Imagine a yard where giant toads of every color beckon you Into he children's play area ... or where kokopelli, the southwestern flute player, plays contently amidst a sea of red poppies. Well, imagine no further! Grab your trowel and a bag of concrete and start mixing. It's time to make garden stones. Garden stones have a multitude of uses in a yard such as to form pathways, draw one's attention to special garden spots, add fun and color to the landscaping, and even introduce a personal aspect to the yard. They can also be used to decorate bare spots on walls or fences when made into wall hangings.
Once you start making them, you won't be able to stop. Surplus stones can be sold at local Farmer's Markets and/or given as gifts.
One of the best parts about making garden stones is finding the perfect mold that expresses YOU! Molds are typically made of plastic and range in price from as little as $3 to over $100, depending on the thickness and quality of the mold. The quality and thickness influence the durability of the mold and, hence, the number of times the mold can be used (7-infinite times). You can find a wide variety of molds at affordable prices from the following companies.
If you are on a budget, household items (e.g., cake pans, bread pans) that will support the concrete can be used as molds. Although these "homemade" molds will lack the fun pictures found on commercial molds, you can create a blank stone that can be decorated in any number of ways using paints or embedded tiles, glass, and rocks.
To make a garden stone, you will need the following supplies:
concrete mix (found at local hardware stores)
mold release (WD-40 or commercial release)
*If you are mixing concrete for several stones, a wheelbarrow may be used in place of the dishpan.
Allow yourself at least 45 minutes to make a stone from start to clean-up.
Allow the stone cure for several weeks before painting and/or sealing. At this time, a number of methods can be used to finish the stone. The simplest technique is to simply rub a concrete sealer over the top and bottom surface of the stone. This will serve as a waterproof barrier to the external elements. If you choose to paint the stone, use a weatherproof paint such as Patio Paints made by DecoArt. If painted, an external finish must be used to protect the paint. DecoArt also makes an exterior finish. The possibilities for decorating your stone are endless. Tips and techniques can be found on several of the web sites mentioned above.
Now, the hard part ... finding that perfect spot for your garden stone! You will discover that you have hundreds of spots that deserve this special accent. A hobby is born!
Becky Yeager is a wildlife biologist, writer, and owner of The Spirit Goat (which specializes in goat's milk soaps and lotions) and resides in Nibley, Utah. She has sold her stepping stones at the local Gardener's Market for the past 3 years. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website, www.spiritgoat.com.
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