Natural stone never goes out of style — it’s one of the world’s oldest construction materials and is as much in demand today as it was thousands of years ago.
But what is it about natural stone that makes it so appealing to builders, landscapers and homeowners?
While I can’t speak for everyone, I’ll share the top five reasons we love using natural stone in our landscaping projects here at Raymar!
Natural stone comes in an endless variety of colours and patterns, shapes and sizes, each with its own unique characteristics. And because no two stones are ever the same, your project will always be a one-of-a-kind original. And while there are some good manufactured products available, they just don’t have the earthly appeal of genuine stone.
The type of stone we use most often in our designs is weathered limestone or granite — and for flagstone patios you can’t beat Ebel charcoal! The slabs we use are generally larger than those used in most flagstone patios (as large as 5ft x 6ft). We find this gives the patio more stability and there are fewer joins to contend with.
No matter which kind of stone you use, you’re not limited by your design preferences. Natural stone fits in with any design style seamlessly, from rustic to a more modern, contemporary design.
When choosing the materials to build outdoor spaces, we recommend our clients consider value over cost. Sure, a stone patio may require a bigger investment upfront, but it’ll pay for itself over time because of its strength and durability.
Natural stone is a smart investment. Its beauty doesn’t fade and its appearance will not be affected by normal wear and tear — small chips and scratches will not affect its appearance because it has the same composition all the way through.
Manufactured products break down over time and are more prone to damage from decay, frost and unfortunate accidents (ever drop something heavy on a concrete patio?). Natural stone is virtually indestructible and even improves with age as it develops a natural patina.
Unlike other building materials (which need to be painted, stained or sealed) natural stone surfaces retain their inherent beauty (even getting better as it ages) and are easy to maintain.
All you need to do to keep it looking its best is regular sweeping or dusting and occasionally washing it down with a garden hose. If you accidentally spill something on it that might stain (like paint) be sure to wipe it up quickly.
If you have a granite countertop in your outdoor kitchen, however, it’s advisable to reseal it occasionally to protect against scratches, stains, and overall dullness and keep it looking its best.
These days we are more mindful about how our choices impact the environment. While all building materials require some energy use, sourcing, extracting and processing natural stone has minimal impact on the environment and is considered a “green” material. Modern technology has improved the excavation and fabrication of stone, further reducing its environmental impact (as well as the cost).
We love to use natural stone for driveways, walkways and patios because it allows water to slowly penetrate the surface instead of running off, like it does with asphalt or concrete. This is especially important if you’re dealing with drainage issues.
The stone we use most often comes from Select Stone here in Ontario, so it helps our economy while reducing the environmental costs associated with transportation.
The perceived and actual value of natural stone is immense — one that people are willing to pay a premium for — making it an excellent investment.
Using natural stone to construct your hardscapes adds a subtle charm and beauty to your landscape that never goes out of style — people are quick to recognize the value of quality workmanship and materials.
Although natural stone is the material of choice for the majority of our projects, it’s not without its challenges.
Because the colour and texture of stone varies so much from one piece to another, each needs to be carefully selected by hand to get the right look and feel for the overall project. To us, choosing just the right stone is part of the fun!
It’s also important that everyone on the team knows how to work with stone — from creating a sound base using polymer sand to laying the stone, making sure each is level and pleasing to the eye. We spend many winter days practicing this art so we can hit the ground running in the spring (it also gives us the chance to work on exciting new designs for our ponds and waterfalls!).
There are many benefits to adding natural stone to your landscape design. If you’re looking for inspiration or ideas, check out our featured projects. If you’d like to know more about how stone can enhance your property’s landscape, contact us — we’ll work together to help shape your outdoors!