IN THE GARDEN: Stones will fit any garden style – Stillwater News Press




Foundational to any garden is stone. Soil and minerals are essentially broken down rock particles blended with organic matter. Maybe that is why stone easily fits into all styles of landscape design.

Rock or stone – the terms are interchangeable though each conjures up a different feeling. The use of stone given the vast choices of color, texture, and shape creates a versatility that allows one to personalize their living area.

Hardscapes (that part of a landscape that is not plant material) rely on stone to create boundaries and definitions, add color and character and when properly designed make yard maintenance easier.

Drive in any neighborhood and observe the unique way stone is used:

Walkways, may be stone laid upon a base of sand or brick may line a walkway filled with colored gravel or woodchips.

Functional or decorative, dry stacked or mortared, of varying heights, rock is the most popular material for walls or soil retention.

Tree rings and bed borders, accents and focal points; stone has jumped from the rock garden and established itself as a major component in landscape design.

Flat flagstone and blocky ledge stone give an earthy look when local sources of rock are offered. The price of natural stone may be a prohibitive factor for many and keep many from enjoying rock features in their landscapes.

Man-made stone (concrete, pre-cast pavers and retaining wall products) have opened the option of rock to average homeowners. Not only is it affordable, it is relatively easy to install.

Inexperienced in stonework? Begin with a small project. Work with a flowerbed or edge a walkway. Be sure the ground beneath the stone is level. Choose a method that does not require mortar. Allow yourself the freedom to mix and match colors, to adjust the angle of the brick, paver or stone. Try stacking or slanting until you achieve an effect that is pleasing to your senses.

Regardless of the style(s), colors or pattern of stone, certain criteria needs considered before beginning a major project. Foundations and drainage are important in larger undertakings. No one wants a patio with standing water when it rains or a wall that moves. The depth and extent of preparation to a large flat area will differ depending on traffic flow, grade and soil compaction. It may be best to seek the knowledge of an engineer before excavating for a sizable endeavor.

Try Stonescaping: A Guide to Using Stone in Your Garden authored by Jan Kowalczewski Whitner and published by Storey Books. It is a great reference and information source for incorporating rock and stone into your landscape.

Barton has worked with nurseries for more than 20 years. She digs in the dirt in Stillwater. Direct any questions to her, especially about tree selections, by emailing leeannbarton-@sbcglobal.net



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