Decorative stone landscaping can be used in both traditional and contemporary landscape design.
Many assume that a decorative stone landscape is one built only of natural stones where the presence of rocks dominates the scene. When we take a more decorative approach to planning a landscape theme, however, the principle of less applies more often than not as the forms we create are primarily used as accents to other, larger forms, or as elements embedded within other types of design.
As its name suggests, decorative stone landscaping is more about creating aesthetics than anything else.
Many times stones are the only thing that can be added to a small area of the yard that would otherwise remain undeveloped. These asymmetrical areas are common in mid-sized yards in the space between the house and the garage. The large amount of shade in such a place makes planting a traditional garden a challenge, and often the area is too oddly shaped to support a full-sized patio.
However, a very small patio and shade garden just large enough for two people to enjoy can be created in such an area Rocks are very integral to the success of such a design because they can be strategically placed to offset the asymmetry of the area and create a new sense of order and system.
Decorative stone landscaping can also be used to add drama and interest to the home itself.
Older brick homes can be greatly accented with a simple gravel bed that is punctuated with rocks placed at key intervals. Whole or crushed stones of varying sizes can be used to create symmetry with a linear run that parallels the wall of the house and extends its façade into the landscape with a new façade.
Creating such a design with rocks first and then adding flower beds and hedges in key places is often the key to transforming the entire front façade of an older brick home built in the 1950s or early 1960s. Such a look is often enough to make the home look almost brand new.
Contemporary garden design also makes heavy use of stone landscaping.
In order to maintain its strict adherence to minimalism, a contemporary garden must minimize vegetation and use elements that catch the eye with unique geometry and challenging perspectives. A variety of stone types can be used to achieve this effect. Plain white and gray stones of small and medium size can be used to create the garden bed. Larger black stones can then be placed in corners or used as central focal points.
The key is to use a stone like cut granite, marble, or quartzite that will reflect the light and expand the garden’s sense of proportion. Mirrors and stainless steel decorations are often used in conjunction with these rocks to magnify the garden’s optical presence and reflectivity even further.
This creates a wonderful sense of style before any plant material is added.
When professionally designed, every contemporary garden can be built true to the ideals of minimalism and low maintenance that define this genre of outdoor art.