A garden mosaic
Make a garden path or an entranceway into a work of art by using bulk-bought stones to form a unique pebble mosaic. You can create any design you desire, just ensure that you use the correct ratio of sand to cement. Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell, author of The Decorated Garden (CICO Books), explains how…
You will need
Aggregate; garden rake; four large black pebbles; sack of mediumsized grey river pebbles; sack of small white river pebbles; sack of small brown/purple pebbles; sack of purple/ black slate pieces; sharp sand; cement; spade; bricklayer’s float; sharp pointed stick; small brush
1. Lay a base
Fill the area chosen for the mosaic with aggregate to a depth of 10cm to make a firm base. Rake it level and tread it down. The mosaic will be around 6cm deep, so make allowance for this depth on top of the base.
2. Sort the slate and pebbles
You will need to pick out evenly sized stones. Have a container of medium-sized grey pebbles, one of smaller white ones, and another of small brown/purple. Sort a smaller number of slate pieces. Wash all of the stones and slate thoroughly.
3. Create a mortar layer
Combine two parts sand to one part cement and pour over the area on top of the aggregate to a depth of approximately 6cm. Firm and level using a bricklayer’s float.
4. Mark your design
Using a sharp pointed stick, draw your design into the dry mortar. The outer border needs to be wide enough to accommodate three rows of the larger pebbles. Mark a diamond within the rectangle and a circle within the diamond.
5. Create the border
Push three rows of medium-sized grey pebbles into the mortar mix to at least half their depth to make the border. Use them on their sides, lengthways, with the narrowest edge facing up.
6. Fill in the centre
Draw an eight-pointed star in the central circle and push in two or three slate pieces to make each arm, thin edges facing up. Carefully push small white pebbles between the slate lines, so the star keeps its shape.
7. Finish the diamond shape
Use small brown/purple pebbles to surround the central motif, arranging them neatly in a concentric pattern. Fill in the whole diamond area in this way, pushing the pebbles into the mortar. Pack them down evenly with the bricklayer’s float.
8. Complete the design
Take the four black pebbles and lay them flat side up in the centre of the triangular spaces. Fill in the remaining spaces with white pebbles.
9. Dampen the surface
Add a couple of shovels of dry mortar mix to fill in and even out the base. Brush off the excess. Spray the mosaic with a fine mist from a hose to dampen the surface, and leave to set.