3 Common Challenges With Stone Landscaping

Stone landscaping path in a garden

Stone landscaping offers homeowners a unique aesthetic that feels fresh and natural while solving challenging issues like soil erosion. Stone is also low-maintenance—once installed, it won’t need to be annually pruned or removed like ground cover or mulch. 

Although stone can be a great addition to your landscape, installing them can have its challenges. 

Challenge #1: Selecting the Right Stone

Many material options are available for stone landscaping projects, which can overwhelm homeowners taking on DIY projects. And adding to the work of researching stone materials, there’s the added pressure that selecting the wrong color, size, or texture can negatively impact the overall landscape design. For example, dark-colored stone can hold hot temperatures for longer times, and the shape of some rocks are not suitable for assisting in yard drainage or for walking on. 

To reap the benefits of stone landscaping, the area and how that area will be used should be considered. So, if you’re using rocks to create a border or edge around a garden bed or as an alternative to mulch, you could consider colorful river rock or polished pebbles. Likewise, if you’re building a stone walkway, you’ll want to use flatter, smoother rocks with low heat retention, like flagstone, to prevent injuries. 

Challenge #2: Incorporating Stone Into Your Existing Landscape Design

Outdoor kitchen and dining table on a paved patio

Landscape design requires intricate planning to optimize space while adding an integral aesthetic to your home’s exterior. For example, a stone retaining wall can add more usable space and visual interest to a heavily sloped landscape. 

The shape, color, and size of the stone you use must seamlessly blend with your home’s exterior and the rest of your landscape. So, if you already have a stone walkway and add a stone border to a nearby garden bed, you’ll want to ensure the stone you choose doesn’t clash with the existing stone walkway. Similarly, if your home features stone veneer trim, any stone you add to your existing landscape should match the stone used on your home. 

Other ways stone can be incorporated into an existing landscape design is to use stone as edging around a raised flower bed or to build a waterfall using smooth stones. An area with ponding water will benefit from a dry river bed of rock because it can assist with drainage and soil erosion while adding aesthetic appeal. 

Challenge #3: Unexpected Installation Issues

Challenges can arise during the stone installation process that require expert knowledge to resolve. Concepts like soil characteristics and land contours may need to be considered when dealing with uneven ground, drainage issues, and securing stones. Adding to these engineering problems is the fact that stone is a heavy product, so it is not uncommon for homeowners to injure themselves, their lawns, and other outdoor surfaces when moving landscape stone. 

Another safety issue is the matter of cutting concrete or stone to fit your design intent. To cut stone, you’ll need heavy-duty cutters with diamond blades. These blades are sharp and dangerous and must be handled by someone with experience to prevent mistakes. 

Finally, there is the issue of securing the top row of stones on a wall or properly finishing a walkway of pavers, brick, or stone to limit movement, sinking, or buckling. Correct measurements before digging and prepping the soil beneath the stones will ensure your project is beautiful and functional.

Overcome These Challenges With Help From Design One

If this is your first time handling a stone landscaping project, always consult and work with a hardscape contractor. In addition to the three challenges outlined in this blog, there’s the challenge of securing permits and understanding rules and regulations set by your municipality. 

A professional landscaping design company like Design One can help you overcome these common challenges, resolve issues as they arise, and keep your project within budget.

We’ve helped homeowners throughout Michigan for over 30 years, handling all types of projects, from patio installations to retaining wall design. You can view some of our past projects here. If you have a landscaping project in mind or just want to learn more about our capabilities, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 

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