How to make an artificial grotto and rocks on your site?

Valentina Shpak

5 years ago

Interest in landscape design elements is growing rapidly. This is both a fashionable trend and the opportunity to make your garden truly unique, unlike any other, where every corner, furnished to your liking, pleases and gives a feeling of comfort. Artificial rocks and grottoes are popular landscaping elements that will add mystery to your garden. Such quiet, secluded places are truly conducive to solitude, reflection, private conversations and meetings.

In gardening art, grottoes have been used for a long time - the ancient Greeks considered them sacred, later the grottoes became the prototypes of the first temples, often decorated with columns. As garden decorations, grottoes began to be built already in the Renaissance, they were arranged near waterfalls, in accumulations of stones, in places where rocks emerge to the surface. It is always cool in and around the grottoes, and if there is also a spring nearby, then during the summer heat it will be one of the best places in the garden.

If you have a landscape-style plot, the grotto is a great addition. Decor such as artificial rocks and grottoes looks expensive and attractive, but large financial investments are not required to create such beauty. When creating such elements, you need to take into account the general concept of the garden so that they look harmonious on the site. It is better if the site is large, but you can build something on a small one. No special building skills are needed here, the materials are quite affordable.

So, let's try to create a grotto. First, the frame of the structure is created from the polyurethane foam. Its contours are the outlines of the future rock or grotto. We work in stages - apply the foam layer by layer, let the previous layer dry out so that it does not drip. The finished frame (it can be created only from foam or used for foaming stones, pipes driven into the ground, bars) must be wrapped with a construction mesh, securing it with ties. A concrete layer is applied on top (5-7 cm). Foam frame is lightweight but less durable. Its advantage is that you can move it to another location and rotate it while working.

Next, we give our cave a natural shape. In a ratio of 1/3, we use a mixture of high-quality cement, sand and fillers. Fillers are used in an arbitrary amount, but there should not be too many of them - these are ash, fiberglass, wood glue and quartz impurities. After dilution with water, the composition should have the consistency of cement. It takes some practice to make the grotto look beautiful and natural. Look at the arrangement of stones in nature, at rocks, caves in order to understand the peculiarities of their lines, plasticity.

The solution is applied with a spatula to the base, trying to reproduce the natural arrangement of the stones. We create the surface of the stone on an uncured solution. To make the stones look porous, we press the sponge to the surface of the grotto or rock, make grooves that imitate natural ones, as well as scuffs, chips. To create the effect of erosion, we make grooves and fill them with a small amount of hot water. When you decorate your grotto in this way, do not dry it in the sun. It should be dried in the shade and sprinkled with water from time to time so as not to crack. Drying can take a long time - up to a month, so take your time. Better to make a really solid structure.

We start finishing work approximately on the 3rd day. The structure will shrink for about a month, so let it dry out, and in the meantime we will continue to work. We remove all the irregularities that look ugly and unnatural. This can be done with a grinding stone. Then we prepare the grotto or rock for painting. Pay special attention to this stage - both the appearance and the practicality of the structure depend on it. Dust should be removed from all cracks, roughness. Use a soft and clean brush for this, it should also be dry. After that, we wash the artificial stone with a sponge and let it dry.

Now you can start painting. Choose natural shades - brown (clay), beige, green, soft orange and yellow, terracotta, gray, black. It is best to use water-based paints in aerosols. This paint can be washed off if you are not happy with the result. We try to make a homogeneous surface, where the colors smoothly and harmoniously blend into one another. The paints can be mixed, we apply them in several layers.

After giving the rocks a complete look, we install them in the right place (if you have chosen the foam construction option). The composition can be supplemented with boulders, artificial or natural. If there is no natural stone at hand, we make artificial ones. It is necessary to crumple thick paper, wrap it with the same construction mesh and then proceed in the same way as when creating a grotto. Be sure to decorate the grotto with live plants - vines (ivy, grapes), hops, kampsis, in general, of your choice will do. Ferns and ornamental shrubs will look beautiful at the entrance to the shady grotto.

Having created such a wonderful element of garden design with your own hands, you yourself will see how much more comfortable and attractive your garden will become.

How to make a grotto with your own hands: step-by-step instructions for building

The grotto is a shallow cave with a vaulted ceiling. The building in the form of a grotto will make your summer cottage more mysterious and give an antique character.

In addition to its decorative function, the grotto also serves as a place of solitude, as well as a place for relaxation and observation of the general picture of the garden.

To create a grotto, you do not need a lot of money and special construction skills. It is enough to have the skills of bricklaying and have creative thinking and imagination, which will help to decorate this garden building in an original way.

In order to make a grotto with your own hands, you need to stock up on a considerable amount of natural stone of various shapes and sizes. The most popular stones for creating a grotto are considered to be sandstone, dolomite and granite.

Tell me how to make a grotto in the country?

Oleg, you have correctly decided to beat the unevenness of the relief on your site, that is, the elevation differences.
So, the place has been chosen, we come up with the appearance of the grotto. The main material for bringing the grotto to life can be medium-sized natural stone. It will play the role of building bricks from which the walls of residential and public buildings are assembled. Naturally, cement and a metal mesh frame are needed to connect the stones. Cement mortar (grade 400) will allow you to connect individual elements and erect inclined walls of the grotto. Such a structure will not do without sand, soil and other metal and wooden products. As it was said, any grotto is a place for rest, solitude, especially in hot weather. The drawings show different solutions: on the relief and near the fence on a flat surface.

The picturesqueness and variety of building materials, which is natural stone, complement its artistic and decorative qualities. The dimensions of the grotto located on the site can be different, as a rule, 300x300 or 250x350 cm. And the height of the grotto can be 220-250 cm, which allows you to move freely inside the premises.
First stage: metal supports are mounted in the form of an arch. There may be several of them. They are connected with metal rods. Arches are supported by concrete cubes or tiles.
After finishing the installation of the frame, we attach a metal mesh to it. The next stage: laying stones on the surface of the arched frame, "tying" them with cement mortar. The resulting stone structure in the form of an arch will serve as a reliable overlap of the grotto.
For interior decoration, we use cement mortar, which is thrown onto the mesh with a trowel.
We lay boards from floorboards on the ground inside the grotto. They will function as a floor. Lamps can be attached to the walls, creating unusual lighting in the evening.

Planning the composition and design of the alpine slide

So how do you compose your composition, how do you select and arrange plants and stones? Complete answers to these questions will not fit within the framework of one article, but in short, here are some main rules and principles that you need to adhere to:

  • According to the canons, an alpine slide should not consist of boulders and rolled stones (with the exception of rock gardens near water bodies), but of rough and broken ones. For example, it can be: tuff, sandstone, limestone, granite or shale.
  • In one composition, it is desirable to combine no more than 2 breeds, otherwise the rock garden will look unnatural.
  • As a rule, the height of an alpine slide is 3-5 tiers (it is better that the number of tiers is odd). It is better not to make dacha rock gardens too high - their optimal height is 50-80 cm.
Small alpine slide

In choosing the design of an alpine slide, be guided by a sense of proportion - the composition should look natural and organically fit into the landscape. Cliffs and rocks (see photo below) in summer cottages most often seem foreign. But simple imitations of a slope or mountain valley without a pronounced peak are appropriate everywhere.

In a small summer cottage, high types of rock gardens, as in this photo, are not too appropriate

Now let's talk about choosing plants for an alpine slide. If you build a rock garden strictly according to the rules, then the flora for it must be selected strictly of alpine origin: miniature conifers, shrubs, ground cover, bulbous and herbaceous perennials.

However, it is not so easy to find and grow real "Alpines" in the middle lane, so you can choose any plants that are characterized by squat (height up to 60 cm), unpretentiousness and, of course, decorativeness. On the northern slope, it is better to plant shade-tolerant plants: tenacious, periwinkle, fern, bergenia and others. On the southern slope, accordingly, light-loving plants grow better: lavender, barberry, adonis, iris, acene and others. Evergreens, such as mountain pine, Canadian spruce, juniper and others, will very harmoniously fit into the "mountain ensemble".

It is desirable that the plants of your rock garden retain their decorative effect throughout the season, otherwise the withered leaves will spoil the whole composition, and it is unlikely that it will be possible to hide them behind the blooming "neighbors". For this reason, it is good to use annuals in the design of an alpine slide. Although they are not quite "canonical", they will decorate the rocky garden for a long time.

Garden Ideas

I also want to see the beds with vegetables attractive and original. Expensive and fashionable material is not always available. Therefore, unusual solutions from the usual means help out summer residents, and the garden looks no worse than a recreation area.

From the remnants of brick, slate or board, neat beds are obtained.

If you like weaving, use wooden rods. Simple and beautiful

A designer exclusive will be a bed of ornamental cabbage in the garden. On the one hand, a vegetable, on the other, an original decoration.

Combining vegetables and flowers

Dress your garden scarecrow in the latest fashion. And for plants it is good and nice to look at. The remains of a metal rod are suitable for creating an arch, next to which you can plant a climbing rose or ivy.

The entrance to the garden will acquire some mystery

Country tricks or useful ideas for giving with your own hands

Interesting ideas for decorating your favorite summer cottage with your own hands | 150+ original photo tips for craftsmen

Having taken fresh ideas from our article, you can safely start experimenting with decorating your private property. Try different options. After all, creativity is inexhaustible. Add your solutions and do not doubt your success. And also feedback from our readers is very important for us. If you disagree with these ratings, leave your rating in the comments with the reasons for your choice. Thank you for your participation. Your opinion will be useful to other users.

  • The ability to refresh or embellish your summer cottage simply by using old, no longer needed things.
  • You can involve family and friends in this process, diversify your leisure time.
  • Creative classes develop imagination and fantasy.

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Yes, I read it, I read this article and realized that the general cleaning at the dacha, which I planned in the spring, I will do in a different way)) I really wanted to throw out so many things, but I read this article and realized that I will definitely not throw out everything )) There are so many ideas about how you can use trash to decorate your summer cottage, that there are simply no words))) I would definitely never have thought of finding the use of old shoes or plates, for example))) And construction the materials that remain from the repair, based on this article, can be fully used as furniture)) In general, more ideas are described and shown here than necessary. But I still took note of a couple of ideas, and in the spring and summer, already in 2018, I will definitely try to implement them. But at least. I'll definitely try)) I think my wife won't mind either, she just loves my creativity))

On our site, we united with my mother's dacha. We got quite a decent area for the embodiment not only of its garden, obligatory vegetable beds, but also for our own ideas. The charm came out with the reservoir, from its side (now from the common side) a tiny, but rather deep rivulet flows. It was a great success, and a new gazebo was set up nearby, just by the cedars. Indescribable beauty opens to the opposite shore. Of course the expanse for flower beds. We love all kinds of flowers, the eye rejoices in the multicolored abundance. And hanging flowerpots fell in love, ampelous pelargonium blooms with such lights that neighbors can see this miracle from afar. Some do not even know about such species. How many already share it, everyone is surprised at such an unpretentious, but lush flower. They also brought the old Zaporozhets grandfathers to the site. We made this rarity the basis of the clubs, planting petunia, it grows well and quickly, creating flower abundance. And the barberry hedge finally saved us from annoying guests, from country cats to someone's curious goat.

Got a lot of useful ideas for myself. Some ideas will be implemented this spring. A lot of rubbish has gathered at the dacha, which I planned to throw out, but I felt sorry, and now I can use this rubbish to good use. I always wanted to transform my site and turn it into a beautiful place. Last year, I installed decorative fences and laid out a stone sidewalk path. My wife's plans have always been to decorate the plot with a large number of flowers, I support her desire, but I want to do it as rationally as possible in order to leave space for planting vegetables. In the process of reading the article, I found many useful solutions for decorating a garden with flowers and at the same time I do not have to allocate a lot of space for flowers. I will use free places, and I will use various rubbish as containers for flowers and flower beds: balls, plastic containers, shoes and car tires, having previously decorated all this. I especially liked the idea of ​​the swans - a simple design and looks impressive. I also note the plate fence - simple and tasteful. I have always admired people who can create something beautiful and useful out of nothing.

Watch the video: Video 10, PROJECT DONE! How to Make a Fake Rock Grotto, Slide, Waterfall

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