Birmingham Landscape Design Expert Discusses Natural Stone Vs. Stone Veneer

Stone is quickly becoming a popular medium for outdoor landscape features. It gives your space a natural unique feel, but is very attractive and polished looking. Recently, however, many people have started using stone veneer as a “cheaper” way to incorporate stone into landscape structures. If you are considering stone for your Birmingham landscape project, it is good to research the pros and cons of each option. Here is a look at natural stone versus stone veneer and how they are incorporated into your landscape.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is just as it suggests; it is chunks of quarried stone that have been cut into pieces of varying lengths and sizes. Natural stone comes in a variety of colors and textures, and can be coordinated into existing structures.  Natural stone can be very heavy, but this is what makes it a very durable material for use in landscape design. Stone can stand up to the toughest Michigan weather and can be strong enough to withstand heavy traffic, snow removal, and the wear of water from ponds and waterfalls. When installing natural stone, hiring an experienced mason is necessary so that the stone is stacked creating a strong, yet attractive looking landscape feature.

Stone Veneer

Stone veneer is a relatively new product on the market. It is made from concrete that is formed in squares, very similar to tile. It has the look of stacked stone blocks, but is a single piece of concrete, only a few inches thick. In some cases, you may not be able to tell the difference between stone veneer and natural stone. It also comes in a variety of colors and textures, so it can coordinate into your existing landscape or with existing structures. However, because it is applied like tile, it requires a base structure such as a concrete wall or wood box.

Which is Best?

Natural stone and its more solid installation is the best option for landscaping applications. Natural stone is also your best option if the installation is being incorporated into a water feature, or around a swimming pool. The stacked natural stone can withstand water better, and will not break down or fall apart under constant moving water. Natural stone creates a solid foundation for retaining walls and raised garden beds, while also allowing for water to move away from garden beds and retaining walls, protecting your plants and keeping water from pooling behind the wall. Natural stone is long lasting and attractive, while also being strong and an ideal product for landscape construction.

Since stone veneer may be lighter and can be slightly less expensive, it is tempting to use it instead of natural stone. However, it is not an ideal product for landscaping applications. Because it is laid like tile, it is not capable of withstanding daily wear and tear as well as natural stone. It is also not ideal for water feature applications because the constant movement of water over the tile can cause grouting to break down and the tile to separate from the base structure. Concrete is also a less durable material that will wear down and begin to chip and break only a few years after installation. The cost savings of stone veneer is lost by the cost of creating a base structure in either wood or concrete first. Finally, if stone veneer is not installed correctly it can fall apart easily and leave gaps in your landscape structures. While it seems like an inexpensive way to incorporate stone into your yard or garden, you will find that your costs for this product are high, over time, to repair loose or missing tiles.

Hire the Best Birmingham Landscape Design Team

Natural stone is a great landscaping product. It makes retaining walls and planters look attractive and natural. If you have avoided stone in your landscape because you were not sure if it could handle daily wear and tear, the landscaping experts at Fresh Cut can help you find the right stone to incorporate into your Birmingham Landscape Design to create a result you will love, and that will last for years to come.  For more information, please give us a call at (586) 739.6646 or (248) 650.3600.  We look forward to hearing from you!