create the desired effect. We find it’s best to keep it simple – matching veneer in different styles with pavers and caps, and occasionally using a complementary stone or other material for contrast. Since our clients’ opinions matter most, we create these Material Boards for client review as part of the design process, and try to provide physical samples when possible. We love when our clients are as excited about the stone as we are!
If you’re looking for a classic or modern update to your landscape, look no farther! Our studio is always taking new design clients, and we look forward to getting to know you and your dream landscape.