I’m sure that all of us have used or at least have considered using some sort of stone in the garden at some stage in ones gardening career to date. Garden Stones have so many good functions and can be used for all kinds of reasons. I will try and touch on these and in doing so will relate to how I have used them and what is out there in the market.
Garden stones can be used as stepping stones, for paving driveways or patios, in rockeries, pebbles for walkways and then there are just plain old decorative stones and boulders.
Stones are a huge industry now and in the landscaping world are mostly referred to as aggregates and in a lot of parts of the world when the construction industry slowed or slows down traditional quarries that supply stone for laying foundations for roads and housing can get affected by the downturn but the clever ones survive by adapting and supplying landscaping stones or aggregates to cater for all needs.
Whether you are looking for concrete, granite, limestone, sandstone, slate or even garden pebbles in your local garden center you can find a stone in every size, shape and finish for every need and to fit every garden no matter what the size.
My first encounter with using stones in the garden came about by accident really before they became popular. I had a garden shed at the back of my garden and where I live it can be quite wet most of the year. Walking to the shed or even the very rare dry but windy day to hang some clothes on the line became an ordeal in that I had to have the appropriate foot wear on or else my slippers or shoes would get wet from the long grass (the fact that it was wet was my excuse to not cut it!). My eureka moment came when I was doing a clean-up of the garden and came across some left over concrete garden slabs I had used the previous spring to lay a foundation to put the dogs kennel on.
With the help of my friend we managed to lift them up and place them as garden stepping stones from where the lawn started to the shed at the end of the garden. What a difference they make and what a simple solution.
Since I laid the stepping stones they have since been replaced with a more decorative stylish limestone garden stones. While I am on the topic of lawns and stones one of the simplest uses for any kind of stone and a good way to separate the lawn from the flower beds is the use of garden edging stones. These can be stones you find on a beach to any shape of sized stone to build a type of small barrier along the edging of the grass. Another effect is to dig a small trench a few inches wide and fill this in with some red or golden granite gravel which can give a lovely clean lawn edging.
The size of one’s garden really dictates how much stone if any that can or should be used and if you want to go for a low maintenance garden where the thoughts of cutting the lawn or doing the weeding really doesn’t appeal to you for some small garden ideas you could try a gravel garden.
A few simple steps to lay a gravel garden with garden stones and get some exercise at the same time:
- Outline the area you wish to have as the gravel lawn then ding out the existing grass to a depth of about 4 inches.
- Flatten down the remaining soil and level at the same time. You might need a compactor for this part depending on the size of the area.
- Spray or treat the soil with weed killer to prevent any weeds from future growth then lay a layer of sand on top of the soil and flatten down.
- Lay a weed membrane and peg this down.
- To stop the gravel from spilling out into flower beds or any patio area you may have at this stage you may decide to put in some lawn edging with some decorative garden stones to match the gravel you lay.
- Now you can grab your garden cart or wheelbarrow and spread your gravel. The type of gravel you use is very much a personal choice but there are a few things just to consider:
- If the gravel is too small say 10mm or less this can get stuck in the soles or grips in your shoes as you walk on it and also the neighbourhood cats might see it as kitty litter! Yikes!
- Light stones don’t stay light forever and get dark and dirty easy.
- Try using 20mm garden stones.
It is as easy as that and if you don’t want to make the garden too dull and bland you can accessorise and have stepping stones for garden paths that lead to some lovely garden water features.
Something that is forbidden in a lot of countries but luckily it not in mine is the burying of pets in the backyard or on your grounds. A slightly morbid topic but something surely a lot have encountered, considered or done. When our family dog Ben, who was in the family for 12 years and all the kids grew up with him, passed away there was never going to be anywhere else but the back garden where he was laid to rest. To mark his final resting place we had a nice memorial stone made up and it is only when you are in this situation that you realise that memorial garden stones are a huge business and you can even get memorial garden stepping stones or plaques made up and that people actually give these to celebrate the loss of a loved one or a pet loss gift! Wow.