As wells looking through Architectural antiques yards for decorative objects I have also been on the search for materials for hard landscape- for walls, stepping stones and pathways. Maybe some decorative stones will also be found.

In the area I know live most houses have at least their external cladding made from local stone – and my barn conversion and modern extension is no exception.  The main barn is constructed from the original stone of the barn construction but the extension uses a carefully matched local stone. Although there are quarries still in operation extracting this stone,  redundant industrial buildings are being viewed as quarries. The demolished mills and factories  can be found piled up in quarry yards where large  sawing benches cut the stone to a more useful size for domestic architecture. If you can get into these places (casual visitors aren’t really acceptable for reasons of safety) they become a wonderful source of garden construction material.

Do not expect this material to be cheap.  The processors clearly understand the value.  It is not a low cost solution but it is environmentally sound. I have bought a substantial salvaged rectangular block though – which we have worked into a water trough which will be built into part of the watercourse. Troughs from our local stone ( which is a solid sandstone often referred to as Yorkstone ) are a common feature in the rural landscape- usually fed from natural springs.

As a paving material from Yorkstone that is universally viewed as a premium product and at salvage yards it is kept well apart from the run-of-the mill. It can cost more than £100 per sq m before delivery costs.  The image of the pathway across the pasture shows a very traditional application.  I have some of this material readily lying around the property – it is not “dressed” ie shaped but might provide some informal surfaces.

Whereas Yorkstone is good for footfall and the were give a good sabi patina it would not be good for cartwheels or vehicles. The other good paving material that can be obtained as salvage is granite  both as  setts which can range in size from 10cm cubes to 30cm by 20cm by 20cm  or as kerbstones which are about 1m in length.  This is highly resistant material. I have bought a tonne of this material which will the be used with other material to create pathways.  A local village path demonstrates a really beautiful example

Meanwhile in Japan, modern garden designers are also using recycled materials. Shigemore Chiaso (the grandson of Mirei) still takes his inspiration from drystone Karesansui gardens but is more likely to use recycled materials. A good example is Shinnyo-do Temple ( ) The most interesting example is the glassworks artist Nishinaka Yukito who has exclusively used various recycled glass to create elements of Japanese gardens (see

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