A STRONG FOUNDATION
Having quite literally stood the test of time, natural stone is the perfect product to surround your pool and alfresco areas as you create the outdoor space of your dreams. This beautiful, natural material is extremely versatile, with choices between the variant of rock, the colour, texture, tone, shape and pattern you want to style around your pool. But with this avalanche of choices comes the question of how to harmonise your design. Here, Amelia Mansell seeks advice from John Hardy, the Sales and Marketing Manager of Yarrabee & Castlemaine Stone Solutions, to discuss the smoothest ways to include natural stone in your pool surrounds.
PAVING THE WAY
Natural stone is a beautiful product that remains an extremely popular choice for pool coping and paving. The material that surrounds a pool and outdoor area plays a defining role in the overall appearance, and it is for this reason that natural stone remains a timeless option. “Natural stone is timeless, durable, and stunning in any outdoor environment.” Hardy says, and with the extensive variety of stones in all colours, tones and textures, there is sure to be a perfect match for every design.
Natural stone “has been in the ground for millenniums and will outlast all of us” Hardy says. Even so, it is important to choose the correct stone for the job. Some slate stones “can absorb moisture that can force the natural laminates within the stone [to] separate, so these are to be avoided.” Hardy explains. Other stones may not be able to withstand being used on a saltwater pool, and you could see cases of quick erosion. Therefore, it is always best to ask for the salt exposure test results of the stone you have chosen for your outdoor area. When choosing your stone, you should also consider how the colour, tone and texture of the stone will work with the surrounding area. “Some contemporary homes lend themselves to the sharp clean lines of sawn edged stones e.g. granite. Others work better with a more relaxed, earthy look of a random ‘crazy’ paving.” Hardy says. For those who sit between these two styles, limestone and travertine are wonderful options, particularly when laid in a French pattern.
Available in an enormous range of colours – Yarrabee & Castlemaine Stone Solutions offers 13 variants themselves – limestone is endlessly versatile, and available in both pool coping and paving to create a harmonised flow between your pool and alfresco areas. This stone is slip resistant, incredibly durable and remains cool and comfortable throughout the hot summer days, making it the perfect choice for all outdoor spaces.
A fabulously simple way to create a seamless aesthetic from the pool to the rest of your outdoor area is to use the same stone for your coping and paving for a smooth finish. Gone are the days of using a contrasting coping stone, now when choosing coping and paving “Continuity of product is the preferred look.” Hardy explains. Mixing textures can be a balancing game of find the right complementary textures, tones, shapes and/or patterns without overwhelming the design. But for those who remain intrigued, choosing complementary stones for your ground and wall in different shapes and textures can “add a real interest and character to a project.” Hardy suggests.
A wonderful method to achieve harmony between your outdoor areas and home design is to carry your exterior stone materials from the outside in, or vice versa. This could be done in subtle ways, such as the choice of stone benchtops, or a smooth transition of your chosen stone paving into the interior floor. Hardy explains that Yarrabee & Castlemaine Stone Solutions offers a range of products for just this purpose, with “minor adjustments made to the surface of the stone to achieve an indoor product with a clean smooth surface that is easily maintained.” In comparison, the outdoor stone has “a light acid etching or a fine sandblasting to give it the required slip resistance for pool surrounds.” Hardy says.
You could take this design a step further and flow the coping and paving stone down into your pool or spa, saturating your design with this gorgeous natural product. Whether you line the entire pool and spa with stone or use it as a feature within the pool, this is a great way to create a harmonious connection in your outdoor design. And aesthetically, a unique benefit many may not have considered is that with a stone-lined pool “The water colour achieved is both unusual and attractive.” Hardy says. But when going down this route, remember to check that your chosen stone is appropriate for internal pool use.
Ensuring that the stone you have chosen is a safe to be utilised in a wet area is a high priority. “Safety around the pool is always the first concern.” Hardy affirms. P5 is the highest slip rating a product can receive, and P4 is the minimum requirement for pool surrounds. In addition, there is a detailed process to the production and treatment of stone to create the textured surface necessary to satisfy these ratings. So, while you may enjoy the appearance and feel of stone with a fine grit, these products do not always have the necessary traction to be used safely outdoors, or in wet areas, and quickly become slippery when wet, leading to accidents or injuries. Hardy’s advice fort the best way to ensure you are choosing a product that is safe for your intended use it is to ask for a copy of the official slip test results and check the rating before you buy.
When considering how to take care of your natural stone coping and/or pavers, the first step is to make sure you have the right cleaning product. Hardy coins penetrative sealers as a wonderful option for natural stone, as it will not change the appearance of the stone in terms of shine or colour g and most importantly will not impact the slip resistance. “Some types of stone sealers are fine for inside but dangerous and unattractive outdoors. […] Don’t just buy off the shelf – ask an expert.” Hardy advises. The last thing you want after designing the pool and outdoor area of your dreams is to alter or damage its appearance by using the wrong product.
Natural stone is a stunning product to utilise in your pool and outdoor areas. With countless options in colour, tone and texture, this versatile and durable product has something to offer for every outdoor design.
Images courtesy of Yarrabee & Castlemaine Stone Solutions