Concrete Hardscaping for the Garden: Concrete Hardscaping

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Concrete Hardscaping for the Garden

By beckygardener
August 28, 2014

Concrete hardscaping is functional and long-lasting, and it can also be a beautiful addition to any garden.

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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Aug 27, 2014 7:09 PM CST
Great article Becky.
I wish I would have started with concrete hardscaping year ago. We started replacing the old wooden raised beds 2 years ago. Out of 14 beds we have two left to replace. I am in love with the new cement block beds.
We also have broken up pieces of driveway/sidwalk cement that we have used as edging and path stone material, burying it flush with the lawn.
I would love to do a small patio with concrete, but I would like it done as a solid pour and use stamped concrete, with maybe an acid treatment for color. https://www.google.com/search?q=stamped+concrete+patio&tbm=i...
Thumb of 2014-08-28/valleylynn/1eefa8

After reading your article I want to add at least one concrete bench. Thumbs up
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 27, 2014 7:53 PM CST
Lynn,

Thank you.

Your concrete block raised beds are awesome! What a wonderful garden area with all the succulents. The more I looked at your photo, the more I thought about making a small concrete block raised bed of succulents. I do have succulents around my yard in containers, but never thought to make a raised bed full of them. That is so cool what you built!

I, too, wished I had used concrete blocks from the start. I wasted so much time and money using wood. I have since replaced numerous wooden raised beds and borders around my yard. And still have a few more to replace, but it is almost completed.

A stamped concrete patio would be beautiful. I hope you are able to eventually do that! I am on a very limited budget, so I have to hand-create most everything to make it affordable, but if I had the money .... Oh! The things I would do with concrete! Hilarious! I love concrete in the garden. Originally, it was not even a consideration for hardscaping, but after replacing so much wood hardscaping over the past couple of years, I've really come to appreciate concrete. Now if I could just figure out how to make arbors out of concrete ... Whistling Hilarious!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Aug 27, 2014 8:34 PM CST
We are also on a limited budget, so don't know if the patio will happen.
The broken pieces of concrete are free from our local concrete contractor. He is more than happy to drop the pieces by our place instead of paying to haul them to the landfill. He even makes sure to break them up into useable pieces for us.

In your area you could have an amazing bed of the colorful tender succulents of all types.
[Last edited by valleylynn - Aug 27, 2014 8:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 27, 2014 8:48 PM CST
Hmmmm ... I never thought to ask a concrete contractor to do that. That is an terrific idea! I do like the concrete pieces for paths. You just gave me another idea to explore. Hilarious! Thumbs up Thanks!

We do get rather cool here in Winter. I have to cover all my succulents with sheets on the frosty nights, but that isn't too much trouble. I have come to genuinely enjoy succulents over the years and they do very well in the heat of FL in summer. They are such unique plants and add unusual interest to any garden.

Have you seen how to use concrete blocks to make unusual planters?

http://theverybesttop10.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/the-worl...

http://www.remodelista.com/posts/diy-concrete-block-planters
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Aug 27, 2014 9:02 PM CST
Yes, I have. I find them wonderfully unusual and beautiful.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 27, 2014 9:08 PM CST
I have plans to add a concrete block planter similar to some of the photos in the above links near a corner of my house and will be planting succulents in it. I may be painting the planter several colors to add some additional interest. I am always amazed at what others come up with using concrete in the garden.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Region: Mid-Atlantic I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Tropicals
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HollyAnnS
Aug 28, 2014 5:06 AM CST
Becky, Great Article your gardens sure are beautiful. I have a few concrete items in my garden. Right now we are making concrete stepping stones with mosaic tops.
Life is Great! Holly
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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Aug 28, 2014 6:39 AM CST
Becky, your article is great, and very inspiring indeed! Absolutely love the benches! Wonderfully done! Thumbs up Thank you for sharing your great ideas!
Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Aug 28, 2014 7:50 AM CST
Becky, wonderful article. Beautiful garden.
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 28, 2014 4:03 PM CST
Holly, Tara, and Jean - Thank you so much!

I really wasn't trying to show off my garden. I actually wanted others to consider the many uses of concrete in a garden setting. I have found that concrete is much more affordable for me than wood. And even more so if I don't have to replace it every 3-4 years! Concrete has saved me quite a bit of money in the long run. I am also getting older and having to replace hardscape is not as easy as it once was. So now when I build/create something using concrete, I know it will be there for years to come. I can concentrate on changing out plants if I want my garden to look totally different. The beds remain constant even if the plants don't. Whenever I "used to" do my early Spring garden evaluation, I'd look at the wooden raised beds and see how much the wood had deteriorated from the previous year. It's so nice now, to see how good those beds continue to look year after year. It has actually made gardening less stressful. Now my gardening is all about the plants instead of the garden beds. I've discovered that now I actually have time to sit back and enjoy my garden. What a concept!!!!

Holly - I do have plans to do a mosaic bench. If you make one, I hope that you will post a photo of it. I bet it will be beautiful!

I ordered my bench top molds from History Stones: http://www.historystones.com/benches.html?limit=15 The price of each mold has gone up since I bought mine about 6 years ago, but they will save you money in the long run if you make 2-3 (or more) benches. I made the smaller benches, not the large bench. I've made several benches that are placed around my different garden rooms as well as the front yard. Some are hidden in secret garden areas. These benches get a lot of use. Sometimes they are in the perfect place to sit quietly, photographing the birds and other wildlife.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Aug 28, 2014 6:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Alex
Warren, VT- Green Mtns. (Zone 4b)
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ARoseblush
Aug 28, 2014 7:04 PM CST
Great article, Becky. You have created a lovely garden with imagination, and a lot of hard work. Love the benches, and the garden statues and bird bathes soften the concrete surroundings, and give the garden a balanced and ethereal feeling. Congrats, well done!
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
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blue23rose
Aug 29, 2014 4:16 AM CST
Becky, you are truly imaginative and creative. Love all the concrete hardscaping, especially the way you used bags of concrete around your oak tree. Very ingenius! The maiden statue is beautiful. You've made me want to add more concrete to my garden areas!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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crittergarden
Aug 29, 2014 7:01 AM CST
We have so much repurpose-able belgian block ( http://marketsquarepgh.blogspot.com/2010/04/belgian-block.ht... ) cobblestones and other stone building material around here that I have set aside an area for a concrete pad to arrange some on top of as a patio in the shady corner. I have collected a lot of cobblestones and 3 large, darker grey blocks (which I can roll over, but not actually lift by myself). I also have some red brick I will dot in there if I don't have enough pretty to fill the space. I'll need to hire a concrete guy to pour a nice level oval pad with a rim to hold in the sand, so I haven't found the $ yet for that part. Yo can still find the block in the city property behind older homes where homeowners and even road "upgraders" just tossed it. You can buy the belgian block cobblestones, too, if you look on Craig's list, etc., for about $1-2. Mine's all scavenged and lugged home by me, EXCEPT the 3 larger blocks which a teenage boy neighbor wrangled into my yard from the woods just behind my own house.

I am SO looking forward to doing this project whenever the other, more necessary, expenses take a break long enough.
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Aug 29, 2014 7:03 AM CST
Sounds like a great project, critter. Have fun!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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crittergarden
Aug 29, 2014 7:16 AM CST
Thx - I'll be sure to stock up on Excedrin before I go to it! Hilarious!
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/

Pamkenn
Aug 30, 2014 3:53 AM CST
Your article is really inspiring. We are just planning our gardens here in Vermont, where we moved to "retire/homestead" a few years ago. We have a bit of concrete work - stairs and retaining wall - but you have made such interesting and diverse uses to beautify your garden. Thanks for all these great ideas! My wheels are spinning! I tip my hat to you. Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 30, 2014 8:30 AM CST
Alex, Vickie, Critter, and Pamkenn - Thank you!

Critter - I hope you will post some photos or maybe even do an article about your hardscaping project! Sounds exciting!

Vickie - The concrete bag border around my Oak tree was something that I debated about for a year before I finally did it. We even went to a rock yard to see about purchasing some actual rock, but it was way out of our price range. Ironically, the rock yard has gone out of business since. It is not cost effective to import large attractive rocks to FL.

Pam and others who may be using concrete to do some of your hardscaping .... I would REALLY love to see photographs of what YOU do! I am still looking for more ideas as I have a lot more hardscaping to do in other parts of my yard. So please ... bring it on and share your ideas with everyone !!!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Aug 30, 2014 8:30 AM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 30, 2014 8:34 AM CST
I do want to make a comment about the concrete birdbath .... I "made" 2 cheap birdbaths for my yard that are not concrete. Those two birdbaths get a lot more use than my concrete birdbath ever did. But the concrete bird bath looks nice and some of the bigger birds do use it. LOL!

http://garden.org/ideas/view/beckygardener/1603/Homemade-Bir...

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden

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