How to Make Artificial Rocks for Landscaping

Overview

Although rock and stone is a popular medium for landscaping, it can be expensive and labor-intensive. One inexpensive alternative that may make you feel like a kid again is a homemade rock constructed of sand, cement and peat moss. This type of artificial rock, known as hypertufa, resembles tufa stone that is popular in alpine gardens. Hypertufa is a good way to make stone for stacking in landscape projects and can be layered over a wire-form base to make stone-finish covers for utility meters.

Step 1

Pull on protective clothing, heavy gloves and breathing protection. Cement is caustic and can irritate your skin or lungs if breathed.

Step 2

Combine two parts peat moss, one part sand and one part cement in a 5-gallon bucket. Mix until thoroughly combined and all lumps are removed.

Step 3

Gradually add water to the mix until the hypertufa mixture is the consistency of cake batter.

Step 4

Lay a plastic dry cleaning bag onto a flat surface.

Step 5

Scoop a handful of hypertufa from your bucket and place it onto the dry cleaning bag. Shape it to resemble a rock. Wrap the dry cleaning bag around the rock and leave it to cure. Unwrap the rock several times daily and spray with a mist of water from a spray bottle.

Step 6

Remove your rock from the bag after two weeks. Brush with a wire brush to create a rough textured surface.

Step 7

Leave the rock to cure for another two weeks. Then spray daily with water and allow the rock to leech minerals away for another week.

Step 8

Mix one part vinegar to four parts water in your bucket. Immerse your rock in this solution for a half hour to neutralize the alkaline structure. This is especially important if you are placing your rock in a garden, where it could leach alkaline water and harm plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Rinse your bucket immediately after use to prevent hypertufa from hardening on the surface. Once the concrete mixture hardens, it must be chipped away.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Breathing protection
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Cement
  • Water
  • Dry cleaning bag
  • Spray bottle
  • Vinegar

References

  • Washington State University Extension: Hypertufa Pots and Troughs
  • Oregon State University Extension: How to Make Hypertufa for Garden Containers and Accents
  • Washington State University Extension: Hypertufa

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University Extension: Make Landscape Containers That Look Like Stone With Hypertufa
Keywords: hypertufa rocks, homemade artificial rocks, cement rocks

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."