In a bedroom or great hall, marble floors and pillars are simultaneously understated and daring. Daring, because it looks expensive, and having so much of it in your home can be seen as lavish, extravagant, and potentially overpowering. It can easily overshadow any other element of your home décor. Understated, because marble is a regal natural stone. It commands the room without overtly drawing attention to itself.
It’s a bit like modern royalty in that way. You’re attracted to it, but you’re not sure why. Outdoors, marble is a whole different creature. It can seem oddly out of place, because you’re used to seeing it as an artistic rendering rather than the functional appeal of hardscaping. Still, it can be beautiful next to a pool, or ensconcing a barbeque area. In particularly hot climates like ours, it can offer a pleasant cooling experience as well.
As we’ve mentioned, marble is not an instinctive choice outside the home, but it’s this surprise element that many home owners are going for. Rather than paving large areas with external tile or cobblestone, marble can be put to unusual and unexpected uses.
You could install a marble bird bath, or even a traditional Roman bath with heated water jets instead of an ordinary fibreglass Jacuzzi. Marble fountains or statues tastefully sprinkled around your yard and lit up for a night time display give your home an old world charm that marks it out from anything else in the neighbourhood.
With marble, a little goes a long way. You don’t need an entire wall or floor. You could line your window sills or door frames with marble mosaics, or plant marble wash basins for outdoor dining. You could even install a marble table top for meals, or decorate your display area with a marble bowl filled with decorative stones or crystals.
It may be tempting to repurpose it into a fruit bowl, but there’s a risk of the stone being tainted by edible acids. If you’d like your marble Knick knacks to be functional, carve them into soap dishes, or salt and pepper shakers, but keep them away from the condiments.
It’s low maintenance
Outdoor marble carvings need very little attention. The stone can withstand sunshine and rain without chipping or cracking, and hold colour for decades. Its main weakness is acid, and this isn’t as much of a problem in the yard, so as long as your marble is positioned away from the cooking area, its safe.
Marble will of course be exposed to outdoor pollutants like insect and bird waste but these are mostly lime based, so they wouldn’t harm your marble as much as food stains. Wipe them off with damp cloth or with a designated marble cleaner. You can also wipe off any dirt with a cloth dipped in baking soda and hydrogen peroxide before rinsing with clean water.
If you have a marble finish inside the house, you can extend it to the al fresco area, maintaining the theme of your home décor. This can be done using marble countertops, floor tiles, backsplashes or faucet knobs, especially in the outdoor cooking area. Marble utensils like pestles and mortars or bowls with marble eggs can be a nice touch too.
Another interesting option is to line the walls of the outdoor barbeque area with marble benches. If you have a barbeque grill or pizza oven, it can be pleasantly soothing to sit on the cool stone ledges when the air around feels so hot and smells so delicious. If you feel the benches are too harsh, you can soften them with fabric padding and throw pillows.
A touch of marble can elevate the tone of any space. Adding a single row of marble in the middle of a ceramic tile wall instantly enriches it, and a single marble tile on a limestone or travertine floor adds interest in its unobtrusive accent. You could even line the cowl of your outdoor pizza oven with crushed marble instead of brick or steel for a quick jolt of style and substance. Combine it with a lightweight marble serving tray, but be careful not to stain it.