The addition of a stone element to your landscape is one of the best ways to add value, a permanent design feature and update your yard. Hardscapes can be as simple as a small stone stoop outside a kitchen door to an extensive outdoor kitchen with fireplace. We share three hardscape options that will work well in just about any landscape.
Rethinking the Retaining Wall
Finding an old, stone retaining wall in a landscape is not that uncommon in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, many of the stone walls we encounter are no longer stable and are in need of repair. Refurbishing the wall to maintain its original character is one option. You can also use this opportunity create something with an entirely new look. Thoughtfully positioned large stones retain the soil while creating unique planting areas. (See image, above.)
Stepping stones are fine, but often a tripping hazard and they never stay where they are placed for long. If an access path is required within a bed, a chipped stone or even a mulched path is best. For paths that transition visitors from one area of the landscape to another, a smooth, solid surface is far more preferable to stepping stones. When stepping stones are preferred, professionally installed stones are the best. We grade the stones with the lawn, gravel bed or ground cover to create a path that is even, secure and spaced to accommodate most walkers' gate. "Dropping a few pre-fabbed pavers on the ground does not a good garden path make," Peter Wimberg shares. "They diminish the look of the garden, create a tripping hazard and add nothing of design value to the landscape."
Patios and porches are great, but what about a paver sitting area tucked within the garden? A shade garden in the back of the yard, a bit removed from the house, creates a space for escape and relaxation. A paved surface, offers a stable base for a lounge chair, outdoor reading lamp and end table. "The stone of the new sitting area is also a new design element in the landscape- adding new texture, colors and winter interest," Peter explains.