DIY Stepping Stones and Border

 

decorative border

Last week, while visiting a garden, I noticed that the front yard was enclosed by a decorative border made up of individual,beautifully decorated blocks.

decorative border

Instead of paying attention to the plants in the garden, I found myself walking around the perimeter of the garden and admiring each unique block – no two were the same.

decorative border

It seemed that everywhere I turned, there was another uniquely decorated block.

decorative step stone

I finally tore myself away from admiring the border, but as I approached the front door, there was another beautiful creation that I was greeted by – a lovely star-shaped step-stone.

I spent most of my visit consulting with the homeowner about the plants and trees in their landscape, but at the end, I told him how much I loved the border and step-stones.  It was then that he told me that his wife creates them and he offered to introduce me to her.

workspace

He showed me her workshop, where she created the borders and step stones.  He told me that each block starts out with a plastic food storage container.

broken plates

It was at this point that his wife came and I asked her if she wouldn’t mind telling me how she created her borders.  I could see on her table broken pieces of plates and glass beads, a can of cooking spray, plastic food containers and a big bag of cement.

glass beads

She said that making the stones for the borders and steps was quite easy and fun to do.

cement

She was kind enough to share with me how she made them so I could share it with you.

Supplies: Portland Cement, plastic food containers in your desired size for the block (brick), bucket, trowel, cooking spray and broken pieces of plates, glass beads, ceramic pieces in which to decorate the top.

1. Put the dry cement mixture in a bucket and add just enough water so that when you mix it, it reaches the consistency of brownie batter.

2. Spray your plastic food container with non-stick cooking spray (this will help the block to pop out once it has dried).

3. Pour enough cement into the plastic container until you reach the top and level off with the trowel.

4. Now for the fun part – create pictures or designs using pieces of ceramic, broken plates or cups and glass beads.  **The creator of these beautiful blocks visits the local dollar stores and buys plates just for this purpose.

5. Let the block dry for 48 hours.

6. Pop out and place in your landscape!

concrete form

To create step stones or garden signs, purchase special plastic forms from your local craft store and use them instead, following the same steps above.

decorative step stone

I came away so inspired that I am thinking that these would make great gifts for the gardeners in my life (Christmas is NOT too far away).

- You could make a welcome sign for someone’s entry or how about a stone with their last name spelled out in broken pieces of ceramic?

- What if you made a sign or place step-stones near your bird feeder?

- How about making plant marker using the blocks with the plant it is identifying, created onto the block?  I can just imagine making a block with a picture of a carrot made from broken pieces of a orange plate.

Okay, so I am on my way to the store to get my supplies – I already have the bucket, cooking spray and plastic food containers.
How about you?  What would you like to make using this technique?  I’d love more ideas.

  1. Janet says

    These are beautiful. I have the spray and containers and a Dollar Store :D I don’t know where this garden is located. Would you be able to put in the ground and leave them in Michigan? How will they hold up and stay in place. I love this idea and could try a few to see.

  2. Kathrine says

    You should clarify the Portland Cement. You need a premix of cement, sand and lime, not pure Portland cement.
    I’ve made lots of these. Great for making with grandkids and they last forever. I made them 12″ by 12″ and use them after the grandkids decorated them as steps around the pond.

  3. Patty says

    Love this art project made into borders and stepping stones, can’t wait to try almost didn’t click on to it, want to make a memorial garden in honor of my father who was a big gardener in his younger days when he was able to do it. Have already brought home some flowers from his garden but don’t know if they will make it but already planted several things back in the spring in his honor and have other plants throughout the yard and some trees that came off of his. Would love to know where this beautiful place is.

  4. Penny says

    Just a note of caution–be sure to wear gloves when working with cement as it can be very caustic to your skin. Follow the instructions on the bag very carefully.

  5. says

    Wow! Those are gorgeous! I have never seen such beatuful garden stepping stones. I have never really thought a variety of different colorful stone designs will look good. I really love this project. I have always wanted to make stepping stones but never really find the time to make one. I guess it’s finally time. Thanks for the inspiration.

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