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Creating A Beautiful Sustainable Home With Natural Stones

People are becoming more and more aware of their impact on the environment. For this reason, we’re seeing massive growth in the interest of creating homes that are not just timeless and beautiful, but sustainable as well.

Nowadays, there are plenty of design and materials you can choose to achieve that goal. However, natural stones stand out from the rest as the best option. Not only does this landscaping material meet all your requirements, but it can also help improve your home’s sustainability. 

Since natural stones are versatile, which means that both your home’s interior and exterior can achieve long term goals such as performance, aesthetic.

The main focus of designing a sustainable home is to increase the efficiency of your resources, while at the same time reducing your home’s impact on the environment and health throughout its life cycle. Careful planning is required when designing an eco-friendly home. But all the resources, time, and effort spent will be worth it.

What Makes Natural Stone The Perfect Choice For A Sustainable Home?

Knowing the reasons why stones are sustainable can help you make the right decisions in terms of their selection, installation, and maintenance. Opting to use these materials show that you’re taking responsibility for taking care of the environment. You’re also proactively trying to preserve and improve our natural environment.  

Here are the reasons that make natural sones sustainable:

  1. Natural Material
  2. Low Maintenance
  3. Durable
  4. Recyclable
  5. Energy Efficient

1. Natural Material

As the name implies, these stones are Mother Nature’s natural products. Producing these green materials do not require chemicals or other resources. Their supply is abundant, varying from colors and textures to shapes, veining, and other characteristics which makes them perfect for a wide array of purposes. For more information and benefits on using natural materials for your project, read our blog from last week on Benefits of Natural Stone vs. Concrete.

Thanks to millions and millions of years of mineral composition and geologic shift, the appearance of natural stones are diverse. They also don’t have toxic chemicals, so you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll maintain the healthy atmosphere of your interior, which is an essential element of a sustainable system.

You can purchase these landscape materials both locally and regionally. The environmental impact of regional extraction and production is lesser since there will be a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions during transportation.

2. Low maintenance

One of the best features of natural stones is how they don’t show dirt and signs of wear and tear compared to wood, vinyl, and other materials. They don’t get scratches or stains easily, and they’re simple to clean as well. 

The most popular options for bathrooms are marble and limestone due to their resistance to moisture. On the other hand, granites are the best option for your kitchen countertop since they are scratch proof and sturdy. 

When it comes to your outdoor space, stones are perfect for your walkway, patio, landscape planter, retaining walls, and so much more. Investing in natural stones is a smart move since they are durable and can stand the test of time. Take care of them properly, and you won’t need to replace them. And more importantly, you’ll prevent synthetic, wasteful materials from getting dumped into the landfill.

3. Durable

As mentioned, stones can stand the test of time, so you don’t need to replace them, unlike other materials. Travertine, granite, limestone, and other natural stones also age beautifully, thus enhancing the value of your home.

One of the most vital factors you need to consider when deciding on sustainable materials for your home is durability. This is to prevent resources from being used in creating new materials frequently. The life cycle of stones can range from 50 to 100 years. You can use them in your patio, pathway, or foyer, and they will be able to handle high traffic with ease.

4. Recyclable

You can fully recycle stones. They also have the potential of serving a number of various purposes and uses throughout their lifetime. You have an option to reuse and recycle them. This is a sustainable approach to make sure that the material will be able to live their useful life cycle to their full potential.

In terms of the environment, recycling natural stones and using them can help eliminate resources, including water and energy, required in the process of producing new products. As a result, we can avoid or reduce the impacts on resource supplies and ecosystems.

5. Energy Efficient

Natural stones are not only attractive but long-lasting and resistant as well. They don’t need any type of treatment throughout their useful life in comparison to glass, metals, and other synthetic materials.

Using them on facades instead of all-glass can boost the energy efficiency of your home. The combination of glass and natural stone for your facade can lower down the heat transfer coefficient since the heat conductivity of stones is lower than glass. Moreover, the cost of maintaining natural facade is cheaper than the maintenance of those made in all-glass. 

Sustainable Outdoor Space

Natural Stone is the perfect green material that can withstand various outdoor elements while gracefully aging. It has the ability to weather out severe changes in moisture conditions and temperature, making them the favorite choice of landscapers for designing planters, walkways, patios, and retaining walls.

These outdoor landscaping materials will deteriorate/ rot much slower over time. Termites, fungus, and beetles are also less likely to feast on them in comparison to other materials that are not natural stone. They’re less prone to erosion like soil, and less prone to cracks like concrete and bricks. 

They have a timeless appeal that can provide your garden or yard with a beauty that you will not get with wooden or concrete decking. Also, they fit naturally in nature’s design, which is hard to achieve with manmade materials. 

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Top 7 Benefits Of Natural Stone Pavers Vs Concrete Pavers

Natural Stone vs Concrete

Natural stone pavers or concrete pavers? Choosing the right material for the hardscape of your outdoor space will play a vital role in the outcome of your landscape. It’s a significant commitment in comparison to deciding which type of furniture or plantings to get, since changing them will not be as simple after installation. So you need to choose and think about your decision carefully.

The questions our STONEarch clients usually ask us is which hardscape material will work best with their landscape. There’s no easy answer to this since it will all boil down on your vision, aesthetics, and of course, budget. It is essential on your part to consider and analyze these factors to determine the most suitable option for your landscaping needs.

There is a wide range of paving materials you can choose from. But when it comes to your patio floor, your choice is narrowed down to natural stones and concrete pavers. While these two materials have their own sets of pros and cons, natural stones benefits are far more desirable in comparison to concrete pavers.

  1. Timeless Elegance
  2. Low Maintenance
  3. Ages Beautifully
  4. You Have Plenty Of Style Choices
  5. Easier To Install Than Concrete
  6. Better Investment
  7. Eco-Friendly And Sustainable

What Makes Natural Stone Pavers Unique?

Natural stone pavers include bluestone, travertine, granite, flagstone, and limestone. These natural materials come in different colors and have characteristics unique to them. They have that earthy look combined with an opulent and textured look.  

You can also find these pavers in various shapes, sizes, and textures. There are irregular flagstone pavers that can provide your patio with an interesting character and high level of visual interest, which you can’t achieve with concrete pavers. You can give your outdoor area a naturally crafted charm with the subtle symmetry and rugged lines that natural stone pavers can offer. 

These landscape materials came from actual rocks and each piece possesses a distinct appearance, from weathering to formational methods and natural aging. This also means that Mother Nature will determine its color and texture. 

What About Concrete Pavers?

Since they are manmade, concrete pavers are available in almost any size, shape, texture, and color. Their shape can range from large square forms and classic brick shapes to elongated ones similar to plank pavers. There are also concrete replicas of natural stones, bricks, and other materials. They are created with durability and strength in mind, but concrete pavers are prone to crack even with preventions. Concrete pavers may be an inexpensive option, but they are slippery when wet, and repairs can be quite expensive as well. You will need to consider these issues when making your decision. 

Reasons To Choose Natural Stones Over Concrete

1. Timeless Elegance

Natural stone pavers come in varying types, from light beige standstone if you want to get that tropical vibe to dark ebony granite for achieving a majestic feel to your patio. Depending on where the stone is quarried, each piece has a distinct texture and color. Using natural stones on your landscape is a surefire way to captivate your guests and give your hardscape some personalization.

2. Low Maintenance

Stone pavers don’t usually develop cracks. If for some reason they do, you can easily replace or repair them. Simply remove the paver with cracks and replace it. That’s it! They also have smaller joints, so their sand joints are less likely to encounter seed germination. And the best thing about natural stones? They’re effortless to clean!

3. Ages Beautifully

There is no doubt that stones look even better as they age and have a very long lifespan. Unlike concrete, the colors of natural stones are not pigmented, which only add to their beauty. They’re also not made from mixtures of composite aggregate like concrete pavers, so they can preserve their beauty as they age, mature, and fade. There are even certain stones that can attain their complete elegance and beauty with little age. And they will look as beautiful as the day of their installation even after hundreds of years.

4. You Have Plenty Of Style Choices

You will not fall short with style choices. You’re sure to find the right paving material for the landscaping project you have in mind, whether it be limestone, slate, flagstone, or travertine. Natural stones are also available in either irregular or flat surfaces, as well as varying shapes, from triangles and diamonds to rectangles, and so much more.

5. Easier To Install Than Concrete

You don’t need to acquire new skills to install natural stones. You can lay it on your patio floors like with concrete. On the other hand, installing concrete pavers is often more expensive than stones. They will require several aspects like labor, grading, and backfilling. They are also prone to breakage and shifting. To prevent this, you need someone with the right installation skills and can hinder the unfavorable effects of age and weather. Plus, you need to maintain concrete regularly, which you may not have time for if you’re a very busy person. 

6. Better Investment

Utilizing natural stones on your landscape will add more value to your home. It’s an investment that will pay for itself in the long run. They are also regarded as materials with high value and quality. Traits like prominence, elegance, and sophistication are connected to them as well. Also, landscape projects created with natural stones are considered to be distinct, well-built, unique, and genuine, which helps add to the re-sale value of any property. 

7. Eco-Friendly And Sustainable

These landscaping materials are probably one of the most sustainable available today. Our planet has vast stone resources, and although their regeneration may not be as visible as that of trees, the process is endless with a lasting life-cycle. And since they are natural, they are recyclable. You can also re-use them as crushed for aggregates or reclaimed paving. 

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Different Types Of Landscaping Stones: How To Pick The Right One For Your Project

different landscaping stones

Landscaping stones are an excellent way to improve and enhance not just the style of your backyard, but its functionality and comfort as well. It’s an essential part when designing and planning your landscape.

You can use various kinds of stones in a wide variety of techniques in your landscaping. They are not only beautiful but ever-lasting and versatile as well. You can use them for your garden pathways, patio surfaces, stepping stones, walkways, garden accents, water features, planter walls, garden steps, entry porches, swimming pool decks, gazebos and even as decorative accents.

However, not all will be suitable for the project you have in mind. The type you’ll pick will depend on your area and how you’ll use it. But with so many available options on the market, how will you know which landscaping stone to choose? Several factors such as coordination with your surroundings & plants, color, texture, landscape theme, stone layout pattern, size, and shape, to name a few, will come into play in your decision.

So, if you want to update your outdoor space with texture and variety, you’ll want to consider these 7 different types of landscaping stones:  

  1. Decomposed Granite
  2. Pea Gravel
  3. River Rock
  4. Crushed Granite Gravel
  5. Lava Rock
  6. Flagstone
    6a. Limestone
    6b. Sandstone
  7. Boulder

1. Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite has that rustic appeal thanks to its sandy texture and reddish-tan shade which mimics the color of the granite where it originates. This type can provide the surface of your deck and patio, yard, or garden trails with a soft and rustic charm. You can also use it as a ground cover, around the trees in your yard, or as topdressing around dried up plants.  

2. Pea Gravel

As the name suggests, these rocks are pea-sized. They are rounded and small and come in different sizes from half an inch to an eighth of an inch. They are available in a wide array of colors, including brown, tan, and white. You can use pea pebbles for covering your driveways, in between the crevices of your pathway, and garden beds instead of mulch.

3. River Rock 

pebbles (river rock) black

These landscaping stones, also called pebbles, are usually smoother and bigger than pea gravel – almost the size of your palm. Their costs may vary, as well as their shades and sizes. They are ideal for creating a structure like a fountain or retaining wall. You can combine different river rock sizes or use the same ones depending on what kind of look you’re trying to accomplish. You can also use them for creating direct drainage within your property or creek beds that are dry.

4. Crushed Granite Gravel

Crushed granite gravel are similar to decomposed granites but with larger particles and thicker texture. They’re also not as smooth as pea gravel making them an excellent choice for your garden and pathway or as a transition between your walkway and patio plants. It has a natural look that can give your space a contemporary but refined look.

5. Lava Rock

These rocks are low in density and came from volcanoes that are no longer active. They possess a unique, bold appearance, and typically comes in black or red color. They may be a bit more expensive than some of the landscaping stones on this list, but they can provide your landscape with a lovely and one-of-a-kind accent. You can also use these lightweight rocks with whatever landscaping design you have in mind. The best thing about lava rocks is that they have the ability to absorb heat throughout the day and then release it as night time falls.

6. Flagstone

Sandstone - project

Flagstones are one of the most common types of landscaping stones you’ll see in gardens. This type includes a variety of stones such as sandstone and limestone. You can use them in a wide range of landscaping designs. They normally have an irregular outline but versatile enough to use as both decorative accents and for functional purposes. They can be cut flat or in whatever diameter you want to suit your project. They are often used for patios, stepping stones, stair treads, and walkways.

6a. Limestone

Limestone, a type of Flagstone has an earthy character that can give your walkway or patio with some softness and subtle vibe. The most popular type of Limestone is Bluestone, which is mostly used in hardscaping outdoor areas. It can range from corals to shells, and other sedimentary rocks. It may have a limited color selection, but when sanded and smoothened, it will provide you with a rustic and unique appearance.

6b. Sandstone

Sandstone, a type of Flagstone have a coarse texture and loose grain features and looked a lot like compressed sand. They are usually available in shades of Brown and Tan, but they also come in a range of beautiful colors such as black, Gray, white, and red. They are great at adding a natural vibe and texture to your landscaped areas for an even more pleasing look.

7. Boulder

These massive landscaping stones come in all shapes and sizes, which you can buy by tons. Its color and appearance will depend mostly on the kind of stone you’ll get. They are perfect for creating an impactful statement in your landscape. You can also use smaller ones as borders, water features, and accent pieces.