Being a type of flagstone, much of the physical characteristics of bluestone are shared with the typical flagstone used as a paver and veneer in landscape construction, however, visually bluestone is unique. The characteristic blue/gray of bluestone sets it apart and makes it the perfect accompaniment to both formal and more relaxed outdoor settings. Quarried predominantly in the eastern parts of the United States, namely Pennsylvania and New York, bluestone is synonymous with the traditional buildings of those regions and was one of the first building materials used by early settlers in establishing towns. However, transposed onto a Californian backdrop, bluestone is right at home as a sleek complement to modern luxury homes, or as a laid back surface covering for elegant open air spaces. Below is a far from extensive list of ways to incorporate this versatile yet unassuming stone into your San Clemente, CA landscape design.
A bluestone patio is subtle and easy on the eyes without drawing attention to itself. The cool grays, blues and occasional hint of brown present in the surface of bluestone paving allows for other decorative features to come to the forefront of the design. Black cast iron patio furniture is particularly impactful against a bluestone backdrop, as are the rich hues of wood and brick. Bluestone patios take on a quaint, traditional appearance when placed in relation to painted white wooden structures such as exterior wall paneling, a pergola or white patio furniture, particularly when white jointing is used between the pavers as an additional detail.
Both regular cuts and natural irregular shapes of bluestone are available, both contributing to a different walkway aesthetic. Large regular slabs can be used as practical stepping stones, while uncut pieces can be used to create a cool, naturalistic effect. The subtle colors of bluestone allow for eye-catching border and edging effects, or simply to allow the passing scenery to be the centre of attention.
Bluestone’s resistance to water weathering makes it ideal for use in certain rock water features, as flat outcroppings in a waterfall, the siding for waterways or channels feeding a waterwheel in a rustic design, for example. When wet, bluestone’s deep undertones are especially obvious, making it attractive for use in places where water constantly runs over the surface, creating a dark, glistening effect.
As a flagstone, bluestone holds up under moderate vehicular traffic. Its coloring makes for a more refined and considerably more durable alternative to asphalt or poured concrete, while the texture provides excellent traction for inclined or long, meandering driveways. Small bluestone pavers create driveways reminiscent of cobbled streets and possess a regal, old European air - perfect for homes with large entryways, sprawling grounds and older architectural styles. Larger pavers provide the clean lines and subtlety needed to complement modern and contemporary architectural styles.
As with pavers, various styles of cut exist to provide a range of styles for bluestone wall or step veneer. Square, regular shapes create the impression of tiny gray bricks, while a stacked veneer creates rich texture and more random patterning. Bluestone is also strong enough to be used in the construction of vertical elements and can be stacked to create custom laying patterns or a more haphazard look than pre-packaged stacked veneer.