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This isn't made from Hypertufa, just colored cement. Wasn't sure if I should post here or in Garden Art.
Anyway I made this for a customer. She wanted a unique planter box that she could look down on from her deck. I came up with this idea. I don't usually do this for customers but she is a good friend also, and so gave it a try. Now I am going to have to do one for myself.
I went to Lowes and had them cut a 8' x 4' piece of masonite board into 5" wide strips. So they are 5" high, though you can make them less, and you loose some when you put them down into the ground.
Lowes didn't charge anything to cut them. I reuse them all the time.
If I had more time, I would probably really get carried away with it. I have a small retaining wall which goes from 15" down to 8" that I want to add flat gem stones and seashells. But it is about 18 feet long and I would have to cover it with mortar to set the stones and shells in.
It would be a big project. Maybe someday I will get around to it.
One thing I have found is using concrete adhesive in your cement seems to really help with the stones staying there permanently.
I also do stepping stones. I have gem stones laid out on the floor of my office of ones I want to do. DH just shakes his head at the site of it and my projects and papers. One of the stone patterns looks just like a daisy. Been so anxious to do that one, but have a hard time finding enough time.
OK this looks like something I can do!! For a newbie who has never even done anything with cement can you give me a run down of what to do?? I would love to make a edge like the one under your window.
I can follow directions very well if you lay it out with names and measurements for me :) Also what did you use for make the form of your stepping stones? Hubby and I have been wanting to make some with the kids then let them paint all over them if they want.
To let you know how dumb to all of this I am, I dont even know what masoniteboard is. (although my husband was a Mason for many years.) All of this might make more sense to him then it does to me.
Gardening in GA, sorry I have just been super busy getting the garden center open and haven't logged on in ages. You probably gave up hearing from me.
If you still want instructions on the heart, let me know and I will post them.
On the stepping stones I just cut off the rim of 5 gallon plastic paint buckets and used it for my molds. Most paint buckets have a lower edge rim and I just cut each one at that edge so the stepping stones are the same height. I have some scrap plexi glass that I lay the molds on and then just pour cement into them. Be sure and put your mold the right way. What was the top edge of the bucket should be the bottom of your mold. Your cut edge should be facing up. This is because the way paint buckets are made they are wider at the top than what they are 2" down. You will find it hard to get the mold off if you put it the wrong way. I then put the stones/marbles on the top and throw about a 1/4" of sand on top when done placing them. About 15 min later, I use a paint brush and brush off most of the sand. When placing the marbles/stones be careful not to push too far into the cement. Leave almost half of it exposed. The sand helps hide the imperfections and also makes it so the stepping stones are not slippery when wet. I do use concrete bonder (glue) in my cement, I think this helps the sand to stick and maybe the stones too. I usually watch them and before it starts getting too hard I pull off the molds, and put the sand along all the edges, and brush them. You can round off your top edges this way.
Then let cure for a couple of days and remove from the plexi glass. Thats it.
Don't attempt to do too many at one time. You have to work fast to put the marbles in and get the sand on them and brush it. Maybe if I didn't try these things in the heat of the day it wouldn't be so bad-LOL
I did do my so called daisy ones, didn't turn out as well as I hoped. Little off center and just not that nice. Oh well just have to try again.
Bareroots, I would rather instructions on the borders for the beds against the house then the heart...I am going to try these stepping stones also!!! What kind of cement mix did you use?? Just regulay quick crete? And I probably sounds stupid but what does curing mean? Just letting it sit for a while?
I want my kids to paint on them or put their hand prints in them when I am done making some...
Here is my attempt to explain. If I had time I would do another and take pictures of the different steps. You will have to settle for my hand drawing for now-LOL The steps are the same for either the border or the heart.
1. Mark the ground for the outside shape of your border.
2. Dig a trench about 4 inches deep and 4 inches wide along outline, or however wide you want it to be. It does not have to be exact as you can always dig out more or fill back in as needed.
3. Place the masonite board in the trench making this the outside form. For the heart, I used one 8 foot long piece for half of the heart bending it to shape, and another 8 foot piece for the other half. I temporarily held it in place with bricks until I was ready to secure it. You can make a smaller heart just use shorter boards. Be sure your boards are the same length for each half.
4. Then place another masonite board in the trench making it the inside form. For the heart the inside boards will be shorter. I found you can score the masonite board with a utility knife and then break it.
5. Now you need to space the boards the same distance, level and secure. I used pieces of 1 inch rebar all cut 4 inches long (the width I wanted my border) and placed them inside the trench between the masonite boards. You can use wood but it is not as strong, will eventually decompose and can cause cracks in your cement. Lay a spacer every foot or so and then use a stake on the OUTSIDE to hold the masonite board securely against the spacer on both boards. Be sure to stake on the outside of the forms, not the inside where you pour the cement. The more spacers you use the less likely the boards will bow when filled with cement. For leveling you can place a small piece of flat wood across the top of your form and use a level. This small piece of wood I also used to level my cement when I poured instead of a trowel. You can use rocks inside your trench to get the height to level your boards where needed. Also you can overlap the masonite board if you need a longer piece. I found duct tape worked well in holding it together and or thin wire. Like with the heart, I just used duct tape on the OUTSIDE of the masonite board where the 2 pieces of board formed the points of the heart. It was then easy to remove the duct tape, and then pull out the masonite boards after the cement had set.
6. Once in place just pour your cement and level. I used color in the cement and also cement bonding. This is regular quick crete cement. I usually would only pour about 3 ft at a time, level it then put in my gems, and put sand (about Â¼ inch) on top as noted above on the stepping stones. If you pour it all at once you will find it hardens too much and then you can't get your gems in. If using coloring try to keep your measurements accurate of how much coloring to use per bag so you don't end up with different colors.
7. The next day I pull out the stakes, took off any tape or wire I used and pull out the masonite boards. I used a small wire brush to try and round the edges a bit. That's it.
It really isn't that hard. We have a flower bed we did here that is 14 feet accross and the outline border is in the shape of the state of Texas. I used aluminum flashing to form it and that was a job trying to level and space it evenly. That was before I discovered masonite board.
I am not very good at instructions so feel free to ask any questions.
Bareroots, this is amazing. I just did 150' daylily bed and this would be perfect. I like the idea of doing it myself. Is the masonite board , rebar, stakes very expensive? What is the purpose of putting sand on them? Lot of questions, I know. Thank you, Mechelle
Well prices of everything seemed to have gone up, but I think this is still a reasonable way to go. When I purchased the masonite board, which comes in a 4ft x 8ft sheet, Lowes cut the sheet into 4 inch wide x 8ft long strips for me.
You could do this in sections, and keep reusing the masonite board and stakes since you have 150ft to do. Would take longer to do, but maybe worth it.
First let me say if your going to use the sand I would recommend to use the concrete binder in mixing up the cement. The concrete binder seems to really make your concrete stronger and holds the sand well in place. I use sand on top of a lot of concrete work I do specially if it has gems in it. It gives it a nice even finish, is not slippery when wet, which can be an issue sometimes, and hides any air holes, pockets or imperfections and mostly you don't have to trowel it over and over to get a smooth surface. Sometimes you can find play sand that comes in various shades---I like the one that has a tan-red cast to it but is hard to find. Most sand is in tan or gray shades. I keep adding the sand until it soaks up all the water that has surfaced, and then wait a bit and brush off the excess.
By the way the concrete binder in case your not sure what it is, I usually get a Home Depot. Comes in a 1 gal plastic jug, and looks just like milk. Cost about $10. You can mix it with more water or use it straight as your liquid to mix your concrete. I have mixed it with sand and painted it on the concrete also, while the concrete is still damp.
Hope this helps. It was years ago that I did this and have moved since then. Glad you revived this thread, because now I know what to do with an area here on a border. Get so busy and so many ideas forget them sometimes---LOL Well maybe age has a little to do with it too...
Oh my gosh, I didn't realize this was started in 2006! I want to do the border across my DL bed but I also want to make a family garden with stepping stones with mine & my husband's names as well as our 3 children. Have you come across a tool or have an idea of what you could use to write the names in cursive? I will keep in touch and let you know how my "little" project is going! Walmart had that colored sand. Haven't really paid attn to it but will take a look next time I'm there. I am going to invite some friends from DG over to this thread or maybe start one if they want to. A bunch of us in our group got together and started a lasagna bed thread and worked on them this summer. I think they would like this idea, but some have snow already. I sure love that heart though, and the mosaic look is so beautiful! I know what you mean about ideas flying around everywere. I am 37 and I can barely keep up with the Dmails on my trades half the time!
Take care Dee and talk to you soon!
On the colored sand, you will just want to get play sand, it would be too costly to buy actual colored sand. You waste a lot of it. I am sure you would go through a 50 pound bag to do your 150'. Maybe you could mix some of the colored and regular.
As far as lettering, Michaels has plastic letters you can use for cement. I recently bought some but haven't had a chance to try them yet. They don't have cursive unfortunately.
I LOVE the border and the stepping stones. I actually have done many of the same type of stepping stones myself. This spring, I'm going to try with a hypertufa mix instead of concrete to see if I can "lighten" them up. I just finished putting in paver edging on all my gardens last year, but I wish I had seen your instructions back then. I do NOT like how grass can grow thru my paver seams. This would have been better... though I do wonder if the 5" can hold up to our spring thaw up here?
Thanks for the post/ideas!