July 17, 2010

Garden Inspiration: Pebble Mosaic


Many times I have admired the patterns and textures of pebble mosaics. Creating one for my garden has often crossed my mind. I even have the perfect location. How difficult can it be?

The photo was taken at the Picasso Museum in Antibes, France. Within the geometric design, wavy ripples of smooth rocks and pebbles give the design a sense of movement, just like the waves of the sea, beyond the ramparts wall. I'm sure skilled professionals created this particular patio for the Chateau Grimaldi, but artistic gardeners can construct pebble mosaics at home.

In search of instructions, I found that there are many how-to resources available that include step-by-step instructions, photos and even videos on the topic.

First of all, there are plenty of books listed at Amazon for pebble mosaics. Some of the books go into the history of pebble mosaics while others focus primarily on the instruction for DIY projects.

Pebble Mosaic Pots from Cultivating Life with Sean Conway, uses outdoor vinyl caulk for applying stones to the outside of terra cotta flower pots. I see this as a great way to test designs and patterns before working on prominent and permanent areas in the garden. A video accompanies the instructions. The pots in the demonstration are decorated with stones, but it is reminiscent of a project from my childhood. My grandmother gathered up a lot of her costume jewelry and allowed her grandchildren to press the the pieces onto an urn using this same technique.

Create a Pebble Mosaic, an article from Fine Gardening, provides examples of intricate "Persian carpet" designs and other inspirations for a garden. A stepping stone is the simplest example and may be a good first project. The author, Jeffrey Bale, shows how to create a section of garden path in detail with accompanying photos. He begins in much the same way as creating any path or patio, by digging out the ground and applying a base. Bale recommends using mortar instead of concrete since there is already gravel in the latter, making it difficult to use for insetting the pebbles.

How to Make a Pebble Mosaic  by This Old House uses a spiral-pattern mosaic inset within a flagstone walk for their example. This is what I want to try on my flagstone garden path to break up the linear throughway and create a "stopping point" to encourage visitors to pause. I originally planned to put an object, such as my sundial, in the middle of the path and then create a circle of flagstone around it.  In doing so, the sundial would get in the way of my wheelbarrow. A mosaic on the path will not be a hinderance.

I may start my venture into pebble mosaics by using a round concrete stepping stone as a level base.  Square concrete stepping stones for a base would break a project down into manageable sizes, that when put together, could be used for a patio or path. Concrete benches and garden walls can also be decorated with pebble mosaics.

Are you inspired to create a pebble mosaic, too?


Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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