Natural landscaping with StoneSet

Pebble pathways are one of the more effective ways to naturally soften the look and feel of a property. We take a look at some of resin bound stones’ more clever, subtle features which see it specified by architects and landscape designers..

durable porous paving

When it comes to creating a durable pathway, loose stone is one of the oldest paving technologies that we still see in use today. Indeed it was Scottish engineer John Louden Macadam that patented the original application of crushed, angular stone, compacted in various layers a sizes, to create a durable pathway.

Even today when departing from an aircraft, passengers are instructed not to use their moible phones when exiting across the “TARMAC” which is a portmanteau for the application of coal TAR to the bind the crushed stone ‘MAC’ (Macadam) – also known more recently as asphalt.

Eventually paving technology evolved to using more expensive clay fired brick pavers, such as this ‘high tech’ paved brick road below, installed in New York 1930!

old pavement
Construction of a paved road in New York in 1930. Fine grain sand being applied to the surface of the flat pavers to compact and wedge them into place.

Garden Landscaping, Naturally

With paving technology since evolving to clay fired pavers and more elaborate cut stone such as travertine, these days loose stone gravel is sought after mainly for its natural, aesthetic appeal.

Loose stone leads to slip hazards, maintenance costs and risks of erosion. Further, loose stone comes with significant risks the stone can travel to entrances and scratch interior flooring such as floorboards. Worse, loose stone can become a sliding hazard on tiles.

Regardless, the natural appeal of rounded pebble has led to its prevalence in softening landscapes, in the form of ubiquitous Pebblecrete and ‘Lilydale Toppings’ around pools and strata apartment pathways.

This photo demonstrates water runoff erosion, even on a heavily compacted decomposed granite path on Sydney’s Observatory Hill 

Exposed aggregate concrete must be formed with straight edges and in panels with expansion joints, owing to the fact cement bound aggregate is one solid rigid mass.

This leads to the inevitable, familiar ‘block panel look’ of footpaths, pavement or sidewalks which detract from the natural surrounds.

wet pavement
‘segmental pavers’ and footpath expansion joints mean better durability than loose stone and less erosion, but detract from the natural appeal of the surrounding garden environment.


Resin Bound Stone IS Natural Paving

Last week StoneSet installed 450sqm of porous pathway for a School in Oyster Bay, Sydney.

Looking for an experienced porous paving company, StoneSet was specified throughout to accentuate the schools existing natural landscape features such as locally quarried sandstone. See this video here for background on why StoneSet as a porous paving solution is particularly well suited to cooling schools generally.

The StoneSet was shaped around beautiful large existing Gum trees on site, that provided significant shade for the school grounds which act to reduce the UHI effect and ambient temperature for students.

The StoneSet Beach pebble mix was ideal to soften the appearance of the school grounds. The lower material cost of pebble as apposed to quarried aggregate, helped bring the overall project within budget.

In addition to this the advantages of StoneSet for school pathways;

  • Rounded pebble to reduce skin grazing from student falls
  • Pathway retained a soft, natural appearance
  • Porous – no puddles form slip hazards
  • Water sensitive – Supporting tree health and shade providing canopy
  • Durable, supporting school-level daily, heavy foot traffic
  • Flexible polyurethane bonds – avoiding ‘hairline crack slab failure’


Maximising The Trafficable area

School pathways need to be wide to allow the maximum paved area for students as they enter and leave the school grounds each day.

By working the resin bound stone right up to the rough edges of the sandstone retaining blocks, this is not only a lower cost option (no additional edging required) but the video shows the colours work seamlessly together to create an far softer visual landscape in the school grounds.

The photos above show the visual space created by wide, natural Beach pebble paths extending right up to sandstone retaining blocks and meeting flush with synthetic turfed recreational areas.


Whether it be school pathway paving, hospital or aged care facilities or the residential garden pathway, decorative pebble pathways always work to blend in with the natural surrounds. If you would like to discuss your school or public pathway project, please contact us now on 1300 392 155.

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