Georgia Gardener Newsletter Design Tip: November 2, 2006

Using Stone in the Garden

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Stone is one of the most fabulous features you can add to your garden or landscape as no two stones are exactly alike. Use them aesthetically as focal points to blend with plants or structurally for walls, fountains, paths, etc.

Stone can be incorporated into any style of landscape from formal to woodland to Japanese. Rock gardens in particular focus on the subtle differences of stone where they often outnumber the plants.

Stone is usually purchased by weight and there are more types than can be detailed here. Needless to day if you are going to be using a significant amount of stone in your landscape, especially boulders, I recommend that you personally select the stones even if you plan on hiring a professional to do the work.

There are many types of stone each with a characteristic look which held to determine their best usage:
Flagstone: Usually a flat, smooth stone used for walkways or veneer on walls. Thickness and color varies and thinner flagstones used for walkways are usually mortared into place.

Fieldstone: A somewhat flat (albeit sometimes uneven) stone usually from local sources. Thickness and color varies depending upon origin. Thicker stones are often used for informal paths and are installed usually on a bed of granite dust or similar material.

River Stone:This stone can be from a wide variety of stone types, sizes and colors. What they all have in common is a naturally smooth and rounded texture worn down by rushing water.

Pea Gravel: I most associate this type of rock with being lodged in my shoes. This smaller decorative round smooth rock is useful as edging, in paths (and into my shoes), ponds and to simulate water in a dry stream bed.

Boulders: These are the largest and most unique stones in the garden. To me each has its own individual personality which best determines its placement. Many boulders have lichens, moss or both.

There are many books on the subject of using stone in the landscape. I would recommend obtaining one or more or consulting with a professional.

Flagstone & Crushed Granite PathFieldstone Retaining Wall
Fieldstone with River StoneBoulders in a Japanese Garden

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