Years ago I had the pleasure of visiting homes designed by Eleanore Pettersen, who had been an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright.
One of her trademark features in her designed landscapes was the use of stone cobble.
In each application she used it as part of a functional solution. But it was also beautiful to look at whether it was retaining earth, directing water runoff, serving as a path, or to control soil erosion.
Ever since I saw stone cobble used so beautifully and effectively, it has become a useful design element in my landscapes.
When the grading of this small backyard was planned during its recent landscape renovation, it was evident that a reasonable amount of water runoff would occur.
The area at the base of the oak tree pictured above would get the brunt of this runoff.
In fact, enough runoff that even a groundcover plant like ivy or packysandra would not control soil erosion, particularly during a heavy rainfall.
We could have simply used a decorative gravel in this instance, but I was concerned the gravel would become dirty with organic debris and look unkempt.
We instead used rounded native fieldstone salvaged from an old retaining wall on the property as stone cobble.
How Stone Cobbles Are Set.
The area was excavated 6 to 10″ down and the stones were set in a cobble-fashion using stone dust.
Stone dust is a finely crushed material from a stone quarry. It is used underneath and around each stone to position them carefully to guide and direct the runoff water and control soil erosion.
As you can see the stone cobble looks terrific as a design element in the garden.
In a previous post I showed another application for using stone cobble as a durable (and decorative) area for parking.
For those of you who may not have access to native stone on or near your property, you can purchase similar stone at stone supply yards.
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Landscapes are complex, and shortcomings anywhere in the process can affect the project… and your peace of mind.
My approach is process-oriented. I break things down from planning to implementation — and make sure everyone is kept informed.
My goal is to alleviate concerns such as design decisions, costs, workmanship and material quality. I want folks to stress less and actually enjoy the process.
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