Monthly Archives: June 2013

Natural Stone Pillar Caps: Hardscaping Options

CST Flat Cap 300x272 Natural Stone Pillar Caps: Hardscaping Options

CST Flat Cap

Pillars or piers are beautiful accents to a variety of outdoor living environment projects. Piers can be placed on either side of the driveway or a sidewalk as an identification of and welcome to your home. Pillars can bracket entrances / exits to your patio providing a visual accent and/or a practical finishing touch to a sitting wall. Patio pillars also provide a surface that can be used for any number of purposes, e.g., lights, finials, planters, a place to set a plate, even as an armrest on a sitting wall). Pillars can be used to hide structural columns or to provide the base for a pergola. You can use the basic pillar structure to build a picnic table or bistro table.

How a pillar is capped has a significant impact on the look of the area as well as what can be placed on the top of the pillar. Pillar caps can be found in three major shapes: flat, light top, and peaked. Flat caps are needed when a pier is intended to have something placed on it such as a planter, statue or dishes. Flat caps can also support lights (See “CST Flat Cap” picture) but you many prefer a light top cap. Light top caps have some form of rise in the middle either as part of a one-piece cap with a specially designed shape (see Techo Bloc StoneEdge Pillar Cap” picture) or by stacking individual pieces to form a higher center (see “EP Henry Stacked Cap” picture). Finally, peaked pillar caps are designed to be stand-alone, without additional use, and purely decorative for your hardscaping project.

Pillar caps may be natural stone or man-made. Caps may be one piece (“CST Flat Cap” picture) or multiple pieces – both man-made (“Stacked Cap”) and natural stone (“Natural Stone Mosaic Cap”).

The range of possibilities is endless. Visit us to see the many options of style and color or trust your contractor to design a choice that is right for your project.

Capping Walls – Proliferation of Options

Landscape walls take a variety of forms – garden walls, retaining walls, sitting walls, privacy walls. And each can be implemented in a variety of materials – manufactured materials, natural stone, cinder block with veneer. The resulting “look” of the wall consequently has a similar variety of appearances from traditional manufactured split face to rustic natural stacked stone.

Historically, natural stone walls were capped with larger pieces of the same stone as part of the overall hardscape design. Manufactured walls were capped with a cap thinner than the wall block but with the same color and texture. Over the last few years, many new options have emerged.

The traditional options still dominate customer installations. But if you are seeking a different look, two major categories of new products can be considered for hardscape design: treads and simulated stone.

Treads are pieces of natural stone or concrete which are at least three-foot, straight sections providing for longer expanses without seams. Treads can be finished on one long side or both or even the two long sides and an end. The most common edge in natural stone treads is flamed. But rock-faced edges are also available or can be added by a skilled mason. These looks are mimicked in simulated stone treads. Natural stone in the Pennsylvania area will most likely be flagstone, blue in color or variegated which adds greens and browns to the basic blue color. Natural stone treads can found in sandstone (beige), limestone (pale gray) or west mountain where each piece presents various combinations of brown, beige, gold and salmon. EP Henry, Techo Bloc, and CST are leading vendors in providing manufactured simulated bluestone treads which are generally blue or brown but can sometimes be produced in custom colors.

Techo Bloc has pioneered simulated stone wall caps. They offer Portofino, Muro, Venetian, and Niagara caps (in addition to multiple concrete tread options). These caps are double sided and trapezoid in shape making both straight and curved walls easy to cap. They are designed to look like natural stone but offer the advantage multiple colors in addition to easier curves.

Hennessy Venetian 300x224 Capping Walls – Proliferation of Options

Hennessy Landscaping, Venetian Caps

Wall caps are generally either 12 or 14-inches deep. This is usually wide enough to top any wall or step structure. Treads can be found in depths up to two feet. Deeper concrete products are usually special ordered.