Sandstone vs. Limestone: Choosing the Right Stone for Your Project

Sandstone vs. Limestone: Choosing the Right Stone for Your Project
February 1, 2024
Sandstone vs. Limestone: Choosing the Right Stone for Your Project
Sandstone vs. Limestone: Choosing the Right Stone for Your Project

Landscaping projects often require the careful selection of natural stones. Two popular choices are sandstone and limestone. Each stone brings unique characteristics to outdoor spaces, influencing their aesthetics and functionality. 

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, typically gray with color variations, formed from organic debris or chemical processes. It has played a significant role in Earth's history, often containing fossils, and can create fascinating limestone caves.

On the other hand, sedimentary sandstone is mainly composed of sand-sized particles derived from minerals and organic materials. Found globally, it forms in areas where sand accumulates, with colors like orange, yellow, brown, and red. While fossils may be present, they are less common than in limestone. Sandstone is versatile in various applications.

Let's compare limestone and sandstone, considering appearance, durability, porosity, and typical landscaping applications.

Sandstone in Landscaping

STONEarch Brown Sandstone


  • Varied Colors: Sandstone boasts a spectrum of colors, including reds, browns, yellows, and grays.
  • Texture: Its rough and granular texture adds a natural, earthy feel to landscaping.


  • Moderate: Sandstone is reasonably durable but may experience erosion over time.


  • Moderate to High: The porosity of sandstone can vary, impacting its resistance to stains.

Common Landscaping Uses

  • Outdoor Pavers: Sandstone's rugged charm makes it popular for patios and walkways. A good example is STONEarch’s Slate Gray, which exhibits light to medium gray tones with a touch of beige, showcasing a subtly natural surface and faint striations. Its versatility makes it ideal for various applications, seamlessly blending with the natural hues of a garden patio while also providing a distinguished entrance stone against lighter architectural backgrounds.
  • Retaining Walls: Its durability suits it for creating visually appealing and sturdy retaining walls.
  • Landscaping Features: From garden borders to decorative elements, sandstone adds a rustic touch.

Limestone in Landscaping

STONEarch Black Limestone


  • Various Tones: Limestone showcases soft, neutral colors like beige, cream, and gray. But for those who prefer a unique and deeper tone of limestone, STONEarch offers Black Limestone featuring a consistently deep black shade. Widely favored for its striking and distinctive appearance, this stone continues to be a preferred choice for landscapers worldwide.
  • Texture: It generally has a smoother texture compared to sandstone.


  • Moderate: While durable, limestone may wear in high-traffic areas over time.


  • Variable: Porosity can differ among limestone varieties, affecting staining susceptibility.

Common Landscaping Uses

  • Flooring Tiles: Limestone's elegant appearance makes it suitable for outdoor flooring.
  • Wall Cladding: Smooth limestone is often chosen for creating visually appealing walls.
  • Architectural Details: Limestone can be carved into intricate designs for added landscaping flair.

Making the Right Choice

  1. Aesthetic Harmony: Consider the colors and textures that align with your landscaping vision.
  2. Functionality: Assess the durability and suitability for the specific landscaping application.
  3. Maintenance: Factor in porosity and the maintenance requirements for your chosen stone.

When crafting a rustic garden with sandstone retaining walls or designing an elegant patio with limestone flooring, understanding the distinctions between sandstone and limestone will guide you toward a landscaping masterpiece.

Contact our team to learn more about STONEarch’s Limestone and Sandstone collection.

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