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Man-Made vs. Natural Patio Stones: What’s the Difference?

Patio with retaining wall

When designing outdoor living spaces, patio stones continue to be the most popular landscaping material for a range of projects. Whether it’s for a front entrance, porch overlay, backyard patio, poolscape or pathway; patio stones are an easy choice because of their durability, versatility and appearance. When choosing a patio stone for your landscape there are three popular choices; natural stone, man-made stone or stamped concrete patio stones. At MPS we don’t encourage stamped concrete because it’s prone to cracking from Canada’s drastic change in seasons, the finish can become dangerously slippery when wet, and we feel the stone has a very artificial texture and depth to it.  Let’s break down the pros and cons of natural vs. man-made patio stones.

Natural stone patio

What is Natural Stone?

Natural stone is the original landscape material of choice and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes; from walkway stones, large stone slabs, walls, and stone steps, to gravels or river rocks. Natural stone is available in a few different textures and colours depending on where it is mined from. Unfortunately, this means that it isn’t customizable or always accessible, and may be hard to match with existing stone. Natural stone tends to be heavier and requires more expertise for instillation. Since natural stone is less available and requires more installation, it typically comes with a much larger price tag compared to man-made stone.

Stone patio

How is Man-Made Stone Made?

Man-made patio stones are created in stone casts, from a mixture of concrete, aggregates, and iron oxide pigments. Improved production methods and materials have quickly made man-made stone a popular choice for many reasons. Man-made stone is readily available and comes in a countless colours, shapes, thickness and textures, allowing homeowners to design the landscapes of their dreams. Modern, premium man-made stone is also comparable in price and durability to natural stone.

stones along walkway

Landscape Design with Both

Although natural stone may have been the original landscape product, modern man-made stone has quickly closed that gap. At MPS our landscape designs typically consist of man-made patio stones with natural stone steps and natural stones accent or placement rocks. We find this combination to be the best of both worlds for your budget and aesthetics! Book a consultation with our design team today to discuss stone patio ideas for your landscape.