Alternate applications of wood, metal and stone in your landscape

Posted August 2, 2018 in Landscape Design

MasterPLAN believes that comprehensive and beautiful outdoor living spaces incorporate three key elements: wood, metal and stone.  Decks, deck railings and stone veneer are common applications of these elements, and if done tastefully, will make a lovely impact in your backyard.  However, these mediums are very versatile when it comes to outdoor living, and if you are comfortable exploring the possibilities, you can create beautiful pieces of art within your landscape that will complement and enhance your space.  Let’s take a look at a few examples:


ipe arbor

Using wood in the landscape doesn’t always have to mean building a deck!  There are some beautiful types of wood out there that beg for out of the box ideas!  Take this over the door arbor, for instance.  This arbor is constructed out of dense and gorgeously rich Ipe.  For those of you who are not familiar with Ipe (pronounced  E-pay), it is an exotic, rich-grain wood that is extremely hard, durable and resistant to rot and insects!  This arbor not only adds visual interest to the house in a stark yet complementing contrast to its vinyl siding, it aesthetically dapples the sunlight that filters through the home, without blocking out the sun completely.

wood cladding
Another alternate use for wood in the landscape is wood cladding!  Take this MasterPLAN created outdoor kitchen, for example.  The kitchen itself is modern with all amenities to make this the hub for outdoor entertainment, and the inclusion of the reclaimed barnwood cladding on the walls lends a rustic feel to a contemporary space.  This creates the perfect balance between new-world design and old-world influence.


corten steel fire pit
You don’t have to count on metal deck railings or your trusty outdoor grill for metal inclusion in your outdoor living spaces.  Metal is the perfect material for retaining walls, fences, built-in fire pits, industrial-esque planters…etc.  Take corten steel, for example.  Once this material is installed, an alloy is applied to its surface, creating a top layer of rust.  Typically homeowners hate to see rust on any of their investments, but corten welcomes it with open arms.  Once the oxidation process has halted, the rich yet rustic corrosion harmonizes with lush green landscaping and the soft warm glow of landscape and accent lighting, creating an interesting and beautiful addition to your outdoor living space.metal sculpture
For those who can’t seem to find the beauty in rust, have no worry!  Iron and stainless steel can be incorporated into your outdoor living space, and bring just as much drama as corten steel.  Hardware, water features and sculptures are great examples of metal inclusion within the landscape.  For instance, look at this custom-designed metal sculpture.  When this sculpture was standing alone in the workshop, it could be appreciated for its precision and admired for its simple and handcrafted construction.  However, within the landscape, it adds structure, visual interest and balance to the stone of the home and the surrounding soft landscaping.  Highlighting features like sculptures and water features allow them to act as a focal point while subconsciously highlighting the surrounding landscape.



basalt spires

A nice mortared in place or dry-stack stone incorporated in an outdoor living space is simply gorgeous, but stone has so much more potential!  The versatility of stone is virtually endless.  Stone can be incorporated into aesthetic and retaining features like gabions or handcrafted into custom pieces to add appeal within the landscape.  Take these basalt stone spires.  Standing alone, they are beautiful and are a great outdoor accent, but they really come to life when the landscape timer kicks on and the water spills over in a melodious manner.  Beautiful to look at and soothing to listen to, you don’t need to be in close proximity to enjoy the subtle niceties of this stone water feature!

boulder waterfall

On a larger scale, boulders can also be functional within your outdoor living space, and not just within your garden beds!  Here, you see the stacked boulders act as a part of the retaining wall but also double as a calming waterfall! The cumbersome stones seem like they have always just been there, giving a safe, comforting and welcoming feeling to the space.

When it comes to creating your own outdoor living space, be sure to share all of your outdoor needs with your landscape designer so they can take the reins and get creative!  You will want to discuss all the features you would like incorporated into your design, but you should also talk about the feelings you want to experience in the space.  A professional designer will know how to pick up on subtle clues throughout your conversations and provide options that you may not have even thought of, creating an amazing professional experience and designer backyard.

Here at MasterPLAN Outdoor Living, translating your outdoor aspirations into a 3D full-color plan is our specialty and we truly believe that seeing your proposed backyard in 3D is to truly understand it!  We also believe that designing with the integrity of your home’s architecture and aesthetic guarantees a cohesive design that will remain beautiful and timeless throughout the years.  For those living in the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey who are ready to reimagine their own backyard, reach out to MasterPLAN!  Together, we can create an outdoor living space that fits your family’s needs, your lifestyle and your property!  We would love to welcome you into the MasterPLAN family.

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