Concrete landscaping combines cost effectiveness with creative choice.
Concrete can look like many things to the eye. It can look like concrete as we normally visualize it, or it can take the form of a finely polished slab made of decorative stone. It can also be molded into blocks that look like any number of natural stone types.
This shape shifting ability allows concrete to be used in any type of Houston landscaping design. It is quite popular, for obvious reasons, in modern and contemporary design. In its raw, undecorated state, white concrete has a brilliant starkness that works extremely well in contrast to the darker colors of gravel and the dark green plant materials commonly used in these 20th century styles.
It has a rugged symmetry and a malleability that make it easy to shape into complex geometric patterns that support the mathematical nature of contemporary aesthetics.
It often surprises many people when they learn that concrete landscaping can do even more in traditional forms of Houston landscaping. All design styles involve hardscape design to some extent. Obviously more nature-oriented styles emphasize gardens and trees more than formal, geometry landscaping styles. Nevertheless, even in the most primitive of designs, concrete imitation stone can be used to compliment the very look and feel of nature itself.
This is because concrete can be poured into blocks that look identical to any number of stone types.
Popular high-end stone materials include granite, marble, basalt, bluestone, and flagstone. Cutting and polishing each stone is very labor intensive and expensive.
It is not a bad thing to invest in the real thing if it is essential for the construction of a particular element. However imitating these same forms with decorative concrete landscaping materials can be equally appropriate, just as effective, and far less expensive when multiple structures are being constructed throughout the properly.
Concrete can be stained, stamped, brushed, and etched with ornamental designs that can make it appear like any of the stone types listed above. This is normally done while the concrete is being mixed, or immediately after it has been poured while still partly wet. While in liquid form, concrete can be poured into molds like plaster. When partly solidified, it can be molded to some degree, much like clay.
This malleability allows us to build vertical structures out of single pieces of concrete. Landscaping walls, for example, can create zones of interest by adding only a few feet of vertical impact to the yard. For traditional and early American style yards, concrete can be stamped too look like it is made out of bricks or masonry blocks.
For a slightly wilder look, more true to nature itself, the wall can be manually constructed out of concrete imitation stones. They can be stained and pattern to look like any of the popular stone types used in Classical, Italian, French, English, Mediterranean, and tropical landscaping designs.
Concrete landscaping also serves a very real, pragmatic purpose on certain Houston landscapes as well. Yards near bayous, where erosion washes away the soil and destroys curb appeal, can be protected with concrete retaining walls. These walls are built specifically with soil retention in mind, but they are also decoratively formed to compliment home architecture, other landscape elements, and even garden design.