The landscaping around your property is made up of two categories: Trees, hedges and plants that are together known as "greenscape". With the exception of evergreens, greenscape on Long Island changes with the seasons. The other category is known as "hardscape". This includes the driveways, walkways, patios, walls and fences that are permanent structures.
Because hardscape elements provide a backdrop for your other landscaping, planning and creating durable hardscape elements that you love will create a foundation that enhances maturing greenscape elements and the accents you add as the seasons progress.
What is Masonry?
Masonry is the basis of many hardscape elements. Wikipedia describes masonry as the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar. It is a centuries-old trade, memorably perfected by Romans in the construction of such structures as the Coliseum and the roads of the Roman Empire. Many of the structures survive today, at least in part, underscoring the durability and lasting beauty of the craft.
The solid permanence of masonry elements, and the artistry of the many great masons working on Long Island, can improve the resale value of your home. Masonry can, however, be an expensive part of your landscaping plan. Artistic and durable execution requires skilled craftsmen, so plan and choose wisely your contractor and the features that you incorporate into your landscape.
Brick and rock are the masonry materials that most often come to mind, although skilled Long Island masons also work with quarried and cut stone, glass blocks, poured concrete and mortar-less concrete blocks.
Masonry for Function and Accent
There are many ways in which masonry can provide functional and beautiful accents in your landscaping:
Driveways and walkways - pavers, bricks, stonework such as Belgian block curbs and poured concrete create driveways; brick, slate and other stone make walkways that curve through your yard and garden, and steps that carve paths into the slopes of your property
Architectural elements and accents - much as columns and crown molding add architectural interest or "bones" inside your home, curving fieldstone walls and brick or stone patios can create and delineate outdoor rooms for dining and relaxing, and can highlight greenscape features such as specimen trees. Ponds, fountains and even waterfalls constructed of stonework can add planned 'natural' beauty to your property
Draining and irrigation - retaining walls that serve to prevent erosion can be executed in stone to look also be architectural elements, and water from rainstorms and melting snow can be ushered along a desired path (and away from the house) with stone drains
Concealing - masonry can create structures to hide unattractive but necessary elements like air-conditioning units and trash receptacles in a subtle way that integrates with the rest of your landscaping
Pros and Cons of Masonry
Use of masonry has few disadvantages. These are primarily the need to build on a firm foundation and structural requirements due to the weight of masonry building elements. These are usually more than offset by the advantages for homeowners: low maintenance (no painting!), heat resistance and fire protection, versatility of the crafts many materials and methods, and beautiful, natural appearance of well-executed masonry projects.
For skilled masonry contractors on Long Island check out
Tom Mirabella and Bob Roddini are homeowners. Like you, at times they needed help with repairs and remodeling, and have had difficulty in the past finding qualified and reliable contractors. Their goal was to connect homeowners who need remodeling and repair work with prescreened professionals ready to work. They created
as a one stop resource for Long Island home improvement projects big or small. You can find a directory of contractors and easy access to useful information about home improvement and repair, to inspire and encourage you to get it done, whether "it" is adding a master suite or fixing a leaky faucet.