Concrete in garden design
You can make many decorative elements for your garden with your own hands. Moreover, all of them will be made in the same style, which (within reasonable limits) ennobles the overall design of the courtyard and landscape.
We are talking about such an accessible and pliable material as concrete. It does not need to be plastered, at best, painted, if you want to bring bright notes to the landscape. In most cases, designers keep the brutal gray texture of this material.
By the way, about painting … The concrete surface can be painted from the outside, having previously primed it, you can discolor the solution, giving it a noble milky shade, or you can buy more expensive white cement and purposefully cast snow-white products.
Colored dyes are added to the white cement solution to give a rich shade to the whole mass. This is especially true in the manufacture of tiles and steps, the top layer of which will gradually wear out.
It is difficult to talk about what can be made of concrete, it is easier to list what cannot be made from it. And you can’t replace glass with concrete and completely fill the entire surface of the territory — the earth needs to “breathe”.
Personally, I love working with this material. From it I carry out small elements of my still young garden: slabs, steps, I also plan to create a series of large flowerpots and a couple of retaining walls.
In order for the finished product not to look cheap, it is important to pay maximum attention to the upper plane of the product (it should be smooth) and the corners (it is better to round them slightly).
I perform the leveling operation a few hours (or the next day) after pouring, while the composition is still raw, but has already taken shape and is ready for stripping.
I can describe the subtleties of the work schematically:
- I scrape off the excess (irregularities) with a wooden block,
- after we moisten the surface with a spray gun
- and smooth down with a construction grater (made of stainless steel with rounded edges) with strong pressure.
If you pour cement mortar into a mold, then I must lubricate its walls with a greasy substance. It can be vegetable oil or used machine oil.
As a form, I use a box made of flexible fiberboard or any plastic containers. This is quite enough for the manufacture of small-sized products.
For rectilinear elements of a larger volume, stronger boards and chipboard are chosen. You can use a magnesite plate, in the manufacture of a large number of identical elements, it will quickly pay off.
On this, we will complete our acquaintance with technology and move on to design.
Concrete surfaces look most appropriate in landscapes with a pronounced modern focus. They harmoniously contrast (if you can put it that way 🙂 natural relief (sometimes even with the effect of neglect) and emphatically artificial industrial details.
Concrete is luxuriously combined with rough wood: a thick brushed timber or deck will be a great addition to a concrete countertop or bench.
From the spheres they make the basis for garden fountains, scatter them like billiard balls in different parts of the landscape, mark the beginning of the path, the center of the flower arrangement with them, and simply lay them “in bulk” in certain frames.
Best of all, concrete elements look surrounded by discreet flowers and grasses planted in masses.
Vertical concrete structures are cast exclusively into the formwork. The process is responsible. Firstly, it is important to properly install the formwork itself. Secondly, when pouring the solution into the formwork, air jams occur; in order to avoid them, it is necessary to use a deep vibrator, or cast in tiers, gradually raising the formwork.
CONCRETE + WATER
Concrete is «friends» with water, since it was originally incorporated into the mortar. However, if you do not follow the drying technology (slowly, under a canopy at a moderate temperature), then the product will turn out to be «brittle» and may begin to collapse in about five years.
Hydrophobic treatment is carried out in order to give the concrete water-repellent properties and extend its service life.
Concrete products that have not passed this procedure in a year can acquire noble moss, which looks very impressive on garden decor.
CONCRETE + FIRE
In general, concrete does not tolerate high temperatures. But this does not mean that it cannot be used as a bowl of an outdoor hearth. When kneading, fireclay chips are added to the solution.
And, woo-a-la, in front of you is a spectacular fire in the form that you please.
And in the case of biofuels, everything is much simpler: such a flame will not harm a concrete bowl (photo above).
A seat with a back was installed on a concrete bowl, it turned out to be a garden chair. Holes of different diameters were drilled in the same bowl and a tabletop was made — the table is ready.
Inside the chair and table, you can store something or even grow mushrooms, for example. The author of this trio decided to equip a fire pit in such a bowl.
Another object from the same shape: a sloping top, a rectangular slot, water inside and shallow water plants. It turned out the original pond. It was also possible to equip a pot for exotics there.
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