Visual Treats for Recent Peeps/Weekend Mix--Stone(d) In the Garden
As a devoted reader of Shane’s blog for quite some time, I was both pleased and apprehensive at his invitation to contribute an article during his absence. During our many chats, I was encouraged to write about subjects I enjoyed most. Unfortunately, and under the advice of my attorneys, such incriminations would serve me poorly!! Subsequently I have selected hardscaping; specifically, the enhancement of texture in the garden through the appropriate use of stone materials.
In my view, the two basic components of any garden is the softscape—plant material, and the hardscape-inanimate materials. Hardscape materials range from pink flamingos to drainage systems. There are three basic types of stone materials to select from: First, surface stone(s) which are any stone(s) harvested from an exposed vantage. Commonly referred to as weathered stone, this type of stone is ideal for wall materials, as well as steppers. Often this stone can be found with both moss beds and lichen growing on the surface. Both are quite beautiful. Available sizes can range from coffee-table books to the coffee-table itself. This stone has a natural appearance and needs to be placed accordingly. Second, is a quarried stone. This stone is just that. It is typically sized to specific measurements, and is most often used as thread and paver material; for example, a quarried stone such as flagstone has the appropriate qualities for patio, pathways and wall-caps. An interesting note on quarried stone(s) is that the depth of the stone’s location is dramatically reflected in the character of the stone. For example, flagstone, bluestone, and slate are all the same stone, the differences in characteristics are due to the influence of heat and pressure on the mineral deposits within the stone. Third, and lastly, is washed stone. This stone’s characteristics primarily reflect the influence that water has had on the stone. A washed stone typically has a naturally rounded formation. The stone can range in size from a beach pebble to large boulders deposited millennia ago by glacerial movements. Often, a cold water stone has greater varieties of color hues: blues, pinks, and purples. The warm water stone—typically, tans and beiges. Personally, I prefer a warm water stone as it seems to blend more naturally in this region. As to the use of this stone, dry river beds and French drains are a natural place for their placement. As to the larger boulders, they are ideal for specimen stone in an Asian-inspired garden and in my opinion, little else!!
Finally, for those kind or charitable enough to still be reading this guest-posting, the selection of stone and placement is of great importance. I believe that if your garden holds the idealized view of nature, such as the English garden, a natural weathered surface stone should be considered. If your sensibilities lean more to the structured formality of the Renaissance garden, most often known as the French garden, a quarried stone will continue the qualities of these geometrics. And of course, if calligraphy and ink paintings are your thing, go with the washed stone.
Whatever you choose, choose appropriately. The architecture of your home should blend smoothly with the architecture of your garden. Select a regional stone and place it accordingly. Remember, the lighting in your garden is as important as the lighting at your dinner party. Stone will work well if you let it.
PS: Go get stone(d).