How We Use Natural Stone to Enhance Your Landscape

Natural stone is the unsung hero of any landscaping project.

When people think of landscaping, their thoughts often bring up images of lush, colorful, natural elements, like flowers, trees, and shrubs; with all of the beauty they bring to a landscape, it isn't hard to overlook the unsung hero of the yard: hardscapes.

Hardscapes are those elements of a landscape that add structure, create usable space, or are utilitarian in nature – elements like retaining walls, patios, and walk/driveways, respectively. While there are countless materials with which to construct these elements, natural stone is a popular choice. Because of its variety of textures and colors (even within one type), and the different ways it can be manipulated, your creativity is your only limitation when working with natural stone.

The stone quarry has many different sizes, textures, and varieties of natural stone.

Since our clients will be living with the finished hardscape for a very long time (they last for many, many years, after all), they can be particular about the stones used in their project; the stone can vary widely, so they want to ensure a consistent final product. For this reason, we will go out to the stone quarry, a short drive from Stillwater, in Houlton, WI, to hand select the pieces used in the project; sometimes, we will even meet the client there and select the pieces together.

The stone ranges from rough and irregular, to smooth and cut to size.

Like the color and texture, the finish and size of the stones can range drastically - from rough and irregularly shaped, to smooth and cut to size. We work further with the stone, to fine-tune it, by chipping or cutting away different areas so that it best fits into a project.

The stone is fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

With the stones selected and shaped, we then begin the process of setting out and repositioning the stones, to figure out the best arrangement for the project – it's essentially like putting together an oversized jigsaw puzzle, as you can see from this finished project! After everything is satisfactorily laid out, we'll number the pieces, remove them, and then start preparing the base.

The base of crushed gravel is leveled and compacted before intalling the stone.

For the base, we level out and compact crushed gravel to the area that will be receiving stone. With this completed, we add the stones back in, according to the arrangement made earlier, and then fill in the joints with a polymeric sand; this sand has a binding agent in it that keeps the stones firmly in place. In projects where the area will receive a high traffic load, like entryways, we will mortar the stone in. Either way, they'll stand up to years of wear!

Working with stone is time consuming and takes a good eye - but the hard work is worth it!

Working with natural stone is time consuming and takes a good eye, but the results are worth all of the effort put into it! It can make a huge difference in the added curb appeal, and can often bring more usable space to a property. We pride ourselves in doing quality work that will last for years, and that will add beauty and function to your landscape.

Copyright 2016
Yardmasters Landscapes, Inc.