How Stone and Light Can Unite to Create a Stunning Landscape

Incorporating a stone feature into a landscape design communicates strength, stability, and longevity. The hard lines, defined edges, and sharp contrasts of a stone hardscape, such as a wall, column, walkway, or bench, create texture and nuance. A serpentine retaining wall flowing with the contours of the terrain is pleasing to the eye. The landscape lighting team at Southern Landscape Lighting Systems in Acworth specializes in illuminating the landscape that the homeowner and landscape architect have so carefully crafted.

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A stone hardscape creates a dramatic impact in a landscape. Whether the plan is to add a walkway, renovate a patio, or construct a retaining wall in the yard, flagstone is an excellent material for a residential stone project because it is accessible and affordable. Flagstone, a natural stone slab, is rectangular or square in shape.

Several types of flagstone available in the Georgia market include:

  • Tennessee Crab Orchard flagstone
  • Gray flagstone
  • Cherokee black flagstone
  • Stand-up flagstone
  • Bluestone
  • Oklahoma flagstone

In addition to the variety of styles, many different sizes and lengths are available for just about every project.

Common Uses for Flagstone

Flagstone can be used in a variety of projects. Common applications for flagstone include retaining walls, walkways, patios, driveways, outdoor fireplaces, paths, fences, and stepping stones.

Three Types of Retaining Walls Commonly Used in Residential Landscaping

Dry stack stone retaining walls are common in residential hardscape because they provide a natural look that can be easily achieved by stacking natural rock such as flagstone or Tennessee fieldstone. These simple but beautiful walls add contour to a hillside. A dry stack garden wall can be quickly installed. A pressure treated timber wall affords the quickest installation but lacks the natural beauty and uniqueness of the dry stack wall.  Since this type of wall drains well, needs no footer, and can flow with the existing terrain, it is a good DIY project for the ambitious homeowner.

Stack Stone and Flag Stone

These types of stone retaining walls consist of mortar and concrete block masonry. A concrete footing is required for stability and longevity. Adequate drainage behind the wall is crucial, as well. These retaining walls are veneered with either natural or synthetic stone. To complement existing rock work or to introduce a new design element in the landscape, this style of retaining wall offers the most natural color choices. However, the versatility in design and the complexity of construction result in this wall style being the most expensive among other choices.

Stack stone is the type of stonework where the edges of the stone are visible. The layered look requires a greater quantity of stones. On the other hand, a flagstone retaining wall needs less rock material and labor since the “flag” shaped pieces of stone are placed on the wall and cover a larger area. Natural flagstone can be cut to specific shapes to create a uniquely personal signature. However, this additional manipulation adds a layer of expense to the project.

An article in The Field, a publication of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) comments about dry stack walls, “From the rolling countryside of Ireland to the mountains of Kentucky, the craft of building dry stacked stone walls has a rich history. Handcrafted stone walls dating back hundreds or even thousands of years can be found around the world. They are usually mortar-less, built of local stone, and reflect each area’s vernacular architecture and cultural heritage.”

Stone hardscapes such as dry stack walls make a power statement about the people who incorporate the elements in the landscape. This message is as timeless as the rocks in the wall. Thousands of years, as in the case of Ireland, span dozens of generations. Rock walls perpetuate an architectural vernacular while simultaneously articulating a unique and living narrative.

The expert lighting designers and installers at Southern Landscape Lighting Systems are committed to illuminating beautiful homes and businesses in the metro Atlanta area, including Acworth, Alpharetta, and Marietta. Their many years of experience combine to create unique lighting designs highlight the aesthetic vibrance of a home framed by an elegant landscape. Illuminating outdoor living spaces to reclaim the night and enhance curb appeal while creating a safe environment with discrete security features is both an art and a skill honed over decades of experience and through continuous education.

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For more information about landscape lighting or to set up a consultation, visit the Southern Landscape Lighting Systems website at Contact the office by phone at (678) 324-6842.

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