- Category: Outdoor Design
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A courtly stone wall, nobly paving the way through property perimeters, driveway pavements and garden borders, adds a regal touch to a home domain. You don't need a a six foot stone wall with professional masonry work to have the elegance of a stone wall weave through your landscape. A three foot stacked stone wall can create the same elegance and exclusiveness of a masonry privacy wall without the heavy price. Stone, soil and sand are the bulk of your needs.
However, you will still have to pay with some back-breaking work. If you're not used to back-breaking work (and even if you are), familiarize yourself with proper lifting techniques. Keep your sessions short and take a few weeks or months to complete the project. If your stones are delivered to your house, make sure they are unloaded as close to your working area as possible.
Before you start lifting stones, plan the path for your stone wall. You can use a rope or even a garden hose to outline the path for the wall until you are firm in your decision. Once your decision is set in stone, use spray paint or flour to emulate the trail of the stone wall.
After your roadmap is laid out on the ground, hammer stakes into the ground at even intervals to act as height-building guides. On each stake, make a mark indicating where the height of the wall should be. Get a string, and connect the string to the stakes where the height indicator lines are. Make sure the string is pulled tight enough to be an accurate guide.
Then you have the dirty work. Start digging and create a trough along the path about six inches deep. When that is completed, pour a two inch layer of sand into the trough you just dug. You now have a channel ready for wall building.
Use the biggest stones for the base of the wall, and try and save the large flat ones for the top layer. As you build, notice which side of the stone you want appearing outwards. When you place the bottom layer stones down, tilt them slightly backwards into the ground. As you layer the stones, stagger as you go, and tilt each one similarly to create stability. If you're planning on showcasing some floral work that stems from within the wall, don't forget to leave some place for plant pockets. But do not allow a vertical line to form from the bottom of the wall to the top of the wall or your wall will lose stability.
It would be nice if every stone fit like a puzzle piece, but they won't. Get them interlocked as best as you can, then fill in all the cracks and crevices with soil so they don't move in place. You want the wall packed nice and tight. You also want to keep building at a consistent height. Use your stakes as a guide, and make sure you adjust your measurements for sloping grounds. Take your time. Don't rush. Enjoy the process.
Your stone wall can remain solid and stately, or you can soften it up with climbing flowers, container plants and other decorative elements. To give your wall added elegance, add soil for raised beds behind the wall. The soil will drain well, and you can comfortably rest yourself or your refreshments on your stone wall as you tend to your enchanting garden.
Let your handsome stone wall reflect your home. Whether your stone wall graciously leads a guest around a garden or is a regal welcome to the front door, it will always distinguish your home as your castle and your yard will turn into a beautiful kingdom for everyone to admire.
- Category: Outdoor Design
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A garden flowers with a gardener's artistic impressions of color and design. The glorious intricate designs that shape each flower as a whole work together to create a unique portrait of a gardener's vision. Mosaic designs create their beauty based on the same principle. If cookie-cutter gardens aren't your style, and you appreciate the complexity and cohesiveness of mosaic design, mosaic stepping stones will give your garden the stylish flair you're looking for.
Creating mosaic artwork can quickly become an addicting hobby, and you might find yourself searching for objects that have just the right color, shape or texture. Many mosaic artists develop a passion for collecting only certain colors or patterns but use those colors and patterns to create incredible new designs. If you're ready to make your first mosaic stone, start breaking plates and collecting broken pieces that pique your interest.
You will often see china used as a mosaic material, but that's not the only material that mosaic stepping stones can be created with. Glass pieces, ceramic tiles, marble, broken shells, small rocks, mirror pieces, and a host of other materials can be used to create stunning designs and color palettes.
Once you get a collection of broken items together, you might need to break things up a little more. If you still have half pieces of plates and quarter pieces of pitchers, you can easily break them up into manageable pieces for a mosaic stepping stone. Just put them in a box, cover the box with a cloth, and use a hammer to fraction up the pieces.
Before you start preparing your stepping stones, lay out some patterns ahead of time. This way you don't have to worry about the mortar drying, and you can change your mind as many times as you want.
To make your mosaic stepping stone, start with a concrete stepping stone. This will act as your canvas. Take your “canvas” and dunk it in water, making sure that every part is wet.
The glue that holds the mosaic material to the stone is mortar. Mix up the mortar using the ratios listed on the package until it turns into a peanut-butter like consistency. Then spread it onto the concrete slab until it's between 1/4” and 1/2” thick. Use a notched trowel or similar tool.
Now you can gently press your mosaic design onto the stone. You might need to add a little mortar here and there because of uneven pieces. Don't put the pieces perfectly close to each other, because you'll need to add a little grout once everything is positioned in place. Once all of your mosaic pieces are in place, wipe off any messy mortar that doesn't belong and leave the stone alone for at least twelve hours.
Once the mortar is dry, you can spread on the grout. As much as it might pain you to do so, put a large hunk of grout onto your mosaic design. Spread the grout over the stone and press it into the crevices that exist between mosaic pieces. When you see the grout stiffening up, wipe it off using a wet sponge, but make sure it stays tight in the crevices. Make sure you grout the sides of the stone as well. You want all sharp edges covered up, and it should look like one cohesive design.
Don't step on the stone or put pressure on it for at least a day or two. Then you can rub a soft cloth on it to buff it up like you would a car. Be forewarned though, the stones will get slippery when it rains. Surrounding the stones with gravel will provide some sure footing when needed.
It's fairly easy to create a trail of mosaic stepping stones, but they do require an artistic bent and attention to detail. If you love how the intricate designs of nature come together to form a blanket of beauty, you'll love the beauty of mosaic stepping stones. Start collecting those miscellaneous broken pieces of glass and china and let the delicate patterns of your mosaic decorate the natural beauty of your garden design.