5 Outdoor Spaces Showcasing Natural Stone Landscaping
When it comes to creating an outdoor space in your backyard, many people think this involves planting trees and flowers.
However, for a space to have a WOW factor, incorporating and installing natural stone landscaping can give a striking touch to any area.
Natural stone is beautiful, primal and straight from the earth and all of these features can add impact to an existing space or serve as a unique focal point on in its own right.
In today’s article we will check out 5 popular outdoor spaces that successfully utilise natural stone and also share insights and tips on how to achieve the best look for your backyard oasis.
Installing a fire pit or outdoor fireplace allows you to use your backyard for entertaining in the cooler months as well as throughout the warmer summer nights. When built from natural stone, a fireplace retains heat for longer than other materials and a fire pit decorated with stone will provide an elegant focal point in your backyard. Additionally, if you add a flagstone surround or even a retaining wall with stone or wooden benches, your friends and family won’t want to leave the cosy atmosphere and will enjoy gathering around it for a drink or meal at any time of the year.
A rock garden is where plants are interspersed amongst rocks and stones of various sizes, often in a hill formation. If you don’t have a natural hill in your backyard, you can easily create one using a few large boulders as a base and cover it with stones and soil. This type of garden structure is known as a ‘berm’ and when you cover it with plants growing in and around the stone, it makes for a very appealing garden feature. The best plants for rock gardens are small hardy plants such as bulbs and succulents, with creeping plants such as mosses and grasses to soften the edges of the stones and blend with your plants over time.
Whether it’s a full sized swimming pool or a tiny pond draped with willows and surrounded by moss, a water feature can add a special element to any backyard with natural stone being a complimentary star in its own right. Whether you place large boulders for effect in and around the water or you use them to create a waterfall – the applications are truly endless. Similarly you can circle the area with stone paving or flagstones to provide easy non-slip access for visitors. Bluestone pavers or quartz flagstones are particularly striking in swimming pool settings, while limestone and marble have the natural, earthy tones ideal for a trickling stream or a backyard pond.
A courtyard serves as a connection to the home, so it must be visually pleasing enough to draw people outdoors to enjoy it. As this area is typically surrounded by walls, it’s important that these walls are both welcoming and aesthetically pleasing and also durable to withstand the test of time and environmental factors like rain, heat, and wind. This is where natural stone comes into its own. A courtyard is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the unique characteristics of stone, including its texture, colour and patina. Contrasted with greenery and with comfortable seating and a central focus such as a water feature or artwork, a stone landscaped courtyard can be a wonderful retreat for quiet contemplation and alone time.
Outdoor kitchens are all the talk these days and the modern stone bbq has found its place among a full stove, fridge and dishwasher ensemble. But, unlike an indoor kitchen, this space is exposed to the elements, so the materials used need to be durable, hard wearing and able to withstand all environmental factors like the ever changing weather. Enter natural stone; the perfect and practical material for your outdoor kitchen’s flooring, main structure and bench-tops along with the ideal decorative finish for cabinets and splash-backs. For food preparation and service areas, choose a non-porous stone such as granite or bluestone and protect it with a sealant to minimise permanent stains and help it retain its natural patina.
Tips on achieving the best look for your space
If you want to create an outdoor area that is unique to your home, here is a collection of practical tips for using natural stone that will help you achieve the best affect for your backyard oasis.
- To build a pathway with a truly rustic look, use stepping stones rather than sawn pavers, as they have a more organic feel and available in more variations of both shape and colour.
- Loose pebbles are too round and smooth underfoot to be suitable for paving, but if you set them in concrete with their flattest sides up, they make a great pathway with an interesting texture.
- When surrounding a flower bed with stones, rather than using rough or sharp rocks which can seem jarring, use smooth river rocks or polished stones for a softer, more blended appeal.
- The colours of your plants should determine the colour of the pebbles and stone you use around them. For example, the best place to plant red, blue or violet flowers and foliage is against warm grey or off-white stones and then planting softer pink, yellow and white flowers against darker natural stone hues like greys or blacks.
- Consider making terraces at different levels and putting small plants on each level to create an elegant botanical feel and the illusion of more space (especially if you are limited in outdoor spacing).
- Every good garden path needs an intriguing destination, so put something surprising out of sight – like an ornament, plant, statue or unusual rock formation – at the end of yours.
- To get rid of unwanted lawn areas, rather than paving them over entirely (which can result heat and glare) lace paving stones with ribbons of native grass to create a soft patterned effect.
And there you have it – you are now equipped with 5 ways you can utilise natural stone in your outdoor landscape and 7 tips you can add when creating your own design.
If you are need any more help, please reach out to our team of natural stone experts at Armstone either online or at 1300 560 560. We love everything about natural stone and even more so, helping people like you bring their backyard designs to life with quality products!