Home Garden Stone Cold Facts: Tips for Choosing Stonework

Stone Cold Facts: Tips for Choosing Stonework

Here are a few things to consider when choosing stonework for your garden, walkways or patio.

Ground Preparation

Proper ground prep, especially for stone and brick surfaces, is crucial. “Here in Boulder we have clay-based soil,” says Brian Scott, a stonemason and owner of StoneScapes in Boulder. “You want to make sure you have your footings tamped and excavated correctly.” If your stone or brick wall is a retaining wall, make sure you build a drainage system that carries water away from the wall, he adds.


Add Greenery

You can dress up a stone or brick-paver walkway with plants in between the joints. “Having foliage in the cracks is nice,” Scott says. “I really like creeping thyme. When you walk along and scuff it with your feet, you get a nice aroma.”

More or Less Maintenance

Flagstone is easy to clean. Even if you spill a bucket of paint on a flagstone patio, Scott says, a session with a power washer will have it back to its original form. Colorado’s sun and temperature fluctuations are terribly rough on wood decks. A typical wood deck will need refinishing as often as once per year. Even then, a wood deck will eventually need replacing. A composite deck requires no staining and typically lasts longer than wood. Flagstone lasts forever.

Down the Road

The flagstone you put in today can likely be easily matched three decades from now. Matching brick down the road may be trickier, Scott says. That’s because brickyards change the dyes they use in producing bricks from time to time.


Price is always a consideration when choosing hardscape materials to use in your landscape. Between flagstone, concrete, brick pavers and wood decking, flagstone is the priciest. The buff-colored flagstone costs roughly two to three times as much as red flagstone, according to landscape architect Hidelly Kane, and can cost significantly more than concrete, brick or wood.

— Mark Collins

Also see, “A Stone-Cool Garden”
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