Fun With Concrete

August 20, 2009 036 (2)
This post is going to explain the fun times we at the Fairegarden have had making things with concrete, in particular, steps and stepping stones. To tell a story, any story, one should begin at the beginning, to quote Alice. The beginning of this incarnation of the Fairegarden, its third, begins in the summer of 2000. A major renovation is being done to the house that had been purchased for offspring Semi and Chickenpoet to live in while attending college in this small southeast Tennessee town. The girls are out of school and The Financier has been transferred back to Tennessee after a three year stint in Texas. Along with the complete redo of the house, the back yard, a steep north facing slope needed to be tamed. The backhoe that was brought in to dig the foundation for the addition was used to clear and terrace the slope. The shed was moved to the top level. Several large dump trucks of mulch were brought in after clearing a road from the closest street to the top of the hill. It was a clean slate, but very difficult to get to the top, climbing a mulched hill was nearly impossible. We needed stairs of some kind, big ones and lots of them. While cogitating on what type of steps were needed, how to get them, where they should be placed, the foundation was poured for the addition of the main house. A small covered vestibule, mudroom and greenhouse were to have a poured concrete floor with a drain in the greenhouse.

August 20, 2009 069 (2)Wet concrete has always been enticing to me, like a moth to a flame. I want to write, draw or put stuff into it. Like black river rocks that were on hand for craft projects. Just to dress it up, the contractor placed a shiny new Sacajawea dollar coin in the middle of the design. Much has been learned since that first day. Like put the stones in the concrete as soon as it has been poured, don’t wait for it to set up some first.

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Many workmen came to do various tasks constructing the addition and renovating the old part of the house. I was here with them every day. As I shopped and searched for a step solution, one of the workmen told of steps he had made for his own hilly yard and garden. He had used two by four lumber cut to the size needed and filled them with concrete. He offered to cut the lumber and fasten it together for two steps, each one eighteen inches by four feet. After measuring the space from the knot garden top to the middle terrace and dividing it up, it was determined that four steps of the above size would be just right. The wooden form was set in the exact spot and several bags of concrete were mixed in the wheelbarrow and poured into the frame. A few pieces of two foot long rebar were driven into the ground through the wet mix for added stability. The finishing touch was the black river rocks at the edge and some maple leaves laid across the top for texture and visual interest. The final step was a light dusting of sand to hold the leaves in place and help add age to the starkness of the new concrete. Those first four came out nicely and the climb was easy to make. Next up was the much steeper ascent from the first level terrace.

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The same forms were used for these lower steps, but the risers were much steeper. It is more awkward to climb this set and going down one must gingerly place one foot then the other on each step before descending to the next. I am used to it, but must caution visitors about the precariousness. The original plan called for three sets of steps, each offset slightly with the top ones centered on the back of the house with the bench in the knot garden centered at the very top of the property. There was a problem with that delightful design however. There was not room for the last row of steps. The long wall was ten feet from the back of the house. The steps would have run into the back of the building and blocked the pathway. No good. Instead the steps deadended at the wall with a choice of left or right to get to ground level.

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The far end to the right as you come down from the knot garden, by the fence was taken care of by The Financier himself. He cleverly used metal roof flashing to form a curved top to these beautiful steps. He began with the lowest step, built the frame, poured the concrete complete with a sprinkling of gravel to dress it up and help to keep it from being slippery when wet. No black rocks on these however. Each subsequent step was built overlapping the lower one until he got to the top with the half moon curbing. It was the most artistic of solutions and makes me smile each time I use it, several times a day.

August 20, 2009 004 (2)
Progress was being made on the house reno while the steps were poured by The Financier and his helper and design consultant, moi. The front porch needed new steps and sidewalk from the driveway. The contractors built these steps, but I added the river rock to them as well. Step stones were made using wooden two by fours cut to sixteen inches by fifteen inches. Whoever came up with these dimensions should have made them larger. Moi. This path leads around the front of the house to the utilities at the side. No more muddy feet as that trail is followed.

August 20, 2009 001 (2)
The next chapter of this riveting saga begins with the purchase of the house next door midway into the main house reno. It would have been nice to have done this first, the house could have been extended sideways instead of back into the slope, but that is not how it happened. To the point, there was a set of steps next door that led from its lesser slope to the back door of the house. Excavation to build the garage had taken the ground level well below the level of the lowest of these old steps. Two new steps were added at the bottom, and recently two more were added at the top to make the climb less treacherous. Gravel paths on steep slopes can be very slippery. So can wet rock steps, or mud. Well anything wet is slippery, so care must be taken, especially if one is wearing muddy boots, or sloggers and one’s hands are full of a tub filled with weeds and one can’t see where one is stepping. Can one?

August 20, 2009 012 (2)
More and more and more of the stepping stones were added until the entire property is now traversable without getting muddy feet. At the above junction two triangular forms were used by inserting a board diagonally into the form. It should have been mentioned earlier, that one forty pound bag of concrete will make one stepping stone. No measuring. It also should have been mentioned that the form needs to be taken off the next day, carefully, so the edges can be softened for a more worn and aged appearance. Carefully. It should also have been mentioned that the step stones are made in situ, on leveled dirt. They have not been moved once poured.

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Here is the form, placed for the last step stone that needs to be made. (Yes, those plants trying to eat the form are the ever present violets and some kind of creeper.) There are four such forms, for that was how many steps stones we felt comfortable making at a time. It should also have been mentioned that screws, not nails should be used to hold the forms together. A drill with the proper bit can then be used to loosen the form while the concrete is partially dry without damaging it before it is completely cured. The mixing of the concrete is the most ardous part of this project. While I did my share, the Financier did many and all of the large slabs, one in front of the shed and one at the landing between the two sets of steps. While we do not work together well, after a very sad incident wallpapering the bathroom of our first house more than thirty years ago, we are quite the concrete project team.

August 20, 2009 032 (2)
The list of projects that can be made with straight from the bag concrete are many. We delved into the making of solid balls after watching a show on HGTV. A child’s toy ball is used, set into a bed of sand to keep the bottom round if you want it to be round, or on level ground if you want it flat so it doesn’t roll around. A small hole is cut in the top of the ball and the concrete is carefully scooped inside, poking it with a stick to get the air bubbles out. It should have been mentioned earlier that after concrete is poured into anything, it should be tapped on with a board to get the gravel in the mix to the bottom and the air bubbles out. We used a piece of four by four about a foot long on its side and went over the entire surface at least twice before the black river rocks and leaves and sand were added. It should also have been mentioned that the black rocks can be purchased at craft stores or Walmart in the fake flower section in small bags. Back to the balls, after a couple of days, the ball can be peeled away and the surface smoothed with a file if needed. A metal file is what was used to soften the edges of all the projects after the form was removed. One of the small balls was covered with moss that occurs naturally here, wrapped in fishing line to secure it. It was then placed in one of the troughs as an objet d’art. The moss filled in nicely and it now looks like a lump of moss rather than a ball of moss. But that’s okay.

August 20, 2009 065 (2)
Since learning the wonders of making things from concrete, we have branched out to hypertufa and leaf casting mix. These can be read about here and here. The Bongo Congo family have joined the Fairegarden clan as well. Their story can be read about here. (So sorry Whimsy, we completely missed your first birthday!) There are still so many ideas swirling around of projects that could be done. All you add is water. And your imagination.


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43 Responses to Fun With Concrete

  1. Janet says:

    What fun, I read it slowly and carefully. I did read where you said you were at the remodeling site every day…..I know..but…I live 8 hours away!
    I do like the various uses of the concrete in an artistic way. The steps are a perfect fit to your slope and like I said before, I love the plants inbetween the treads. We are talking about doing a concrete base for a decorative urn in the front…..saw one being done on P. Allen Smith a few weeks back. You have unlocked the imagination for concrete forms. I like the balls, they remind me of the canon balls in Yorktown.

    Hi Janet, I was thinking of how nice it would be to not be right in the thick of the reno work, very stressful for the workers and for me. We did move into the house next door at the end, or we would have had to go to a hotel. The show we watched about the ball was the restoration of a colonial gate on This Old House with a cannon ball type weight to keep the fence closed. They inserted a metal hook to attach to the chain at the top of the ball. Cool.

  2. marmee says:

    what fun and functional too. i love the way the steps have the curved shape at the top, way to go financiar. you have done so many wonderful things with concrete…what a great medium to use. love hearing the story of the evolution of your use for it and your yard.

    Thanks, Marmee. Glad you enjoyed the history lesson. πŸ™‚

  3. Gail says:

    Frances, A wonderful post~~I can’t imagine tackling stairs! You and The Financier are remarkable. They are impressive in person, fun to walk, delightful to sit on to chat or look closely at the plantings. The hypertufa is a project I’ve wanted to try and now big spheres of concrete! What fun! gail

    Hi Gail, thanks so much. We just jump into things, too much thought holds people back from getting things done, I have found. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Have to do it over? So what? Life is doing. We do love those steps, they are a great focal point in addition to allowing us to climb the hill. Do try the hypertufa and the balls. I believe the leaf casting mix would be good for the balls too. πŸ™‚

  4. Dave says:

    Concrete is fun to play with! It all looks great. The concrete steps might actually work for an area along our slope. I’ll have to do some thinking. The concrete balls look pretty neat!

    Hi Dave, thanks. Your girls would have fun putting things into the concrete too, I’ll bet! Little handprints are always nice. πŸ™‚

  5. Randy says:

    Frances you two have certainly done a wonderful job. Everything looks so professional. When you were talking about the stepping stones needing to be larger I thought to myself you must have some more kind of muscles to be wanting to tote something larger! It was smart thinking to pour where you need them. As for the concrete balls don’t the rubber balls shrink a lot when you deflate them? I love the look of them. Have a good day!

    Hi Randy, thanks. While not like the professionals, it does have that homemade appearance that makes them look older. I so dislike the starkness of new concrete. Everything has aged with the patina that money cannot buy. Muscles? None here, thank goodness for the Financier! It was so much easier to make the step stones in place, time saving too. About the balls, the rubber is quite thick and did not shrink at all. I would like to make more of those, larger and maybe hollow, if I can figure out how to do it. πŸ™‚

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    All of those steps with the personal touches are so inviting. One wants to lay their foot upon each step. I love the bongo congo group too. Your spheres are inspirational to me. I want some. I even bought the ball several years ago. I think it is now deflated and possibly in a landfill someplace by now. Hmmm… You have revived that yearning for more spheres in the garden.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. The ball deflates when you cut the hole it in anyway, you should have saved it! HA

  7. Phillip says:

    I like concrete projects too although I hate to mix it. We’ve made one of the balls before and placed a leaf over it to create a design on the surface of the ball. It turned out nicely. The wood form idea is a good one. I will have to remember that.

    Hi Phillip, what a good idea about the leaf. I might remember reading about that on your blog? Mixing is the hardest part, takes more arm strength than I have. Sometimes I make it a little wetter just to be able to mix it more easily, then let it dry some before pouring.

  8. gittan says:

    Hi Frances, this was a great post! So interesting and fun to read. I love that you have made all those steps on your own, it really gives the garden a personal touch. Have a nice weekend / kam gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. A garden, like a home that reflects the owner seems more welcoming, IMHO. Like yours. πŸ™‚

  9. tina says:

    You guys are most enterprising and talented with that concrete. I too love it and need to start making some leaf molds before those banana leaves disappear-again! Time is going by so fast. I wish I had that moss that you do. It adds so much to the steps.

    Hi Tina, thanks. Banana leafs would make the very best leaf castings. Maybe my neighbor would part with one or two, thanks for the idea! I am surprised you don’t have moss, you have some shade, right? North facing slopes are the motherlode of all types of mosses here, drought or no. Come visit again and I will load you up with moss, among other things. πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve got to tame my hill. I am so inspired! I worry about diverting water incorrectly towards my house (hill like you have, leading up from the house) and have hesitated to make my own steps because of that. Did you have professional advice about rain water?

    Hi Jill, thanks. We did have to think about the water coming down the hill to the back of the house. There is a french drain at the bottom of the retaining wall that empties along the fence. We have all kinds of underground drainage pipes attached to the gutters too, except the one with the rain barrel attached now. Having the ten foot gravel path along the back of the house also helps with drainage. It slopes gently to the fence edge also. There are no plantings along the house, the gravel comes right up to the building. It is a good place for my containers. I do think the placement of the steps is the place to begin taming your hill. Make them huge, bigger than you think necessary and put lots of rebar in to help hold them in place. We are having some erosion under the steps, even as heavy as they are and with the rebar. Lots of plantings to help hold the soil are key. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  11. lotusleaf says:

    The half-moon curb for the set of steps is a stroke of genius! I like taking a trip in your garden.

    Thanks Lotusleaf. I am so proud of The Financier for his steps. He is usually a straight line only kind of guy and thought of it all himself.

  12. Nicole says:

    The embedded stepping stones in concrete reminds me of one of my favorite spas in Laos. There the bath and shower walls and floors are of unpainted concrete with colored stones embedded in patterns such as flowers and the sun.

    How wonderful, Nicole! That spa sounds like heaven! I would love to try and make a pattern in concrete. I need to collect some colorful stones or marbles. It could be done! πŸ™‚

  13. Jake says:

    I never really thought about puttin stuff in concrete. It really adds character to it.

    I love writing in concrete, lol. There is a Kroger in Lexington,KY that I worked at that as a “J” I wrote into the wet concrete when they redid it to install a Wine and Spirits Store, lol.


    HA Jake, good one! I have left some writing, initials and drawings in various spots around the US as well. Why not, right? πŸ™‚

  14. Oh Frances, what an inspiration! I am in love with the steps with the planting between them. They are just so lush and romantic. Thank you. (I keep scrolling back up the page to have another look while I’m typing this comment) πŸ˜€

    Hi Happy, (I fixed your typo, love that about wordpress), thanks. The plants have filled in to cover up what I had originally planted, creeping thymes, so much better than anything I could have planted. It changes all the time too. One year the ajuga is king, then the jenny takes over. Now the cerastium is entering, a really nice contrast. The euphorbia is getting too dense though and will have to be pulled. No violets allowed. Glad you liked them. πŸ™‚

  15. ricki says:

    I love it that you and the Financier have found a project where you work together so well, and the results are stunning. I think concrete balls are going to be turning up all over the country after this post.

    Thanks Ricki. I think it has something to do with being outside, lots of room to let our elbows fly without banging into one another. The ball project is just the best. It is fast and uses just a small amount of concrete, nearly instant gratification. I need to make more of them, they age very well and look good in groups scattered about the plants.

  16. Joanne says:

    What an interesting post and what a lot of hard work but well rewarded especially on wet days I am sure.
    The most we have done is hypertufa sink and the usual repairs to steps and making seats. The thoughts have been there but I am lacking in excecution. i must put my mind to something when Mike next mixes concreat for a step repair which is needed.

    Thanks Joanne, glad you enjoyed it. This was all done over several years, most of it in the beginning. We are reaping the rewards of our labors now. I like the sound of a hypertufa sink, something like the troughs we have made perhaps? Making seats also piques my interest. It is possible to make just a small batch of concrete or the leaf mix to make the balls. A fun project that anyone can do. πŸ™‚

  17. Pam/Digging says:

    What a very useful and creative post, Frances. Like some of your other readers, I’m giving thought to taming my sloping back yard with steps of some kind. I will definitely think about adding homemade concrete ones now that I see how it can be done. How deep did you drive in the vertical rebar to hold the steps in place? And did you keep a ramped path at any point in order to get a wheelbarrow up the slope?

    I’m still chuckling over your comment about the wallpaper incident between you and the Financier.

    Hi Pam, thanks. It was easy to do and we certainly got better at it as we went on. The rebar was two feet long pieces. We pounded them in to about one inch below the level of the concrete, maybe a little more. We didn’t ever want them to stick up out of concrete. The steps were four inches deep, I believe now that we would use 2 x 6s for the larger steps like we did for the ones behind the garage. The wallpaper hanging was not good. I decided to do all wallpapering by myself from then on. I have to do things a certain way and so does someone else who will be nameless here. πŸ™‚

  18. Catherine says:

    Love the stairs, I wish I had somewhere to put such creative ones with the plants growing around them.
    I do think the ball idea is one I could try and we even have some in the yard. I doubt the girls would notice them missing πŸ™‚

    Hi Cathine, thanks. Lucky you, to already have the material necessary for the project! LOL I thought there was a beach ball around here somewhere too, but cannot find it. Have to go to the discount store it seems. πŸ™‚

  19. Lola says:

    Great post Frances. I was enthralled reading the beginning of the solution to a problem situation. Then to continue on to the point that the garden is now. As we all know gardening is a never ending endeavor.
    I love the steps as they were a genius idea. Walking, sitting on them would be a pleasure of anticipation viewing the garden & all it has to offer.

    Thanks Lola, so glad you enjoyed hearing about this. Some questions were asked when the steps were shown on another post, so this was put together to explain what we did. Necessity was the mother that led us to the fun with concrete. πŸ™‚

  20. chuck b. says:

    Check out these concrete stepping stones we saw at Annie’s Annuals. Groovy, huh?!

    Gosh, Chuck, those are amazing and so pretty, but look like they would be difficult to walk on. Especially on a slope. But one might want to take a nap on them. LOL

  21. Wow! I was tag surfing at WordPress looking for some posts about knot gardens, when your blog came up. I have only got through the first post but I love, love, love what I am seeing (and reading too). We have been making steps out of old chunks of concrete that have been thrown out, but very fiddly, lots of leveling. Much easier to make them in place. And I was just thinking about conrete balls the other day after seeing them in Margaret Roach’s garden. Now, on to the knot garden.

    Hi Kilbourne Grove, thanks and welcome. I am so glad you liked what you found at the Fairegarden. Knot gardens are so much fun and ours is a favorite destination in the garden in all four seasons. Making things from concrete is easy, cheap and fun. Hope you try it. πŸ™‚

  22. Alright, alright. Now you’ve done it. You’ve got me thinking about balls and steps and people… I can hardly wait until tomorrow to see how my hypertufa project is coming. We had our workshop Wednesday. Everyone took theirs home, so I’m waiting for photos! Oh… and I still have no camera. This is a bummer.

    Hi Shady, so sorry about your camera, that is a major bummer. This is the perfect time of year to get these projects done, before cold temps set in and the leaves demand our attention. I can’t wait to see your hypertufa! πŸ™‚

  23. Oops. I meant to say “Thank You,” Frances!!! It doesn’t take much to inspire me, so keep it up! πŸ™‚

    LOL, Shady, my pleasure! πŸ™‚

  24. Sweet Bay says:

    I love the wide angle shot of the garden. It looks grand. You guys have done so much work and it looks great. I have thought of doing some concrete and hypertufa projects, but the weeds keep tripping me up. lol Someday… pieces like that can add so much to the garden.

    Thanks, Sweet Bay. There is a lot of work in the garden under our belts. But every minute enjoyable, for me anyway. The weeds will wait for you, just like the dust bunnies inside the house, while you do something you enjoy more. Life is short. πŸ™‚

  25. LindaLunda says:

    I do love your garden Frances! Your susch an insperation for me!

    Thanks Linda, it is you who are the inspiration! Those dragons and castles are just the most wonderful art! πŸ™‚

  26. Barbara H. says:

    What a gift this post is, Frances. I’d like to add steps to the slope from my patio to my shed but am so afraid of erosion. And I finally discovered I could mow it (carefully) so am less anxious to tackle the steps. I tried making balls with left overs from leaf casting, shaping them by hand, and they were miserable. I’ll have to try your method – they look wonderful!

    Thanks Barbara. Steps on steep slopes need to be large, heavy and anchored with rebar. Try the toy ball method of ball making. I have found only a flat project, like leaves or the bongo congos do well without a form. πŸ™‚

  27. Hi Frances,
    Carina is a concrete women, she just love it in every forms. For us in Sweden concrete is good beacouse it can stay outsida the hole year.

    Hi Ken, Carina is a very talented concrete woman, I remember that chess set! We have the same issue with frost and thaw, the concrete projects are all made with a bonding agent added to help keep them in one piece.

  28. Patsi says:

    You are the concrete queen !
    Any questions…I’m coming right to you !
    The faces had to be very rewarding to make…one of a kind.
    Did you say you purchased the house next door ?
    Can I ask why ? Or should I say why not ?

    Hi Patsi, thanks. We purchased the house next door for several reasons, the biggest one was that it was just a one bedroom concrete block house, nothing fancy or we would never have been able to afford such a thing. It was still not cost effective, but we wanted the space to build a garage, the main house did not have anywhere to store outside stuff either. It is a long story, maybe a post someday. πŸ™‚

  29. RobinL says:

    I just love those stairs with the pebbles embedded in the edges, and the plants growing hither and yon amongst them. Ahhhhh.

    Thanks Robin, so glad you like them. I love the black rocks too. It was during my black phase. LOL

  30. I love everything you’ve shown here…you’re so creative!

    Thanks so much Jan. I am glad you like these things. πŸ™‚

  31. Lythrum says:

    I need to make some stepping stones, thanks for the ideas. πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Lythrum, glad you got some ideas for your own projects! πŸ™‚

  32. Oh Frances you are a wealth of information! I love concrete and you have completely inspried me, those balls are just wonderful! Thanks so much! Kim

    Hi Kim thanks. I have been referred to as Miss Knowitall in the past, and not in a good way either! HA

  33. MrBrownThumb says:

    The view up to those stairs is spectacular. Looks like the throne of a garden god or something. The little touches on the steps just makes it even more special.

    Thanks MBT, so nice to see you here! A throne, I like that and never thought of the steps in that way, but will from now on, ascending the stairway to the seat of power! HA

  34. Teresa says:

    You are an inspiration. I love those stairs!

    Thanks Teresa. I am so glad you enjoyed reading the story of concrete projects here. πŸ™‚

  35. Love all the personal touches. Your garden surely is a treasure!

    Thanks, Monica. So glad you enjoyed learning about such mundane matters as steps and step stones made of concrete. πŸ™‚

  36. James Golden says:

    Thanks for concrete inspiration. Do you use any special mixture?

  37. Rose says:

    Wow, Frances, I am so impressed with all of your work. These steps, stepping stones, and concrete balls are gorgeous. Husband and I don’t always work together well either, and the garden holds little interest for him, but a bag of concrete might be enticing to him. Funny you should mention an unfortunate “wallpaper incident”…I am legendary in wallpaper incidents:)

    HA Rose, wallpaper just lends itself to incidents! Thanks for those kind words. My husband is not involved in the gardening, but is always willing to do heavy lifting, sawing and especially got into the concrete projects. Your husband may feel the call of the concrete too! πŸ™‚

  38. hayefield says:

    I’m woefully late yet again, darn it. I really need to try to keep up with Fairegarden posts so I get a fresh comment in early and don’t end up simply repeating what everyone else has said. But for now, I’ll tell you how much I enjoyed learning about this particular aspect of your garden’s development. You’re such a great story-teller! Thanks for sharing such a wealth of ideas and inspiration for the GGW Design Workshop, Frances.

    Thanks Nan. I am happy to see you anytime you can find the time to visit. I know how busy you must be and do appreciate your kind words. πŸ™‚

  39. Della says:

    Well it’s almost August of 2010, not quite a year since the last comment… I have been scouring the web soaking up every bit of info I can find on tufa and concrete. I love everything about it!! and my daughter and I made our first hypertufa pieces this afternoon. I love your blog and “how to” posts!! Thank you so much for such great information and photos, I really appreciate your time and effort!

    Oh my gosh, I completely forgot. I LOVE your banner photo, I am a bird nut and one of my favorites is the Cedar Waxwing. They are migratory in California and I only see them for a few months and can never get close to them they are so skittish. I first know there here by their high pitch chatter

    That is a beautiful shot!

    Hi Della, thanks for returning! I am so glad you like the how to posts. I love doing them and promise there will be more, but they do take a little more work to put together. Thanks for the appreciation, it means a lot to me! As for the waxwing shot, that was a very special day! Those birds come through here in spring and late fall for only a couple of days while migrating. We were so lucky to get that close to them after taking the netting off the pond so they could get a drink on a frozen day. πŸ™‚

  40. Frances,

    I adore your planted steps! And the balls! Thanks for pointing me to this article.

    When we move in to “our eventual house” as my husband and I call it, I hope I have room for something similar.

    Glad to have found Fairegarden!
    Thanks, Julie

    Thanks so much for those kind words, Julie. Your eventual house will be wonderful, write down all those plans for it as they come to you. That is what I did and am now going through the list, checking them off as we go. πŸ™‚

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  42. dale jackson says:

    I am having a sidewalk poured with boring cement… going to put a few river rocks in the border maybe. I have a ton of small shells I am making flowers with and turquoise centers. I want to do the leaves like yours. Can you answer me in in the next 36 hours? dale

    Hi Dale, your concrete ideas sound interesting. For the leaves, I chose larger fresh leaves, maple is what was on hand, but any type will do, and placed the vein side down on wet cement, then sprinkled sand over top to hold them in place while they dry. They will dry up and disintegrate over time, you don’t have to do anything. Hope this answers your question.

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