All architectural themes and Houston landscape designs can benefit from limestone forms. Limestone is a soft stone that can be easily crafted into almost any style shape or form. This makes it easy to match the resulting form to the specific architecture of houses and outdoor buildings.
Limestone can also be polished, which makes it very good for creating ornamental or decorative elements. There is very little that we cannot do with limestone.
Limestone’s only negative attribute is that it is highly porous, so any surface that requires resistance to water should be constructed from something else. However, aside from this very narrow and very singular limitation, limestone can be used to create virtually any type of hardscape.
While it works with any type of architecture, its most powerful expression is found as a compliment to very strong architecture. There is a cultural and historical association that all of us share in that links limestone to antiquity.
Classical buildings and porticos were commonly built of this stone, so any work we do on today’s Houston landscape can convey that same feeling of grand drama and regal authority that we associate with our own heroic, historical origins.
English and French landscape designs both convey a strong sense of presence due in part to the their deliberate incorporation of classical materials and their insistence on symmetry and geometry that trace their way back to Rome, Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia—cultures that all used limestone to build their monuments, temples, and great works of art.
Then again, many people would say that they really could care less about anything older than yesterday, especially those things that are thousands of years old. They want something to look forward to, not back on. These homeowners will be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are even more opportunities to work with limestone patios and outdoor architecture in today’s Houston landscape than there were 2,000 years ago.
This is due to two very simple reasons. The first is the obvious versatility of the stone that allows us to shape it at will to compliment almost anything in a landscape master plan. The second is the benefit of cumulative history. Over the past 2,000 years, since the end of the Classical Era, many new forms of architecture have emerged that now have equal value and repute in the eyes of contemporary beholders.
All of these styles can benefit from something on the Houston landscape constructed out of limestone—even if it is only a simple walkway, or small patio beside a morning garden fountain.
With limestone patios and structures, we can reflect on the past, stay in the moment, or look forward to new horizons. This can be done on a functional level with patios and walkways, or it can be done on a purely aesthetic level using purely ornamental Houston landscape design elements such as fountains, walls, arbor columns, urns, and planters.
It works best with Mediterranean, French, and Italian themes. Limestone makes ideal material for building architectural walls, retaining walls, garden stepping stones, and linear planters to set the boundaries of garden space. The best garden styles to build these forms in are Mediterranean, French, and Italian designs because of their strong need for order and symmetry.