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White limestone discolour?

If I may ask another question coz your knowledge is ace!!

I have a postage stamp sized garden with a few borders. It's north facing (argh!) and sadly a garden that has flood problems too due to previous owners building over damp proof. As we have to lower the entire garden, I wanted to put cream/buff limestone all over where the paving slabs are now, and just keep my boarders that I fill to the brim with flowers and veg. White being to help brighten up the area for all the plants and limestone chippings to let the water flow freely away.

My neighbour informed me that her white stones (do not know what type) discoloured really quick and went green. Anyone had any experience/regrets or advice over pale stones? I have my heart set on it, but obviously if a really bad idea I will rethink!



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,989

    It's probably due to the aspect. Shade and damp causes more moss and algae etc to form on paving or hard surfaces so, although gravel is a better option as it's less slippy, paving can be blasted with a power washer to get the stuff off. If the neighbour laid theirs on soggy ground that would have made it worse anyway. Could you compromise and use a different colour of gravel if you prefer that to paving? Or mix a bit of both perhaps. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BiljeBilje Posts: 473

    We are lucky to have a static caravan in the Lake Disrrict and although I have a tiny garden there the rest is light coloured stones....sorry to say they do discolour as the area is damp, algae and moss grow on them. No doubt I could spray it with Algon but don't want to use chemicals. The other problem is soil from your borders will inevitably tumble into the gravel. Sorry hate to put a dampner on your enthusiasm. How about using the lightest coloured slabs you can find as at least you can clean them up. 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,728

    Hi BM, unfortunately a combination of shade and damp means that limestone chippings will almost certainly go green, which is caused by a build-up of algae.  Even on my south-facing well drained front garden, where they were sheltered from the worst of the rain by the house walls and eaves, my white Cotswold chippings eventually turned green after a few years.

    I wonder if a different material would fare better?  You can get shiny marble white chippings often called "polar white" which might be less porous, so would resist the algae taking hold?  I've never use that though, so it's a bit of a guess. image


    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    I've had white stones for a number of years and just added another ton to extend the paths.

    Personally, I love the look although its upkeep is a bit tricky. Due to ignorance, I paved a main thoroughfare which didnt fare too well once you add lots of work in the garden and a pair of constantly muddy wellies!

    Over time, the stones got filthy and greened up, mainly in the west facing area with shade from the house. Other areas, where lots os sunshine keeps the stones dry fared better, but I cannot stress how filthy the stones got, due to my wellies.

    When the new stone arrived, I didnt want an obvious join so I have just spent the last week shovelling up all the old stones, washing them and re-laying as the underneath layer which the new stone will sit on.

    To prevent future incidents of this nature, I intend to lay plastic bags onto borders where I am working to keep my wellies resaonably mud free or even those shoe covers you can buy, but like carpet or turf, the stones wont stay looking gorgeous and new forever, its just down to you, how bad they get image 

  • me londonme london Posts: 119

    Thankyou so very much for all of your replies, I really do appreciate it so much!

    And yes, I think I will have to reconsider the colour of the stones, grins. Such a shame, but your experiences are what I needed to hear!!  My neighbour with her stones (was her old house) isn't a keen gardener and pretty lazy with it, so I wondered if no upkeep made hers worse. She buys a ton of plants every Spring and thoughout the summer and then never waters them, something I can't understand! I can't bear to see gorgeous plants keep snuffing it.

    Top tips tho even with other coloured stones, keeping wellies and bags on borders. Thanks.

    I would love the white marble stone pebbles, but they are double the price. I did wonder if they'd fare better, but sadly cannot afford them at the mo, not with having to do all the rest of the garden (new fences, lowering, lowering manhole, french drains etc!).  I do want some sort of lose stone/chippings rather than paving slabs tho as we've got to think of the damp problems. Sadly we are in a Victorian terrace and both gardens each side are also laid too high, so we will be taking on their water too when we lower ours in a few weeks and need it to go somewhere. I've been onto the council (each side of us are council properties) and they've agreed to sort out one side that is causing us kitchen damp, sometime in the future. Ooh, look a flying pink pig! Grins.

    Anyway, thanks again, am off to rethink and look at other types/colours of stone! x

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    I had to do some work on another garden last summer; the gravel was a bit green; so I raked it thoroughly and revealed the cleaner sides. I believe the formation of algea is caused by moisture and sunlight. So if you deprive the chippings of sunlight, the green stuff should die off, then next year you rake it again.image

  • me londonme london Posts: 119

    Thanks Artjak for the info image

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