Decorative concrete in landscape design: effective makeup for dull dampness
When looking at the beautiful embossed coatings of walls, paths and fences, it is difficult to imagine that they are all made of the usual material - concrete. But modern coatings, unlike their ancestor, known for its unattractive dull gray appearance, have a special aesthetics. Due to its presentable properties, decorative concrete is widely used not only in construction, but also in landscape design.
For the first time, decorative concrete was used in the early 60s of the last century by the Americans in the construction of runways at military airfields. They were faced with the task of creating a building material that successfully combines both excellent performance and decorative qualities. The material, which consisted of cement, water, aggregate, paint and additives, fully met these requirements and therefore became widespread in many industries.
Today, decorative concrete can be seen on car parks, roads and sidewalks, metro stations. It is used in the restoration of architectural monuments.
Thanks to the efforts of the developers, today decorative concrete has a number of indisputable advantages, the main ones being:
- Resistance to the effects of oil products, chemicals and aggressive compounds;
- Ability to withstand load (2-3 times more than pressed paving slabs);
- UV resistance and ability to withstand up to 300 freeze cycles;
- Ability to withstand temperature extremes in the range from -40 ° С to + 40 ° С;
- Resistant to abrasion and mechanical stress.
Using pressed concrete, you can create extremely beautiful and at the same time durable coatings. Special additives in the material help prevent flaking and surface cracking.
Unlike conventional concrete, the technology of which boils down to conventional pouring, decorative concrete involves applying a certain pattern to the top layer after the final pouring.
Various stamps and other special tools are used to decorate the surface. Stencils, sandblasting molds and etching chemistries allow for intricate ornamentation, while the fine lines made with diamond saw blades lend expression and clarity to a design.
How to apply this miracle in site design
Applying modern technologies for the manufacture of concrete surfaces, manufacturers produce a material that is capable of creating the effect of not only natural stone, but also wood, brick, decorative tiles and other relief coatings.
In landscape design, decorative concrete is used in the arrangement of recreation areas, the design of garden paths and the construction of elements of the garden and park landscape
Such concrete is suitable not only for arranging sites and paths. It is used in the creation of fences and the manufacture of small architectural forms.
Decorative concrete fences can have any surface, from traditional brick and stone to imitation of Parthenon bas-reliefs.
Picturesque balusters, outwardly reminiscent of low columns, and graceful railings in beauty are not inferior to refined marble and alabaster figures
Concrete balusters look spectacular as fences for gazebos and verandas, supports for railings. An elegant decoration of the garden can be single columns entwined with climbing plants, concrete floor vases and flower girls. A stucco-decorated concrete fountain will be the center of attention.
Cast concrete garden benches are some of the most practical garden structures. Depending on the style of execution, they can easily be entered into the landscape design, making them an elegant addition to the site.
Such a garden bench made of decorative concrete combines beauty and practicality - it is always pleasant to sit on it and relax.
Varieties of finishing material
Depending on the variants of the constituent material and the effect it creates, there are three main types of decorative concrete.
The color range of coloring pigments used in the manufacture of decorative concrete has more than twenty shades.
Thanks to a wide palette of shades, colored concrete is able to successfully complement the architectural and plant composition of a suburban area, acting as a worthy decoration of the driveway, parking space and garden paths
To obtain colored concrete, manufacturers use special coloring pigments, which, thanks to a special hardener, are able to maintain color stability even under negative environmental influences. Most often, such pigments are oxides and salts of various metals. For example, chromium oxide is added to give concrete a greenish tint, iron oxide is reddish, and manganese oxide is purple.
Imitation of natural stone
By applying innovative diamond processing technologies, manufacturers can produce concrete that matches the natural materials laid out hundreds of years ago.
In the skilled hands of a master, concrete is able to take on the appearance of any natural material, be it paving stones, brick, slate, cobblestone and even marble
The imitation comes out so believable that even after careful examination it is not always possible to determine whether this is a natural stone or whether it is a skillfully made copy of it.
A decorative concrete with an expressive structure is created by introducing a coarse aggregate into the composition. The desired effect is achieved by exposing the grains, which appear on the surface after removing the top layer with tools or special solutions.
Such decorative concrete can turn an ordinary sidewalk into an old pavement, and a patio into an extravagant Spanish patio.
When creating concrete with a relief structure, aggregates from crushed marble, granite, anthracite, limestone and basalt are used. Spectacular surfaces are obtained with gray, red and pink fillers.
Self-made decorative concrete
Decorative concrete is ideal for arranging paths and decorating backyard areas. With excellent quality characteristics, it is particularly aesthetically pleasing. In addition, the concrete pavement is easy to clean and is resistant to both grease and oil. Platforms and alleys with such a coating do not need to install a curb, so you can save a little on construction.
Platforms and alleys with such a coating do not need to install a curb, so you can save a little on construction
If desired, decorative concrete can be made with your own hands. A dry mixture and a form for its preparation can be purchased at any hardware store.
The design option depends only on your preferences. On sale you can find plastic or silicone molds, including combinations of rhombuses and squares, fan patterns, exec, animal skin, basket weaving.
The technology for creating a relief surface includes several stages:
- Preparation of the base... When making a garden path in the marked area, a layer of soil 10 cm deep is removed, a formwork is placed and a layer of crushed stone is poured.
- Pouring concrete... A cement mortar is laid out on the leveled surface and smoothed.
- Application of color hardener... To give the surface of the desired shade, the solution is sprinkled with dry free-flowing dyes or treated with a colored hardener, which, in addition to coloring pigments, includes a filler made of granite or quartz sand.
- Pressing by forms... Forms are laid out on a seized, but not completely frozen surface, pressing them closely to each other. To get a clear imprint of the pattern, the laid forms are lightly tamped. You can determine the readiness to stamp the concrete mix by touching it with your finger. The mixture is ready if it does not reach for it.
- Cleaning the coating... Having withstood 2-3 days, the concrete surface is washed with a brush dipped in a solution with hydrochloric acid. After the top layer has completely dried, a protective composition is applied to prevent moisture evaporation from the surface of fresh concrete.
In places of probable fracture, expansion joints should be provided by making them at a distance of 6 meters from each other and filling the voids with a colorless sealant.
In order to extend the life of concrete and significantly improve the aesthetic properties of the material, it is advisable to treat the surface with a special impregnating compound that forms a protective film.
The decorative concrete path can be used in 10-15 days. Ideally, it is advisable to treat the concrete surface annually with water repellent solutions.
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Do-it-yourself carved wood fence: templates, how to make carving
Wooden fences are a classic type of fencing for a suburban area. A period came when they lost popularity, giving way to metal fences, distinguished by their great strength and durability. However, times have changed, and with them the fashion for wooden fences has returned. Now they perform their original functions (separation and protection of private territory) and decorate the site. If you intend to install a carved wood fence with your own hands, you need to find templates. There are many of them, so it is necessary to determine the option for each specific situation.
Advantages and disadvantages of carved fences
A carved fence has many advantages.
- Such a fence is universal, it can be placed next to any type of house, on a plot with any landscape.
- It is easy to care for such a fence, keeping it clean.
- The fence is easy to build on your own, without helpers - this is real creativity.
- The carved wooden structure is easy to assemble.
- Low cost of construction.
- Wood is an environmentally friendly material.
- You can create an individual design with paints and varnishes.
- Wood goes well with other elements, such as forged details.
There are fewer drawbacks to wooden fences.
- The service life is much shorter than that of metal counterparts, but this problem can be solved - with different stains, impregnations and antiseptics, which significantly extend the life of the wood.
- Compared to metal, wooden fences are not as strong.
Which wood to choose
To create carved fences, you should give preference to coniferous woods or plywood. The second is the most affordable option. It is multi-layered. No special tools are required for its processing - a hacksaw and a file with teeth will work well.
Hardwoods are ideal for giving a fencing a noble look. This valuable tree has a unique pattern:
- curved lines, interesting curves - walnut, ash
- small spots - oak, beech
- a pattern that looks like a bird's eye - maple, poplar.
The choice of materials directly depends on the design project that needs to be implemented.
Types of Carved Fence Techniques
If the owner of a country house has a desire to install a wooden hedge, he has two options - to do the work on his own or to turn to professionals. In the latter case, you just need to explain what you want, the craftsmen will do everything - from measurements and design to installation. When deciding to deal with fencing on your own, especially in the absence of relevant experience, it is better to choose simpler techniques. Among the techniques for decorating a carved fence, the following are distinguished.
- Geometric. The carving is based on a combination of the simplest geometric shapes - squares, circles, spirals, rhombuses and others. The described technique will take a lot of time, however, the execution of such figures with the help of special tools, sharpened knives will give in even to beginners.
- Contour. The contour of the conceived image is applied to the board, which is not cut through. To add volume, the convex parts can be painted with a lighter color. To apply volumetric patterns to a wood surface, a chisel is useful. The canvases processed in this technique can be fastened directly over the span with a solid fence already installed.
- Lace. Fences made in this technique are incredibly beautiful and resemble light lace. The work begins with creating a sketch on the board, then a hole is drilled that fits the file in size, after which the outlined pattern is cut along the contour lines.
For decorating a fence using the lace carving technique, raw materials from conifers are suitable. Such material is cheaper than solid wood, but the result is practically indistinguishable. For geometric or contour carving, it is better to buy hardwood products.
A picket fence or boards, which subsequently turn into a fence sheet, are usually processed according to the first two techniques. Lace threads are good for creating individual pieces that are attached to a fence.
Types of carved ornaments
Many people associate a carved wooden fence decorated with unusual ornaments with antiquity and folk traditions. Indeed, before, woodcarving was a real art, with the help of ornaments it was possible to tell a whole story. Special patterns were designed to protect the house from evil forces, to attract good luck and prosperity to it.
An ornament is a pattern that is characterized by a certain pattern in the arrangement of parts that are separate figurative elements.
Now there are different types of carved ornaments, some of them are somewhat simplified so that the details are better perceived visually. Here are the main ornamental varieties.
- Geometric. Most Popular. Despite the simplicity of the main details, their combination creates an unusual picture. The decorative element is dots, lines and other shapes.
- Vegetable. Different silhouettes of plants in whole or just leaves are cut out in the form of a border or strip to decorate the fence, or they can represent a separate composition depicting trees, flowers and any other plants. As a rule, they look quite realistic or are simplified for ease of perception.
- Zoomorphic. Repetition of images of animals, which can be real or mythical. For most peoples, animals symbolize something or even deify. In carving, only parts are often represented - wings, tails, heads. As a rule, such ornaments are combined with floral and geometric patterns.
- Image of a person. It can be realistic and sketchy.
- Complex. They carry not only aesthetic, but also a semantic load.
How to make a carved wood fence with your own hands
The process of making a wooden fence can be divided into two large steps.
- Frame preparation.
You can start by making a frame, so that you can then attach the decorated boards to the ready-made supports. Decorating can also be the first step. Each person determines the appropriate working order for himself.
How to properly thread
The most important stage in the manufacture of a fence is decoration. To work with wood, you will need tools such as a cutter, jigsaw, special knives, chisels.
The work proceeds as follows.
- Material preparation. The surface in areas of unevenness must be sanded. For a light material, one plane is enough, the dark one will have to be tinted beforehand. Shine is achieved with varnish.
- Drawing a picture. There are a lot of stencils and patterns on the Internet, if you wish, you can draw them yourself. The applied image must be clear. On light wood, it is advisable to substitute tracing paper in black or blue colors, on dark wood - in bright colors. Tracing paper is an optional attribute, the pattern can be drawn through a stencil using a regular pen or pencil. The main thing is to push harder. After transferring the drawing to the wood, carving begins immediately. For round pattern elements, a semicircular chisel or an oblique knife is suitable.
- Picture polishing and grinding. This step is optional.
When the work is over, the carved fence is mounted on the frame.
When threading, you must follow the safety rules.
The material to be processed should be securely fixed on a flat and hard surface or on a workbench. It is unacceptable to place the board on your lap. During work, the knife must be held in one hand, while guiding the blade with the other.
The manufacture of a frame for a carved fence is as follows.
- Installation of supports. First, you need to mark the territory - pegs are placed around the perimeter, a thread is pulled between them, at the same distance from which marks are made for future supports. At these points, a hole is dug with a depth of 50-70 cm. Before immersion in the ground, it is advisable to impregnate wooden posts with an antiseptic composition, and wrap them with roofing material from below to protect them from water.
- Installation of crossbars. For this, a bar is used, which is fixed on the posts in a horizontal position with self-tapping screws and brackets.
- Frame sheathing. Carved boards are attached to the finished frame.
Finishing the carved wooden railing
It is recommended to treat the finished fence with an antiseptic first to protect it from decay, and then cover it with paint. Paints are:
- covering - to add color
- glazing - emphasize the structure of the tree
- protective and decorative enamel
- stain or other impregnation
A carved fence can be decorated in different ways:
- picket fence - the most popular
- palisade - boards are located tightly to each other, pointed at the end
- fence made of uncut boards - with gaps
- wattle - the arrangement of the boards alternates - inside and outside
- checkerboard - picket option
- individual unusual design.
An antiseptic will not be able to permanently protect the fence from the effects of environmental factors. To ensure that the fence remains intact, it should be re-painted every 3-4 years. Coating with varnish will help preserve the beauty for a longer period.
Creating a carved fence is a fascinating process, the result of which will delight everyone. The most important thing is not to neglect safety precautions and follow the advice of the masters, then an ordinary fence can turn into a work of art.