DIY Landscape Rocks
As an experiment I decided to use some scrap pieces of wood, chicken wire, burlap, fine concrete mix and some acrylic paint to make a boulder. Of course a real boulder of this size would be so heavy that it could not have been moved around without some pretty major equipment.
I used an old piece of plywood to build the frame on. It’s not part of the finished boulder but made it easier to set up the frame. The frame was built with angles and skewed to give it a more natural look. Once I was happy with the overall shape I put chicken wire over the frame.
The next stage is to mix a runny slurry of portland, sand and fine gravel. I used an old plastic milk carton as a strainer to get out any stones that were too large. I mixed 1 part portland, 2 parts sand, 1 part gravel. You will be saturating the burlap with the mixture and then layering it over the chicken wire & wood frame. Make sure to wet the burlap beforehand or it will be difficult to keep the mixture wet as the burlap with absorb too much moisture. You can also use cardboard to create more levels and depth in the boulder.
After you have covered the entire piece you will mix more of the slurry to build up the concrete and continue to shape the rock. I didn’t worry too much about the bottom as I was going to bury it several inches in the ground.
Once you are happy with the finish you are left with a concrete coloured boulder. I used a variety of watered down paints with a spray bottle to build up the colour. I used greens, red, blues, white, and other acrylic paint that I had watered down. The concrete absorbs a lot of paint.
It is difficult to figure out exactly what colour you will end up with as you cannot let the concrete dry out and must let it cure properly for at least a month. I kept it covered in plastic for about a week and kept it moist. After a week I hosed it down a couple times daily.
After a month you could let it dry out and then add more watered down paint to improve or change the colour.
Overall I would say I was pleased with the results for the first attempt. My neighbour was convinced it was real and asked his wife how we moved the thing into place.
It ended up weighing about 1oo lbs. We put it in place with a hand cart without too much trouble. When I say we of course I mean my husband.