The Benefits of Outdoor Concrete-Stone Facing

Stone is a strong material that withstands harsh weather, from violent storms to months of snow and ice. It is also good for the environment, providing beauty and durability, less energy pollution, and a smaller carbon footprint than concrete.outdoor concrete-stone facing

Calculate how much stone you need by figuring the square footage of your project (length x height). Be sure to include cornerstones. Visit for more information.

Stone garden walls are a timeless landscape feature that offers both form and function. They can add a rustic appeal to the garden or be used as part of the landscaping to hold back a slope, create privacy, or support planting beds. While they may take a bit more skill and muscle to build than a fence, the result is something that will last a lifetime.

A garden wall can also be a way to add more natural features into the landscape, helping to attract wildlife like insects and birds to the area. This can be done by including a series of bug hotels built into the walls where they will have a home to go to when they are in need of shelter. This is a great way to encourage more pollination and biodiversity in the garden as well as softening the look of the stone garden walls.

When designing a garden wall, the type of stone selected will have a big impact on how it looks. Different types of stone are available in a wide range of sizes, colors and textures. Some are more irregularly shaped and rougher, while others are more regularly sized with more of a uniform appearance. It is worth taking the time to lay out a plan for the garden wall before starting to work on it in order to make sure that the stone you choose will match with the rest of the hardscapes you have in place, like paving and patio areas.

You can use a garden wall to create a low boundary around your garden and keep the plants in, or you can include windows into the structure to let a breeze flow through the space. Gabion rock walls are a great option for this as they offer a unique and interesting way to screen an area.

Garden walls can also be curved to create flowing lines in the garden that will add interest and a sense of movement to the space. This can be achieved by using loose, irregularly shaped stones that will naturally interlock when thoughtfully stacked together. If you are looking for a more elegant feel, then mellow stone cladding can be paired with timber to create sinuous garden walls that can be used to divide seating areas from plant packed borders.

Pathways & Driveways

The artful placement of walkways, paths and driveways can add a sense of purpose to the landscape as well as directing pedestrian traffic around the property. Adding hardscaping elements such as pavers and natural stone, creates visually appealing outdoor spaces and enhances your home’s value and beauty.

Walkways and pathways delineate private and public space on a property, guiding foot traffic to various areas of the landscape such as the front and back doors, pool area or garden. Traditionally, stone cobbles were used for walkways as they provide a rustic and traditional aesthetic but concrete is also commonly used for this application. Concrete is a durable material that holds up well to heavy use, requires little maintenance and is cost effective. However, it does tend to pick up dirt and moss quickly in shady areas and requires a periodic light clean. For these reasons, pavers are often the preferred choice for paving stone installations.

Retaining walls are more than just decorative features on a landscape; they manage soil erosion, hold up seating areas and protect heritage trees and gardens. They can be built in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and finishes; from solid block wall stone to more natural looking cobble and sandstone. Wall stones are a great alternative to manufactured pavers for retaining walls as they can be stacked or mortared and offer more flexibility when it comes to shape and size.

For clients who have existing retaining walls on their Harrisburg property, stone veneers may be the perfect solution to revitalize the design without the need for major construction. Stone veneers are essentially thin slabs of natural stone that are installed as an overlay on masonry substrates such as concrete blocks, poured concrete and even concrete retaining walls. They are easy to install and require no more work than installing a stucco wall.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls serve several primary purposes on a property, including adding flat areas for landscaping and preventing soil erosion. Decorative stone walls also add beauty to garden spaces or can define the perimeter of your home and driveway. Whether you want to give a utilitarian cement wall a high-end look or simply improve the aesthetic of your landscape design, a manufactured stone veneer is an option worth considering.

Retaining wall manufacturers offer a wide range of stone veneer profiles, from rustic Fieldstone and timeless Limestone to elegant Yorkshire. These stone products mimic the look of traditional natural stones but are less expensive. Once contractors install the retaining wall foundation, they apply a layer of mortar to the back of each block and stack the veneer stones while pressing them into the mortar. The contractors then grout the joints.

During the past decade, many homeowners opted for embossed concrete wall block facing that imitated the look of in-ground stones. This style is now fading, and traditional stone looks are gaining popularity.

When choosing a stone for your retaining wall, consider the overall look of your hardscaping and house, as well as the type of land your retaining wall will be located on. Some types of natural stone create a timeworn, rustic feel while others have a more contemporary look that complements newer constructions.

Once you’ve determined the stone that matches or enhances your property, it’s important to take measurements of the area where the retaining wall will be installed before ordering the materials. Calculate the square footage by measuring length x height and factor in any corner stones you plan to use. Most masonry products are packaged with the assumption that a 1/2″ mortar joint will be used, so make sure you add extra material if your wall will require a larger joint.

Some retaining wall projects may require an engineer to specify footings and load requirements, especially if the wall is more than four feet tall. If you’re building a retaining wall on a sloped yard, it’s a good idea to consult with your local soils expert about the best way to build your wall to ensure its stability. In addition, a professional engineer should be specified for any type of retaining wall if it is built on a slope of more than 15%.

Foundation Facades

Many homes, new & old, have bare foundation walls that are exposed at the wall-to-ground interface. This creates an unattractive, unfinished appearance. It can also increase the risk of flooding in the basement.

While adding a brick ledge can improve the look, it is labor intensive and costly. Another way to spruce up the foundation is with stone veneer. A brick & stone faced house foundation looks much more finished than the bare concrete block.

Before stone is installed on a foundation wall, the concrete should be smoothed and two coats of Laticrete air & water barrier applied. This will prevent efflorescence – water behind the rock that causes it to leach out minerals such as salt or calcium which can stain the surface of the stone.

After the application of the air & water barrier, the wall should be backfilled and tamped down. The installer should check for voids and fill as needed. During this process, a slip plane should be installed vertically between the XPS insulation board and the foundation. This allows for movement of the insulated wall system without stressing the membrane.

The vapor barrier is a very important part of any building facade. This will reduce the interior vapor drive of air conditioned spaces in the summer, while maintaining a consistent exterior soil vapor pressure that is lower than that of the conditioned space. The vapor barrier should be a continuous barrier, with no gaps or cracks.

When the vapor barrier is complete, it should be covered with a perforated aluminum screen. The screen should be secured with galvanized nails that are 6″ on center vertically and 8″ on center horizontally, penetrating the masonry studs a minimum of 1″.

If you’re looking to refresh your home, consider adding an attractive stone cladding to your foundation wall. This is a low-cost option for refreshing a house foundation and is available in a variety of colors to match your existing siding. This is a great alternative to adding a brick or stone retaining wall, which will cost significantly more. If you’re considering stone cladding for your house foundation, contact an RCP location near you to learn more about products and pricing.