Landscaping the Landings

So many times we just miss highlighting our landings in the Spring and Summer.  Although we can surround ourselves with beautiful, flowering, potted foliage the basic structure of our toils should last a lifetime.  This is why many folks tend to collect a lot of rock and cement art for the yard.  It just makes us happy and lasts for a long time.

About 75% of American homeowners spend time or money — or both — tending to their lawns. So update your front yard or backyard design with shrubbery, gardens, walkways, and more.  Here’s how to make yours look better than ever without breaking the bank.

If your front or backyard includes a hill or hillside space, you’ll need a landscape design plan that allows for maximum beauty with minimal maintenance. A sloped backyard comes alive with water-wise plants and clever landscaping.  There are many varieties of flowers and shrubs that thrive on slopes. For a gentle slope within a lawn, try terracing sections of the yard to create flower beds.

Buying a property often comes along with certain amount of compromise. For some, this means making peace with a cozy yard rather than sprawling grounds. Choosing flower beds with edging will define the space.  We all dream of the perfect front or back yard with a cozy wooden deck to spend summer nights and a beautiful fire pit where you can get warm on cold nights. Some of our best landscaping ideas include adding height with planters and baskets, and creating spaces where outdoor party guests can sit, relax, and enjoy drinks and company. These backyard landscaping ideas on a budget can help you save money.  Get inspired!

Designing the front yard is also very important. It gives to the house great look. You can decorate your front yard with flowers, grass, rocks and a lot of other creative stuff. If you are looking for inspiration in garden designs, you have come to the right place. Gardeners are always tinkering, always improving, always dreaming.

Your home may be your castle, but rather than surround it with a moat, use any of these wonderful yard landscaping ideas to add warmth, color, and texture to the place you love to live. From growing blooming shrubs, to planting annuals and perennials, to deer-proofing your garden, there are many beautiful and wonderful ways to make your home inviting and appealing.

Each of these yard landscaping ideas is both attractive and functional, so let them stir your imagination. Then, use our best landscaping ideas to help you create the stunning outdoor living spaces you know you will cherish for many years to come.

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Texture: Cast Stone vs. Limestone

Want to know the differences in texture between Limestone and Cast Stone? For this demonstration, we picked a random piece of Limestone from our stock yard and a sample block of one of our standard cast stone colors. This is not to compare colors but to illustrate the effects of viewing distance on the perceived texture of the stone.  Limestone carries a much higher cost than Cast Stone.

At about ten to twenty feet away, which is around your average viewing distance, it is very difficult to tell the difference between Cast Stone and Limestone. With exception to the color variation.  Cast Stone can be manufactured in many different colors.

At One Foot, Two Feet, Three Feet, and Four Feet

In short; it all comes down to perspective.

 Limestone on the left and Cast Stone on the right at 5″.

(If you hadn’t seen the first pictures, could you tell which is which?)

As you can see up close, there are obvious differences between the two. However, the farther away you get, the less obvious the differences become.

The proof is in the pictures – the obvious differences in texture begin to fade away after just a few feet as shown above. This makes Cast Stone the obvious choice for Limestone substitution.

*No boots we harmed in the making of this blog post.

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Building Solutions

While limestone is still the builders choice, it’s really hard to imagine a more practical solution than Cast Stone.  With lower cost, durability, color availability, and all the other qualities, why would you use anything else?


A Limestone Obelisk

As is very common in architecture, especially in Europe and North America, limestone is the builders’ choice for structural elements in and on buildings.  In the Middle Ages, where it was available, limestone was a very popular building block. It is hard, durable, and commonly occurs in easily accessible surface exposures. Many medieval churches and castles in Europe are made of Limestone.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries limestone gained popularity. Train stations, banks and other structures from that era are normally made of limestone.  It is also used as a façade on some skyscrapers, but only in thin plates for covering, rather than solid blocks. It is long-lasting and stands up well to exposure. However, it is a very heavy material, making it impractical for tall buildings, and in these days, relatively expensive for building.



Limestone is a sedimentary rock.  Like most other sedimentary rocks, is composed of mostly of small grains of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral and mollusks. Other carbonate grains comprising Limestone are ooids, peloids, intraclasts, and extraclasts. These organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite, and leave these shells behind when they die.

Acid rain is a significant problem to the  preservation of artifacts made from this stone and (to a lesser extent) marble.  Many limestone statues and building surfaces have suffered severe damage due to acid rain. Acid-based cleaning chemicals can also etch limestone, which should only be cleaned with a neutral or mild alkaline-based cleaner.

Limestone is readily available and relatively easy to cut into blocks or more elaborate carvings. In the United States, Indiana, most notably the Bloomington area, has long been a source of high quality quarried limestone, called Indiana limestone.

As the demand for limestone becomes apparent it has become directly proportional to the expense of excavation and tooling. Cast Stone has stepped up to become the best, affordable, and most convenient alternative to Limestone.

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What is Cast Stone?

For the Apprentice’

Cast Stone is being used more than you would believe.  It is literally everywhere: homes, banks, shopping malls, schools, and county buildings, just to name a few.  The beauty of Cast Stone lies within the basic recipe (shh … it’s a secret). Most Cast Stone is sand, cement (it’s different from concrete), and a little bit of water. When mixed together correctly it produces a similar look to Limestone.


Cst Stone Door SurroundBecause it is a man-made product, it is more durable, cost effective, can accept other polymers for added strength, and can be produced in various colors.  Our standard colors are White, Buff, and Gray, in a few varying hues of each. These are the most popular color choices for exterior applications (however, custom colors are available).  If you are uncomfortable with the natural patina that will occur on the exterior stone, a sealer can be applied, and with regular cleaning it will retain that new look for several years.  The stone can also be painted or stained. 

Houzz has a nice selection of Cast Stone ideas for the exterior of your home as well as your landscaping.  Interior applications are a bit more evasive.  Should you decide to design with Cast Stone on the interior, like a fireplace, we would highly suggest that a sealer be used so that dust particles can be brushed away easily.  Weight should also be a structural consideration, as true Cast Stone is -shall we say- heavy.

Installation should be completed by an experienced stone mason (preferably with Cast Stone experience) and not just a brick mason – it’s a whole different animal. Estimated installation costs could run about 65-100% of the Cast Stone costs, depending on the complexity of the job and /or the size and weight of the stones themselves.

When building, your Cast Stone would be shipped directly from our yard to your new home or business.

We hope this helps answer some of the starting questions for your Cast Stone.  If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us at or call us at 770-967-0076.