Using natural stone in your garden

Natural stone can bring character to your garden. Stone walls, patios, paths, steps, sculpture, garden mosaics and water features look good even in the depths of winter. Here are 5 tips for using stone in your garden.

1.   Use stone that matches your surroundingsFront_garden_wall

If you are looking to create a garden that looks like it belongs with the house or one that blends with the landscape, then use the same type of stone as the house or surroundings. Sandstone is commonly used in East Lothian and you may have noticed the distinct red sandstone cliffs around Dunbar.

2.   Invest in the best quality you can afford

Good quality stone is likely to be less porous and more durable, so ensure the pavers you use in your garden conform to British standards and European standards. In our Scottish climate, inferior stone pavers can crack due to frost damage or go green and slimy when damp. Thicker pavers are also less likely to crack.

3.   Sourcing stoneFirepit_seating_area

Locally sourced stone ties in best with the local surroundings. These days, much affordable stone is imported from India and China, where there are ethical (as well as environmental) issues and child labour may be used, so look for Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) branding.  Reclaimed stone has a lovely weathered patina, bearing the marks of it’s history. Salvage flagstones for a patio or garden path. Reuse stones from an old wall while renovating, or have a look online or in reclamation yards.

4.   Think about the colour

As stone is a natural product, there will usually be colour variation between samples and this can be part of it’s charm. It can also look very different when it is wet, so it’s worth tipping a watering can over your stone samples before deciding which looks best in your garden.

5.   Match the stone finish to the styleGabion_wall

Dry stone walls and gabion walls have a beautiful texture, particularly for rural properties. Setts can also be tumbled to give a weathered effect. If you own a modern minimalist property with clean lines, then sawn stone might be more appropriate. There are a multitude of stone finishes from riven to sandblasted to guillotined to flamed. Each finish has a different effect so it is worth investigating what options are available and which will look best in your garden setting.