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Welcome to the New Stone Age

by Caitlin Kelch

There are two things I’m saving for. A solar Tuscan tile roof and a self-designed limestone surround for some type of simple DIY wading pool. Here in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia and Virginia, limestone and bluestone are plentiful and has been used for centuries in local builds. Stone is a big deal here and each personal landscape that incorporates it has a feeling of strength, history and fortification. Our picturesque and preserved quarries (as seen below) are enjoyed by locals for swimming and picnicking during the summer months. They’ve even been featured in films. Photo courtesy of Paolo Benedetti.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute. Visit their website here to learn more about natural stone.  Thank you for supporting our sponsors that help us bring you free, original content.

The Bakerton quarry is gorgeous local spot for a day in the sun and a sunset row through the caves. Photo: Nick D’Amico

The Martinsburg quarry is another spot known for safe swimming and gazing at the beautiful massive stone and blue waters. Photo: Nick D’Amico

With all of the granite countertops out there and the trendy small scale tile, standing before a substancial stone wall or structure reminds me of the enduring appeal of natural stone and the scale that that has a deeper aesthetic, rather than cosmetic one. I love both of those trends, but I do find myself captivated by larger scale stone. Photo by Peninsula Building Materials.

While a sleek pool like this isn’t in my future, I love the classic stone asymmetry of the surrounding surface. Photo by Peninsula Building Materials.

This lovely fire pit built of stone and outlined with smooth rock and stone is the inspirational starting point for my DIY wading pool. Even the fence in the background appeals to me as a backdrop for the natural stone wall that can double as seating. Photo by Braen Supply.

The gate seen in this image provides a “secret garden” and cottage feel when coupled with the stone walkway and retaining walls. Photo by U.S. Stone Industries.

I’d imagine a different floral landscape with native perennials here, but the idea of simply laying massive stones down and filling the space in between is a creative endeavor with so many possibilities. Photo by Buechel Stone.

This sublime stone garden feels prehistoric and modern all at once. I’m imagining playing hide-n-seek around that massive tree and hopscotch on the stones. Photo courtesy of Bill Schnetz.

Several of my relatives in Florida have sizable outdoor kitchens since cooking inside is sort of crazy in 90 degree temps. This outdoor setup incorporates so much stone that it takes on primitive appearance and feel. Add in the tiny home seen on the left and I’m not sure I’d ever leave this spot. Photo by Emily Minton-Redfield of EMR Photography for TKP Architects pc.

Creating a waterfall stonescape, filled with native grasses and greenery, is the ultimate luxury. I’m pretty sure i’d find some way to lounge in the waterfall pool every free second! Photo by Braen Supply.

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Comments

  • This is so cool. Obviously I LOVE the houses – my own childhood home is a Tudor with granite stones along the first floor – but I’m crazy about the idea of rowing around those quarries. The water is so blue and beautiful! If I find myself in West Virginia, I know where I’ll be headed!

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