We sculpt stone into every imaginable form, reshaping sandstone from Yorkshire, slate from Wales, granite from Brazil, limestone from China and basalt from India to produce long-lasting paving materials. Increasingly emulated by precast porcelain tiles, the solid stonework which defines comforting sturdiness under foot outlines a vastness of types, formats, finishes and construction techniques, where every part of the material is entirely utilisable, reusable or reclaimable. Surface designs key into every element of both garden and home, echoing not only deep geological processes with captivating natural qualities, but also, quite tangibly, the sheer craftsmanship of their stonemasons.
Crushed, graded, calibrated, bush-hammered, flamed, sandblasted, honed, tumbled or polished, the abundance of decorative aggregates we utilise to refine our garden designs and cultivate plants delineates an innate fascination with nature's morphological systems. Chippings, pebbles, cobbles, boulders, flints and paddlestones express hierarchy of scale, set order and precise structure through varying shapes, sizes and textures, emulating natural formations, terrains and landforms to impart both meaning and organic tactility. This tamed rockiness finds its inspiring niches even more so in courtyard gardens, where spatial inwardness heightens the architectural merits of each component.
Isamu Noguchi, the Japanese American sculptor and landscape architect highlighted the permanence of stone with an inspiring maxim, asserting musingly that “it is weight that gives meaning to weightlessness.” Noguchi's legacy continues to inspire countless adaptations of timeless stonework, where intuitive yet permanent placement and an attuned perception of space communicate the art of exploring stone in landscape design. We select and position our setts, flagstones, rock scants, monoliths and rockery stones to form naturalistic compositions, celebrating nature reverently to reciprocate with mutable plant and water cycles. Challenging though artistically emancipating, the sculptural and spiritual aspects of stonemasonry sustain the distinctness of a garden design of its time and place.
Pivotally constructional and technically intricate, the partitioning of landscapes and garden designs with stone walls conveys a memorable visuality, from monumental to minimalist, through local vernacular to multifunctional purposes, while invariably multidimensional in form. Stone architecture evokes our everlasting affinity with the primordial, updated both structurally and aesthetically in every original stratum of modern landscape design. Whether via sculpted stone chiselled giftedly, state-of-the-art coursed cladding, complex drainage within retaining walls, immaculately detailed capstones, or encapsulated as environmental art by British artist Andy Goldsworthy, we continually seek to preserve, broaden and reimagine creative landscaping in a symbiotic continuum of sensorially attuned, natural stone gardens.