Natural vs. Concrete Stonework
The goal of every custom design and build is to create unique living spaces that are functional, comfortable and inviting. While many daily chores involve being inside, it is still important to design exterior spaces with as much scrutiny as we do kitchens and bedrooms. When it comes to designing a custom and unique outdoor space the most important consideration should be whether to use natural stone or concrete products. Not every stone or landscape is equal, but every stone, if designed carefully, has its place in a landscape. Below are some considerations when determining which stone is best for you!
It goes without saying that design is probably the most important factor in deciding on either natural or concrete stone. Some landscapes demand retaining structures, drainage systems, and entrance ways, and it is paramount that the design meets all these requirements. Each product, whether natural or concrete, has features that can either enhance or conflict with the overall aesthetic and functionality of the build. It is also possible to mix both natural and concrete products to produce enticing accent features. The products to be installed will be determined largely by design considerations such as what type of outdoor living space it is, the accessibility of this space, and how the space contributes to the value of the property as a whole.
2)Why use Natural Stone and When to Use it
Despite not having the sought after characteristics of natural stone, concrete products make up for it in their variety, shape, colour and style. Because of the manufacturing process it is much easier to have a greater selection of product. It is recommended that concrete pavers be used for vehicular traffic because natural pavers can have defects that may not endure heavier loads. The diversity of products allows for easy distinction of spaces through the use of different textures, styles and colours. Whether its an old-European cobblestone walkway, or a patio with crisp, clean and modern shapes, concrete products are versatile, functional and durable. Although concrete may lack the lustre of natural products, it can result in better designs simply because of their variety and styles.
Budget is an important factor when deciding on natural or concrete stone. Natural stone can be 2-3 times more expensive than concrete, and often requires machinery and higher labour costs. With that being said, it is a premium product that guarantees a truly unique result. Concrete on the other hand, is more affordable and available. There are many premium concrete products that are suitable for custom builds, and sometimes it is even best to consider using both concrete and natural stone together. Either way, it is important to understand the value of your outdoor environment and realize that these are more than just rocks we are talking about, these are stones that expand our living spaces and increase the value of our properties.