Generally speaking, bluestone and sandstone are two of several different types of stone referred to collectively as flagstone, due to the way they are used in hardscape construction. These stones share a characteristic in that they split into relatively flat segments or “flags” that can be laid in patterns for patios and walkways. So which flagstone should you use for your Middletown, NJ, landscape?
Using Sandstone in Your Landscape
Sandstone is usually made of a mixture of feldspar and quartz, as well as fragments of other rock, and is so called because of its sand-sized grain. Sandstone forms when particles are compacted by the pressure of overlying deposits and tiled by the precipitation of minerals within the pore spaces between the sand grains. Hence sandstone looks very much like compressed sand or layers of sedimentary material. The stone can be found in various colors, besides the typical tan and light brown, red, black to gray colors are also available. Sandstone is an excellent addition to landscaped areas, adding texture and a natural feel to make space more appealing to the eye.
Sandstone can be used to outline natural areas to define the space or make it visually distinctive. For example, it can be used to highlight the contrast between dark mulch and hardscape by using light-colored sandstone. Sandstone can be used to edge an area with stones to create a barrier between a lawn and landscape, keeping grass and weeds from spreading into your mulch. The contrast between the golds and browns of sandstone and greenery is striking, as is the combination of sandstone with the bright blues of swimming pools. This, coupled with sandstone’s naturally non-slip surface, makes it excellent for poolside patios and pool surrounds. Large pieces of sandstone of varying sizes can also be added to natural areas to give them texture and highlight certain plants.
Using Bluestone in Your Landscape
The composition of bluestone and sandstone is very similar in most cases. The primary difference between the two lies in the color. While sandstone is generally warmly colored, bluestone has a gorgeous cool to neutral coloring that blends well with almost any kind of landscape. Shades include light grey, blue, dark grey and even cool browns and greens. Regular cut bluestone has clean lines and refined edges. This, coupled with its reserved coloring, makes bluestone an excellent choice for formal and traditional design themes. Bluestone can be used for most hardscape applications, including footpaths, patios and kerbs. It is available in a variety of shapes and finishes.
Bluestone is available in cut stone or flagstone pieces with sizes range from 4 by 6 inches to 36 by 36 inches. Bluestone finishes can be rough or natural cleft, or smoother, with a thermal finish. Both can be used for walkways. Natural cleft is a kind of split-face surface whereby the stone is split along naturally occurring fissures. Thermal process creates a more consistent surface. Thermal and natural cleft finishes are the most widely used, although other finishes are available for architectural bluestone.
Both bluestone and sandstone require minimal maintenance and can be cleaned with a gentle pressure wash every few years. The choice between the two generally comes down to the style of hardscape that is desired, with sandstone offering a relaxed, casual beachy feel and bluestone providing formal elegance and sophistication.
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