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Natural Stone Fountains

Natural Stone Fountain

In this busy day and age, where we seem to always be running from one obligation to another, the one thing that we never get enough of is relaxation. Sometimes we’re so short of it, we even try to hurry along the relaxation process, meaning that we never truly  get that moment to ourselves to let go of our worries and just appreciate the moment.

The best place to embrace relaxation is in the safety of our own homes. We want to create beautiful landscapes that are ideal for entertaining and full of stunning greenery that we love. First and foremost, though, it’s important for us to get some time to actually enjoy our properties for ourselves.

One of the best ways to spend a few quiet moments enjoying all that our homes have to offer is with a backyard water feature. There’s something undeniably peaceful about the sound of water gently trickling over stone, and the aesthetic combination of the natural stone and flowing water is timeless. No matter the size or style of your yard, there are options to incorporate a natural stone fountain that is a fantastic fit for your outdoor lifestyle.

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

Benefits of Natural Stone Fountains:

A natural stone fountain offers a net benefit in a variety of ways. Not only do they tie together your entire landscape with a stunning focal point that offers style and relaxation, but they also offer actual health benefits. With all the love and care that you put towards your outdoor space, it’s only fitting that your yard can give you some benefits in return, too.

The sound of moving water flowing over stone sounds just like a delicate and gentle creek, and can melt away the stress of the day. Stress not only makes us feel worn down, but has been linked to a wide array of health problems. Having a moment in our stressful lives to sit in the comfort of our own yards and enjoy our own private oasis is immensely valuable to your mental health, as well as all of the aesthetic benefits that they bring.

Not only are they good for you and your family, but a natural fountain is also great for the health of your backyard ecosystem. Depending on the design of your fountain, it could even introduce a boost of humidity to your garden as well as an oasis for local birds and wildlife to enjoy with you.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Customizing Your Natural Stone Fountain:

There are nearly endless styles, shapes, sizes, and options to choose from for the design of your ideal natural stone fountain. Many of the most striking natural stone features can offer beautiful aesthetic payoff, while also expertly complimenting the style of your garden and home. Whether you’re choosing a rugged, natural rock style reminiscent of a cliffside, or a smoothed boulder mimicking the gentle curves of a brook, there is a hardscaping option for your style of backyard.

While the options are endless, the deciding factor tends to be the size of your location. When working with our landscapers to design the best natural stone fountain for you, the first question is how big you want your feature to be. Consider the overall footprint of your yard, as well as the scale of the rest of your features in your yard, so that you can create a fountain that not only looks good, but compliments to the rest of your landscape.

Even once the fountain has been built, you can continue incorporating it into the rest of the yard by surrounding it with additional outcropping stones, perennial flowers, shrubs, and planters to highlight it as a feature in your home. Landscapes are always evolving, which gives you endless opportunities for the future.

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Maintaining Natural Stone Fountains:

The natural stone of your fountain is made with some of the planet’s toughest materials, so they aren’t likely to need much maintenance over their lifetime. The water pump, however, will need a little bit of maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Consider using an algaecide to keep the growth of algae to a minimum, and change the water in the reservoir regularly if you want to keep it clean and clear.

Your pump will also need regular maintenance by removing and cleaning it. If you stay on top of maintaining the pump and water quality, your fountain will keep looking and running beautifully for its entire lifespan.  

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Fish or No Fish?

Fish or no fish is a big decision, as it can determine how you maintain your water feature. If you have fish, then you want to use all-natural algaecides and clarifiers. If you choose not to have fish, then you can be much more aggressive with treatment of the water.  We often use chlorine, similar to swimming pools, to keep our clients’ water features looking good through the summer heat and algae season.

Your natural stone fountain will be the highlight for your landscape that loves you back with stress-relieving qualities and striking features. A great compliment to the rest of your home and yard, installing a fountain with natural stone is a great way to invest in an outdoor statement piece that offers a serene oasis for years to come.

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Landscape Design Trends: Man-Made Stone? Pros and Cons

Man made stone natural stone rock design backyard landscape designer Iowa Des Moines style exterior patio

Landscaping with the purpose of changing the aesthetic and function of your backyard space is likely to involve stone at some point in the process. Stone is a material that continues to remain at the center of modern landscaping and outdoor lifestyle design, and for good reason.

When it comes to crafting new ideas for your backyard living space, natural stone is an attractive choice: it makes for an elegant statement piece and is completely durable. However, some logistical obstacles like weight, cost, and style have inspired innovation in manufactured alternatives that duplicate the benefits of natural stone, without some of the difficulties.

Man-made stone has grown out of its early development stages and is now a realistic option for homeowners looking to upgrade their outdoor spaces with less hassle and difficulty. Here’s an overview of how things stack up between natural and manufactured options.

“Write your sad times in sand, write your great times in stone.”
– George Bernard Shaw

Manufactured and Natural Stone Overview: 

There are many natural and man-made stone products to choose from.  The growth of landscaping across the country has increased the quality of stone products across the board, so there are a ton to choose from.  

Manufactured stone is usually a mix of concrete blended with aggregates and iron oxide pigments, and cast in models that are shaped from real stone. From most sides it has similar shape, color and texture of real stone, while the backside reveals its cast shape. There are many sizes, textures, and colors to choose from. Typically the ‘natural’ quality of the manufactured stone is proportional to the price.  The newly introduced premium looking products cost a little more than the ‘concrete’ blocks of the past.  

Natural stone is also found in a variety of colors and textures, but the availability can often vary depending on what part of the country you live in.  Located in the Mid-West, we can usually source about any size and color of natural stone. Our most common natural stone installations are patios, stairways, and retaining walls.

Choice and Customization: 

Natural stone is uncustomizable. While undeniably gorgeous, the actual selection of color and style is limited to what is currently available.

Cast stone allows your landscaping dreams to be limitless. There are new styles and colors on the market all the time, not to mention fewer logistical issues, such as availability and transport. Working with a landscape designer will help you to take full advantage of all of the newest and trendiest options available to realize any number of modern styles in your own backyard.

Case Study: See photographs of one of our landscape design projects, that uses manufactured stone in a dramatic and sweeping home entryway.

Weight:

Manufactured stone is usually easier to work with and comes in a large variety of thicknesses to accommodate many installation requirements. If needed, we can use a lighter weight manufactured stone that won’t stress the foundation of your landscaping project like some natural stones might. This is most useful when installing patio stone on top of existing concrete. Depending on the situation, we may be able to install a thin stone right on top of your existing, ‘outdated’ concrete. This is a big time saver, and a big upgrade to the look of your patio or covered porch area.

The weight of natural stone is typically much heavier than manufactured stone and usually requires heavier machinery to install. Depending on the access to your project site, manufactured stone may be the easier route.

Installation:

The installation methods can be very similar for both natural and man-made stone. Real and manufactured stone should both be installed by professionals. While each has their own unique challenges in weight and maneuvering, utilizing the skills of a professional is worth the investment.  By hiring a professional, you will make sure your outdoor living space is everything you want it to be, and that it stays perfect for many years.

Cost:

The price of manufactured stone installed is usually less than the cost of natural stone installed. This is not a clear cut rule however, as there are many options available. When looking at patio options, for example, many premium man-made stones cost just as much as natural stone. When working with a designer, ask for information on a few different types of material, so you know the different options and price points.

Durability:

While natural stone tends to be more durable, manufactured stone is closing the gap quickly. With improved production methods and materials, questions about the lifespan of cast stone are becoming an afterthought. You may still get what you pay for, with cheaper cast stone being less durable or fading in color, but well-manufactured stone from a reliable source has the potential to be nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

Examples of Man-Made Stone used in Ted Lare, Landscape Designs 

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Which one should you choose?:

There are a lot of stone options to choose from when looking at a new project. Often it just depends on the look and feel you want for your space, while considering the overall price of the project. Typically, natural stone is going to give you a more timeless look, using materials that will never go out of style. Limestone pathways for example have been installed for hundreds of years, and continue to look great. Man-made stone gives you the option to replicate the timeless look of natural limestone or bluestone. However, it also gives you the option to break away from the mold, and do something different and new.

If you need help, get in touch with our design office and we can pair you up with one of our talented designers. We offer a great selection of both natural and man-made stone and have some personal favorites we can show you as well.

Case Study: See photographs of natural stone, used in one of our landscape design projects to create organically shaped pathways

Examples of Natural Stone used in Ted Lare, Landscape Designs 

Case Study: Wondering how they look in combination with each other? See one of our design projects that harmoniously uses a mix of both natural, and manufactured stone