Benefits of using cast stone for landscaping projects
Standard and bespoke cast stone are very cost-effective for producing high-quality features for hard landscaping
Gary Horsfall, Director of Procter Cast Stone, explains the benefits of using high-quality standard and bespoke cast stone for landscaping projects.
Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is renowned for creating natural-looking landscapes, yet he invariably incorporated hard landscaping features such as bridges and follies. Today, homeowners and architects working on all scales, from small suburban gardens to large properties with extensive grounds, continue to utilise hard landscaping. Cast stone is very cost-effective for this, either standard cast stone products or bespoke items, with the possibilities being limited only by the designer’s imagination. Very tellingly, at the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the coveted People’s Choice Award was won by Matthew Wilson’s colourful garden ‘God's Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire’, which made brilliant use of bespoke cast stone manufactured by Procter Cast Stone.
Matthew Wilson’s garden design was inspired by the medieval Great East Window at York Minster and required 30 tonnes of cast stone for columns, finials and additional details. Procter Cast Stone worked with Matthew Wilson to develop his initial sketches into working drawings from which moulds could be made and the cast stone units manufactured.
The ‘God’s Own County’ garden uniquely illustrates the way in which cast stone can benefit hard landscaping. More typically, cast stone is used for entrance columns, copings, pier caps, spheres, balustrading, walling and steps. It is also chosen either on its own or to complement other structural materials for gazebos and orangeries. Procter Cast Stone has a broad portfolio of standard products or, if required, the company can manufacture products that are modified from standard designs or fully bespoke – as with Matthew Wilson’s award-winning garden. Designers can create a classical look using traditional styles and details, or a more contemporary appearance can be achieved very easily. Furthermore, designers can select one of Procter’s standard colours or, if required, special colours can be produced to order.
Some homeowners choose cast stone for creating a focal point for their garden, while others find cast stone is excellent for executing a broader theme encompassing walling, steps, balustrading and outdoor living spaces. Whatever the need, cast stone is remarkably versatile, with superb structural and aesthetic characteristics.
While ‘Capability’ Brown always used quarried stone, cast stone offers a number of advantages, with its substantially lower cost being the biggest. Cast stone also has a far shorter lead time. To the untrained eye, cast stone is indistinguishable from quarried stone, yet both are similarly low-maintenance, weather the same and last for the lifetime of the garden.
Procter Cast Stone is a well-established business and has recently invested over a quarter of a million pounds to expand and improve its manufacturing facilities in Garforth, West Yorkshire. With an in-house joinery shop for production of the all-important moulds, together with computerised batching plant and a climate-controlled curing chamber, Procter Cast Stone tightly manages the entire manufacturing process to ensure that its products are of the highest quality possible – indeed, the strength and quality far exceed the requirements laid down in BS 1217 and we work to the UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) specification for Cast Stone, which is more stringent than the British Standard. The installation of most standard products is well within the capabilities of general builders and landscaping contractors but, for complex structures such as gazebos, steps or balustrading, Procter Cast Stone has its own teams of highly skilled installers who will ensure the cast stone construction is completed on time and to the client’s full satisfaction.
For landscaping projects, Procter Cast Stone can also work closely with Procter Contracts for the design, manufacture and installation of ornamental gates, railings and other architectural metal work. Procter’s most photographed ornamental gates are those installed at Kensington Palace.
Contact Procter Cast Stone to enquire about standard or bespoke cast stone for landscaping by emaill [email protected], telephone or the online chat facility on the website. Alternatively, download a PDF version of the brochure here or see our videos about the Chelsea Flower Show project and more.