Landscape Inspiration: Brick Details

I grew up in New England which means that the most commonly used landscape material was stone. Oh, did we have stone! I maintained a love affair with stone throughout my career, played with some other materials, and moved here. As a landscape designer in Northern Virginia I was quickly exposed to brick, brick, and more brick. Let’s be honest, a lot of homes around here have, at the very least, a brick facade. All too often I mention the possibility of using brick in the hardscape and get eye rolling and bored sighs in return. The thing is, brick is amazingly versatile, and when designed and built well… amazing. This is why I like to look to old buildings for inspiration when designing with brick. Those old masons could bring it!

Brick mixes with stone in these great arches. The newer one (background) is probably precast concrete, but it’s still a great look.

“Brick columns are boring.” No way! They needn’t be. They can be awesome like this. Look at what a difference those stone “panels” make.

Chimneys and columns are where brick can really shine. The idea of stepping the bricks in and out adds a lot of interest and detail to chimneys,columns, and walls.

This wall amazes me. It was hard to get a great shot of it, but the brick is laid so so so perfectly as the wall wraps down that it almost looks organic. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, squint your eyes as you look at the wall. Doesn’t it have the fluidity of movement that you would expect from adobe, or even a tree root? Too cool!

“Brick walls are just too visually ‘heavy’.” Not necessarily!

Now, I have yet to build a brick water feature – but after seeing this I want to.

I think the hangup comes from people hearing brick and thinking of nothing but rectangular solids (that there was geometry talk!) in boring patterns. I haven’t even gotten into all the odd shapes and sizes available, but this should show a sample of why brick rings my bell.

Dave Marciniak is a landscape designer and speaker. He lives in Culpeper, Virginia and can be found via his website and on Twitter.

2 comments

  1. Karen says:

    That spiral handrail(?) is so eye catching! I’m still new enough to the area to be thoroughly enchanted when I stumble across a lovely little brick courtyard ringed with wrought iron and ivy.

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