June 30, 2017

Perfecting Backyard Designs with Natural Stone or Concrete Coping

Table of Contents

The purpose of coping is to protect the underlying structure from degradation due to precipitation. This is particularly important with walls or structures built from natural stone, brick, and plaster, where the mortar itself may be damaged over time due to exposure to moisture. Additionally, coping gives a finishing touch to the look of the structure, adding a noticeable aesthetic element to complement both the structure and the rest of your Oyster Bay Cove, NY, hardscape. Here are some structures that benefit highly from the addition of coping, as well as some ideas on best making this coping work in your landscape.

Low Walls and Retaining Walls

Low walls and retaining walls can form significant elements in a landscape. Visually, they often serve to tie the hardscape in with the rest of the property. As such, natural stone coping or a high quality concrete alternative that reflects tones contained in the hardscape, as well as features in the softscape, is ideal. Natural stone coping also introduces an element of rugged earthiness that might add contrast to a sleek design or simply boost the aesthetic of rustic wall systems or boulder walls.


Without coping, permanent seating is simply not complete. Coping in this context offers comfort. A smooth surface with a rounded edge or “fullnose” is ideal for comfortable permanent seating. Brussels Fullnose coping from Unilock serves this purpose well and is available in a large selection of colors to match your particular hardscape color scheme. The durability and strength of this concrete option is also ideal for providing long term protection to your seating structures.


Coping provides the horizontal plane of outdoor steps. As with seating, comfort should be high on the list of attributes of step coping, particularly if the steps will be used under bare feet. For this natural stones such as travertine or limestone are ideal. Both offer a luxurious look and a silky, fine-grain texture that is also non-slip. Travertine is commonly found in gold, brown, light brown and ivory, with finishes ranging from polished (shiny and smooth), honed (matte and smooth) and tumbled (porous and textured). Limestone can be found in shades of grey, blue, brown, tan and even pink.

Pool Edges

The priority for pool edge coping should be safety. A non-slip surface with a rounded edge is ideal for this purpose. Because pool edge coping receive a high degree of exposure to water and pool chemicals, the material should also be hardy, durable and stain-resistant. Of course, that doesn’t mean it can’t look great too. Once again, Brussels Fullnose coping is an excellent candidate. Brussels Fullnose is available in a huge range of colors, including the gold of Sandstone, grey Limestone and a vibrant Salmon/Charcoal blend, all of which are blended to resemble the subtle coloring of actual natural stone.

Fire Feature Accents

Fire features can be accented with coping to achieve some interesting designs. The horizontal or angled surface of a fireplace, for example, can be fitted with coping to provide useable ledges, or simply to incorporate a fresh color or texture into the design. Fire pits can incorporate coping to allow a comfortable place to rest and warm the feet. Be sure to check with your landscaper that the stone used for fire feature coping is safe for this purpose and will maintain a comfortable temperature.


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