Changing with the season, hardscapes.

all photos by: Linda Oyama Bryan

In  a climate where so much of our landscape goes dormant for several months each year, we like to place special emphasis on elements that continue to give pleasure when nothing is in bloom.  While through the first three seasons there is a strong emphasis on the living plant materials; emerging in spring, blooming in summer, the subtle fade to fall and it’s amazing colors.  The winter months leave us with only the plants remaining structure or architecture.  And this is why we love to paint the landscapes with stone.

Stonework imparts stability, structure, variety and color to a finished landscape year round.  In the summer months, stone pathways guide visitors through the garden to clusters of lush blooms.  In the spring and fall, stone waterfalls and rock gardens complement emerging greens and changing fall colors.  And in winter, steps and walls add texture and interest to the snowy landscape.

Linda Oyama Bryan Linda Oyama Bryan Linda Oyama Bryan

As you consider your dream landscape, think about how stone can help bring it to life. The materials available and how they are used make the options virtually endless.  Carefully cut bluestone has a warm, polished sophistication.  Rough, irregular Lannonstone form weathered, ancient looking steps and walls.  Flagstone can seem to have emerged from the grass naturally, suggesting an English cottage or French countryside feel.

Linda Oyama Bryan

We are only limited by our imagination. Something as simple as a stone bench, while clearly offering a value in summer months, takes on a new life as a sculpture when covered in snow.

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A gracious greeting.

Where does your home begin–at the front door?  The plantings? Or the curb?  Many homeowners pay great attention to their interior design and finishes, outdoor living areas, and plantings, yet seem to neglect the important first impression made by their driveway.


A stone or brick drive ties a polished environment together; extending the carefully selected finishes all the way to the street.  And with so many options available, including environmentally friendly permeable pavers that help manage rainwater, there’s no reason to live with a concrete or asphalt driveway cutting through your otherwise picturesque property.

Because we feel that this is an important consideration–especially in grand homes with sweeping drives and parking areas–we do the work ourselves.  Our in-house masons install pristine driveways and patios according to our landscape architects’ plans.  That way, we can ensure the work is consistent with the high standards set by the rest of the home.



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Do you have a green thumb? How about green pavers?

Going green in the landscape is not only about plants but your hard surfaces as well. An alternative to help the environment is by using permeable pavers (Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement).

Permeable Pavers

These concrete pavers are created so that the joint openings are typically 5-15% of the surface area and are filled with highly permeable aggregates.  This type of installation requires a much deeper base of angular rock.  This, in turn, allows storm water to runoff more effectively. It even filtrates the water as it passes through the surface joints, base and into the ground below.

To learn more about how you can “Go Green” contact Van Zelst Inc. for a proposal.

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