Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stone use in the landscape

There are many ways to use natural stone in the landscape, below is a photo of how not to use natural stone...

Now I can appreciate the type of homeowner that will attempt to do their own landscape work and if they have a creative eye, they can achieve a well balanced look to the front yard landscape. But when I look at this front yard garden, it displays a valid point I try to make with many clients... make sure your contractor is not trying to sell landscape materials you don't need!!!

I know this home was landscaped by a landscape contractor and he is probably someone that knows his construction practice very well... but I give a failing grade for material choice and presentation. Wrong look and wrong use of material here. The stones are way too big and awkward to use in this application.

The attempt of using shims with smaller stones to level the larger ones just makes the wall feature look like junk. Over time, frost will start moving those stones and eventually soil will leak out through the large holes which will invite weeds to migrate into the gaps. In the first photo at the top of this article, on the far left, you will see another common mistake... use of a completely different type of stone (orange/pink coloured granite field stone) in a small garden area like this.

Rockery used in a landscape presentation should always be the same material! Otherwise it looks like a mish-mash of objects without flow.

When you use rustic looking stone like weathered limestone rock, it is best used in a natural looking fashion. Stand back and ask how Nature would do it?

Subtle hints of this type of rockery slightly buried into the earth and inter-mixed with planting would have enhanced the look of the front of this house. The idea is to achieve a look that compliments the front door in a well balanced manner that builds up your view towards the door to say; "This is where you enter!"

Instead, what you notice when you see this house is a pile of rocks on the front lawn...

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