When it comes to hardscaping projects like patios, walkways, and retaining walls, selecting the right material is crucial. Natural stone and manufactured stone are two popular choices, each with its own set of unique characteristics – all of which are important to consider when deciding what materials to use for your next project.
Natural stone is renowned for its natural, authentic beauty. Straight from the earth, natural stone is unique, so that no two pieces are the same, but it tends to have less color options than manufactured stones. It can be dry laid or wet laid, giving you more options for its display.
Natural stone is known for being an extremely durable material, holding up well against chipping, cracking, and fading, but it unfortunately isn’t the most environmentally friendly option; it’s a natural resource that is quarried from the earth, a practice that isn’t considered sustainable. The scarcity of natural materials and difficulty of its extraction and transportation hike up natural stone’s price tag, typically making it a pricier option than manufactured stone.
Natural stone is a great material for large and small projects, from patios and pool areas to walkways and retaining walls.
A manmade product, manufactured stone is a popular choice for its versatility, durability, and affordability. Because it’s manufactured, it can come in colors far beyond what you can typically find in natural stone, giving you a variety of options for your project. It’s typically dry laid, meaning it doesn’t require mortar when it’s installed, making installation typically easier than that of natural stone.
It’s highly durable, with the ability to withstand harsh weather and extreme temperatures, but is prone to fading from the sun and showing signs of wear over time, and will likely need occasional maintenance and treatment to keep it looking new. It’s also the more affordable option compared to natural stone, due to its lower production, transportation, and installation costs – and it’s often created from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendly option that requires fewer natural resources.
Manufactured stone serves well in decorative borders, walkways, retaining walls, and outdoor kitchens, and can even be used to create entire patios.
Ultimately, the choice between natural stone and manufactured stone depends on your specific needs and preferences. Natural stone offers authenticity and long-term durability but comes at a higher cost, while manufactured stone provides versatility and easier installation. Consider factors such as your project budget, desired aesthetic, and maintenance requirements when making your decision. Whether you opt for the elegance of natural stone or the versatility of manufactured stone, your hardscaping project is sure to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space.