10 Materials Harmonious Landscape, for an Elegant

Perhaps you’ve spent a small fortune in garden design publications or hired a designer for your garden, or you are a do-it-yourselfer who understands the landscape section of the local big-box store inside and out. Regardless, you understand landscaping can get expensive. And with so much cash to be made on landscape products these days, everyone and their brother is trying to advertise and market materials.

But you want something different — sophistication and harmony — along with the imported travertine you are offered feels far too discordant with the prevalent style in your area. Do not worry! With countless years’ worth of examples of world-class design, there are lots of lessons to draw out that could relate to your site.

Blasen Landscape Architecture


In many cases finding the magic of the landscape means not competing with or decorating what’s already there. The small boulder walls and loose sand here might have come from the site itself. There is no sterile edging trying to restrain the dirt, which makes this all the more beautiful.

Naturally, the grove of trees is glorious, too. Should you invest in trees for your landscape, regardless of what you do, don’t plant them on perfect facilities! Proceed and embrace the perfectly imperfect.

Bruce Clodfelter and Associates

All right, so gravel is really fine for a woodland walk, however you need a more secure material for a patio area, right? Well, if you are like me and essentially have 10 children to feed, then you may not have a grand funding. Pea gravel, ⅜-inch angular gravel or decomposed granite may make a nice surface to walk. What’s really important is to site the paved space thoughtfully. This patio is situated in a garden where you can imagine cocktail parties with lovely men and women. I will bring the Barbancourt!

5 great sand and rock types for the landscape



Perhaps you have the perfect boulder sitting in your garden that you’re able to move into your patio area, or perhaps you have the funds to bring one in. Boulders are great because they won’t corrode or rot. And if your 4-year-old takes permanent markers towards the top of it, so what?

This table is as awesome as anything George Nakashima might have built for you. This mass is sculptural in the garden, and I’ve wanted one for my house for more than I’ve wanted these seats by Kettel.


I’ve been after the Colorado designers of this Zen garden for years, so it is worthwhile sharing this beauty while I’m waxing poetic on boulders. If you’ve spent a lifetime researching these items, you are able to produce exceptional places in this way. If you’re new in this, don’t look at the most recent pond catalogue — go take a hike in a creek bed instead. Nature is the best classroom on the planet.

Swaback Partners, pllc

I dream of getting an outside shower daily, and that I would be quite pleased if this were out my bedroom.

Wagner Hodgson


Cut slabs, both new and classic, can come from quarries, landscape distribution homes or architectural salvage yards. These slabs could be rather straightforward to set up and are a nice way to experience the topography of a landscape.

Donald Pell – Gardens

Salvaged Materials

Stone Curbs

Locating materials could be as fun since installing them. One of my favorite areas to see in Pennsylvania is Harry Bambi Supplies, to locate classic granite or flagstone curbs like these. These jewels are all excellent materials to use, particularly if you’re adding older materials to an current site.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

Irregular Stone

This irregular flagstone is set in a well planted garden. Stone is a no-brainer to make harmony when it is executed this nicely.

Donald Pell – Gardens

Here irregular rock pieces cut into a guest parking area to encourage circulation and connect materials. This might have been what noted American landscape architect Dan Kiley referred to as slippage — an extension beyond the suggested boundary; it is something that I really like to think about and research.

Donald Pell – Gardens

Patterned Stone

Here patterned flagstone is used on a grid. These two- by 3-foot pavers set on bail are simpler to set up than pavers in a mosaic pattern, and they’re simpler to expand upon in the future. The lower plane is set away from the top terrace and out into the landscape, where the garden softens the materials.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

This designer chose a bond pattern as well, but the pavers are regionally salvaged granite collection more loosely than previously. The looser joints permit for plantings involving the rock, for a more rustic setting.

Conte & Conte, LLC

Here full-color stone and thermal bluestone coping combine from the paving surfaces. I really like the rock columns with log beams.

Donald Pell – Gardens


Sandstone walls mix with thermal bluestone counters and footrests to complete this outdoor bar and kitchen. A durable cedar pergola and hand-forged mission-style fixtures make this structure beautiful to look at in the evenings. Ensure you use a sealer with bluestone in a program like this one, since it would otherwise absorb grease from the grill.

Arterra Landscape Architects


Not all concrete is made equal. I haven’t yet noticed stamped concrete I enjoy, but this layout team poured sections that appear as large, strong pavers.

Stained benches and measures warm up the concrete. I think materials like concrete, steel and glass require wood finishes to bring life to the compositions. I have been very impressed with using concrete by Bernard Trainor.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA


Polycarbonate panels create displays that allow for privacy and light here. That is clearly not a natural substance, but I really like the chances these panels provide. With a modernist sensibility, mixing materials like those with materials in an older vernacular could be artfully done. Purists, hold your comments!

Scot Eckley, Inc..


Using weathered steel, or Cor-Ten, eliminates maintenance requirements, like painting. This substance is used to make bridges, walls, treads and whatever you can imagine. It has even become more prevalent in civic spaces.

How to start picking materials: With all these materials to choose from, I recommend considering walkways initially, and then selecting materials based on the future of the job and the experience you would like to create.

For inspiration escape the showroom and take a walking tour of your city with your camera. Now’s public spaces are being developed by talented designers and are fantastic areas for gleaning thoughts on distance and substance usage. Let me know where you find inspiration!

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