In order to understand just how important custom masonry is to Houston landscape design, we have to first understand what it is.
Custom masonry is the most pronounced type of hardscape because rises up from the ground. It adds a vertical element to the foundations and porticos of patio design, and it introduces a third dimension of man-made form to the world of trees and plants.
In the world of custom masonry, we find a multitude of geometric forms that have been present with us since before our lives began. These forms date back to the time of the Ancients and have since become memorialized as symbols of civilization and consciousness. Old brick walls, stone patios, columns, seat walls, stone steps, and stone retaining walls still stand in places on old Sumerian and Egyptian landscapes while their younger equivalents rise daily in yards and commercial properties all over the modern Houston landscape.
The greatest contribution that custom masonry makes is its ability to marry architecture to the landscape.
This marriage of forms is essential if thelandscape designer is going to succeed in building a truly livable outdoor space that defines activity with aesthetic itself. When we take the masonry components of home construction and build them outward into the open space of the yard, we generate a feeling of unity between hardscape and softscape that implies a return to a state of Nature and the integration of its elements and forces into human life.
Some of the more ornate examples of custom masonry work include things you may overlook until you are literally standing right on top of them, or right beside them. Custom drain grates, beautiful mosaics, and custom stone patterns constitute the “little things” that transform functionality into sophisticated patterns of design and ornamentation.
Custom masonry also plays a foundational role in adding water elements to the Houston landscape. It is essential to custom fountain design, and it is also the literal backbone of swimming pool construction. Masonry is the predominant material for cladding the substructure of the pool. This superstructure includes the beams that stabilize the entire structure, the shell of the pool itself, and the concrete that forms the actual bottom of the pool.
Custom masonry is also a key ingredient to garden design. Because gardens are predominantly organic in nature, the selective addition of custom masonry elements links vegetation directly into the architecture of the home. For a typical garden, something as simple as a small architectural wall or a linear planter running to the house is often all we need to link apparently divergent realities into a interrelated, interdependent unity. Larger gardens on more expansive properties can also be linked to major elements of the Houston landscape with more elaborate masonry work.
As we have previously noted, masonry has been the main element of architecture for thousands of years. Outdoor room construction is no exception to this rule. In fact, in some ways, it is even more important here because outdoor rooms are open on at least one side to provide a panoramic view of the Houston landscape. Only through the nuances and subtleties of custom masonry design can truly unique outdoor structures be built as special spaces of individual expression and refined Houston outdoor living.