Now that the new house is being built, it is quite apparent that the outdoor spaces are of critical importance in making the most of the house design, mainly because the house is an ‘L’ shape, and the inside of the ‘L’ is a courtyard that can be seen from virtually every room on the main floor. The landscape design was a bit of a challenge, because the orientation and views from the house are as often diagonal as they are straight. Thankfully, I have an expert landscape architect, Alec Michaelides of LandPlus, and he has created a beautiful design that balances hardscape (the paved areas, including patios and walls) and softscape (the plants).
For budget and design reasons, we selected the outdoor paver material that will be used in the hardscape fairly early on. When looking through my files, many of my favorite pictures seem to have bluestone, which is a very popular choice here in Atlanta. One drawback – because of the darker color of the stone, it can get hot when placed in sunny areas. Limestone is also used quite often in Atlanta, and has a lighter color, but it is above my price point and some say that it etches and stains very easily. We also looked at concrete products such as Peacock Pavers, which come in light colors and don’t get as hot in the sun. Travertine wasn’t an option because we get freezes in Atlanta, and apparently exterior travertine is not hardy enough for the cold.
I thought about this decision quite a while, and ultimately decided that my favorite look is bluestone. I love the color, and particularly like a tailored installation of the stone. Because my landscape architect kept mentioning the fact that bluestone can get quite hot under bare feet, I took every opportunity to test it out last summer – whenever I was at a home with bluestone pavers (even the Symphony Showhouse!), I took off my shoes and tested out the feel of the bluestone. Ultimately, I decided that the warmth of the stone is something I can live with, especially since the stone cools quickly when out of the sun, and the area where the majority of the pavers will be located will only be in direct sun until mid afternoon.
This is one of my favorite pictures of bluestone on a patio. I particularly like this bluestone because it is fairly uniform in color, without the oranges that bluestone can often contain.
Many of my favorite landscape pictures contain bluestone as a major design element.
I am not sure where this picture came from – maybe Restoration Hardware? I like the furniture, but it is the landscape design that caught my eye, with the rugged stone wall and the sunken bluestone patio.
Another stone wall combined with bluestone. I particularly like how the pool area is like its own outdoor room, with walls and stairs.
One of my all time favorite landscape pictures – a bluestone patio culminating in an outdoor fireplace.
There is something about bluestone that looks so beautiful in combination with a pool. This pool is actually part of the same property as the previous picture - what a magnificent landscape design. I have had these pictures in my files for years, source unknown.
And last, but not least, one of my favorite backyard pictures – an outdoor room attached to the garage of a home, with architecture by Pursley Architecture. The color palette, with the gray of the slate roof, the off white of the painted brick, the gray-blue of the pool, and all of the bluestone - sheer perfection.
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