2 Concrete Projects For Your Garden

When most people think of concrete, they conjure images of industrial settings and applications. Thanks to the versatile nature of concrete, you can actually incorporate this material into your residential garden.

Here are two simple projects made using concrete that can enhance the beauty and increase the character of your backyard garden in the future.

1. Decorative Splash Blocks

You are probably familiar with the important role that downspouts play in helping to funnel rainwater and snow melt away from your home's foundation. Unfortunately, the pressure of the water being funneled through your downspout can lead to soil erosion directly beneath the spout's exit point. If your downspout is creating an unsightly gouge in the ground and marring the appearance of your garden, you can use decorative concrete leaves to help reduce erosion.

To create your own concrete leaf, create a mound out of sand that is about the size of the leaf you want to cast. Find a leaf with decorative veining, and mix some concrete according to the manufacturer's directions. Cover over the sand mound with a piece of plastic, and lay your leaf face down on top. Pour a thin layer of concrete over the leaf, then fit a piece of chicken wire over the top. Cover the wire with another thin layer of concrete, apply another layer of plastic to the top, and let it cure slowly (check the manufacturer's directions for precise drying time).

Once dry, turn your concrete casting over, remove the leaf, and place below your downspout. You will have a decorative splash block that allows water to gently trickle away from your home while protecting the soil in your garden from erosion.

2. Concrete Pavers

Concrete serves as the perfect medium for creating decorative pavers that can be added to your flower beds or garden pathways. An easy way to customize the look of your concrete pavers is by using thick foam to create a variety of shapes.

Once you have cut your shapes from the foam, mix a batch of concrete according to the manufacturer's directions. Be sure that the concrete you select for this project runs a bit on the thin side, because you will be placing the foam shapes into the concrete mixture. The foam acts as a sponge, soaking up the concrete.

Be sure that your foam shapes are thoroughly saturated, then remove them from the concrete and allow them to cure according to the manufacturer's recommendations. The foam hardens as the concrete cures, creating concrete pavers that are uniquely customized for your garden.

Using concrete in your garden doesn't have to be difficult. Craft some decorative leaf splash blocks or concrete pavers made from foam, and you will be able to blend concrete seamlessly into your outdoor design.