Natural Rocks compared to Landscaping Brick

ChiGreenwoodJuly 13, 2012

Hi, how is everyone. My question is concerning what people are feeling these days on natural rock (Wisconsin boulders 7 inches in size or so) compared to landscaping brick that is purchased at Home Depot. My house is a Chicago Georgian with a front porch off the front which is now painted (three different colors, a Dark Greeen support beams, the railings and floors in a dark blue, and the small bars in between the railings in a grey-white ) Sorry, I don't have an updated photo showing colors on hand. Anyways, we currently have landscaping done on the left hand side where we used landscaping brick, (redish blackish) 2 layers and then a topper stone. I have yet to do the other side, but I have since kinda fallen in love with natural rock (Out here you can buy them from landscaping suppliers called Wisconsin Boulders .15 cents a pound, or $115 a ton). My wife wants to do it all in the landscaping brick which everyone and their mother has while I would like to pull out what I did last fall and start fresh with all natural stone. Is there a trend that anyone has seen on landscaping styles and where we are headed. Also, what are everyone's views on the two? Thanks

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Your question is confusing. You say you used "landscaping brick" but it doesn't show and you don't say HOW you used it. It's anyone's guess. Need the updated picture.

On another subject, the lattice would look much better if it were framed by the major timbers instead of being pasted over the top of them.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Fori is not pleased

I like rocks better. They are more challenging to install of course, but are a better fit for classic older homes like yours than the newfangled stackable blocks everyone else has.

I don't know which stone in particular you're looking at, but a well-matched stone would be lovely. And in my opinion, even a badly matched stone will be better than the HD blocks. :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:52PM
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molie(z6 CT)

An updated photo showing today's new and landscaping would make responding much easier. Thanks,

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Sorry, here is an updated pic. on the right side is the kind of rocks I am debating. Also, I am aware the butterfly bush is hideously overgrown.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Grr. my pic did not load from my phone. I will have to wait until I get on a computer, give me a few...

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Here we go...

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 2:12PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

I adore working with natural stone and I think it looks good in many applications. But I hesitate here because you are using round rocks to create a stacked wall. Why not use flatter rocks? It will look neater, be much easier to achieve and will likely be more stable and last longer.

You might see if you can get some grey sandstone like the trim around your front door.

On an unrelated note, I agree that the lattice would look nicer with a trim board on top of it along that upper edge. The house is super cute though and you've done a great job with the porch and the colors.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Fori is not pleased

If you could match the stuff around the front door, it'd be great! Flatter rocks would be better, but I still like the roundy ones.

Maybe it's because you need to mow (just kidding!), but your beds are really low and it's not a huge design statement either way. If you do end up with the stackin' blocks from HD, you might consider swapping the out for a concrete color to sort of go with the stone o the house. The red ones are a bit too RED.

I think the butterfly bush is totally perfect as it is--but good luck holding it at the perfect size! :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Bricks are more beautiful in using as a landscape because it gives much design that will be look clean and perfect line to the sides.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 3:07AM
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"Is there a trend that anyone has seen on landscaping styles...?"

Greenwood, of the two choices you present: concrete landscape blocks vs. micro "boulders"...I wonder if either is the correct choice. Even though you are out in the yard, you are really "building" on to the house... which already has a type of stone in its construction. Introducing an element foreign in character to what's already there seems to add clutter instead of interest. However, of the two choices I find the manufactured blocks (though I'm not nuts about the color) less objectionable. The micro boulders seem very out of character for the house.

Then, why be concerned about "trends" when current fads don't necessarily mean improved appearance? It looks like you are trying to hide where the ground meets the lattice, but not trying to actually raise the grade. So why install a curb or "retaining wall" that is empty of soil on the back side? Instead, you could let the plants alone provide the height that screens the lower portion of the lattice. A trench edge to the bed or a flush embedded mowing strip (at least 8" wide) would be more appropriate and less cluttered looking. I'm not trying to make planting suggestions in my picture... just trying to make things look settled and show lattice/ mowing strip alternative.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 8:46AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I agree that the natural rock you are wanting to use is too small and does not contrast adequately with the lattice to be a good choice, nor does it complement anything else on the house. Do a google image search for 'dry stack stone walls' to see what size of rock (and what shape) might be a better choice. An image search for Boulder Wall will show the same idea in round rocks. What you have there is more like rock, river rock maybe, but not boulders.

The manufactured brick is the right size and shape, shame about the colour though it's bearable. Matched to the stone around your door, it would be better but is already not bad (I don't hate that brick as much as many people do - it has many benefits).

The sort of thing that might normally be done with the rock you like (and I know the feeling of "I love this material and I want to use it somewhere!") might be a dry river bed, perhaps combined with bigger rocks, or an embedded mosaic on something... it's just not big enough to BE the structure of something. And it's a bit too big, I think, for use where you might use gravel.

Again, an image search can be your friend... try "river rock used in landscaping."

Karin L

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 6:21PM
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YardVaark, you did a great job with your rendering there. I also agree with everyone who has commented on putting the trim over the lattice, that does look much nicer. What exactly would you use to cover that, any piece of long wood, and what would be the build on the corners of the lattice. I also liked that. I went to Menards (only a Midwest place possibly? like a HD) and picked up a couple of landscaping bricks that matched the trim of the door more and I agree they do look nicer. I have not glued any of the red ones down so I could possibly just swap them out. Good Recommendations people, and much appreciated. If you have any more feel free to throw them out. As I make some headway I will update. (Just in case anyone is curious I will show a picture of what the house looked like a year ago)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:39AM
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Greenwood, I wouldn't add a trim board over the top of the lattice. I'd use the major timbers that already exist to be the overall frame for the lattice. Without knowing exactly what you have to work with it's a little hard to tell you how to do it, but I'd lean toward creating a rectangular panel (framed of 2" x 2") with the lattice attached to it. I'd set these panels, recessed, within the openings created by the major timbers. You might need to play with the details a little in order to find the optimum scheme. The panels could be attached in such a way that they were removable without much trouble if you needed access below the porch in the future. If you want more help, you'd probably need to remove some lattice and show better pictures of the major timbers.

Your house looks MUCH better since you've added the porch!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 8:54AM
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I meant to mention this before...

I like your teal paint for the porch. I don't think the existing shutter color/paint scheme goes with the new teal paint. If you repainted the shutters in a color that was compatible, I think it would go a long way toward making the front of the house a much stronger and more pleasing architectural statement. You're on the way with the porch and a new shutter color would complete it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Yeah, that is on our list of things to do. Next summer I also anticipate on getting the house tuckpointed. Our original plan was to paint the porch a reddish color, but I ended up switching it up the day of the project.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Fori is not pleased

Woah! I didn't realize the entire porch was new! That turned out really well!

What about just toning down the bright white of the lattice? If you're going to grow stuff in front of it and some of it will be there all winter, it might not matter all that much if it's framed out perfectly or not.

I'd like to see the door and trim less bright too--the blueishgreenish color is pretty great with your brick, as is the original brownish maroony stuff on the windows.

It's not that I don't like white! But your home is too ummmm mellow? earthy? for it. The door seems a little stark.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 5:47PM
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Actually the lattice is "Cape Cod Gray". The bushes that I have already planted are all evergreens, except for the butterfly bush I believe. Being in Chicago, I wanted to have it where I had some leaves in winter, but I do not care for the other type of evergreen(Christmasy needled?). Also, in case anyone was hating on the underside of the porch roof, I intend on having it closed off after I run some electricity through it and maybe a fan and some can lights.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 7:26PM
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Fori is not pleased

Okay. Let's put it down to computer monitor mishaps. Is it the same color as the steps? They work well.

(I thought the porch ceiling was supposed to be like that! Obviously I don't have the view you do but it looks sort of nice from here.)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 7:45PM
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The lattice is the same color as the back of the steps and the spindles on the railings. the actual steps and porch floor are a real dark blue. When I get a chance I will post up the names of the colors. I was extremely worried about my color selection as the people who mix the paint at the store said that they had never done any of my three selections (and they weren't new). Kind of a scary thing, but overall I am pleased with how it came out.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 7:50PM
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