Stonescape: Landscaping with Stone Stonescape: Landscaping with Stone

Any landscape can be enhanced with the use of rock and stone. From functional stone mulch to purely aesthetic arrangements of rocks, a landscape and garden can be transformed with stone. By employing stone elements from either Eastern or Western gardening traditions (or both), contemporary gardeners can benefit from the myriad of garden traditions for use of rock and stone.

When assessing your property for stonescape features, you will necessarily want to choose both functional and simply decorative uses for stone. Functional uses, which can certainly be decorative as well, include using stone for paving patios or walkways, constructing walls and bridges, edging paths or flowerbeds, mulching flowerbeds, constructing terraces and steps, creating microclimates for rock-loving plants, etc. Decorative uses might include using stone for constructing cascades and basins, arranging attractive rock displays, forming attractive gravel pools or streams, creating mosaic designs with various types of stone, etc.

No matter what you need stone for, you can employ it in your landscape in many different ways. Often, landscapers are influenced in their use of stone by either Eastern or Western traditions. Generally speaking, western applications for stone tend to be more stylized; consider elegant statuary of manicured French gardens or raised stone flowerbeds of grand European estates. Of course, stone can be employed in a more rugged Western tradition too. Its uses in gardens of the Middle Ages are well known: walls, wells, basins and pavers, to name a few. However, the use of stone in Western garden traditions differs markedly from its uses in Oriental-inspired landscapes.

Eastern gardens often employed stone in its most natural state to reflect its occurrence in nature. For example, rather than carve an ornate water feature for the garden, an eartern style would search for a large rock that had a naturally-occurring dip in its top to collect rain water. Rock is also used in such landscapes to reflect or interpret other aspects of nature. For instance, a series of boulders might be placed to give the appearance of mountains. A large rock might be placed in a shallow pool to indicate the idea of an island. Or, one might find a large river of gravel raked to form the appearance of waves to give the impression of water. Eastern aesthetics simply envision a different artistic approach to stone than Western ones.

When considering stone features and uses for your own landscape, you might consider how these two traditions employ stone specifically. Of course, the specific type of stone you choose should be appropriate for its use. Consider the following ideas for rock and stone usage in your own garden and landscape:

Edge a pond or stream with river stones, pave your patio with cobblestones, create a children's play area with pea gravel, construct granite stepping stones, install marble statues or fountains, use limestone slabs to construct walls, edge a walkway with weather bricks, create a mosaic pavement for a front walkway, line a walk through the garden with flagstones, construct a terrace garden on a steep slope, create an alpine garden on a hilly terrain with various rocks and boulders, create a naturalistic watercourse on a bed of gravel and stone, etc.

Certain types of stone are more expensive than others. Marble features will certainly be expensive, whereas working with crushed gravel will cost considerably less. Depending on your needs, you most likely will require many different types of stone for your landscape.

By working with your local garden or home improvement center you will be able to find how to get the specific types of stone you require. Stone gardens are more popular than ever as stone is not only attractive, it is durable. From highly formal to purely rustic landscapes, stone can enhance any setting.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!