How to Make Hypertufa Projects
For the creative person, a garden is more than just a place filled with beautiful plants - it is also, in a very real way, a work of art, where the plants and flowers are carefully placed to create and ever-changing and yet ever-present harmony of colour and texture.
A three dimensional harmony where the larger plants form a backdrop to the smaller ones, and even flowering times are carefully considered and made part of the overall pattern.
To a person of intellect and creative instinct, a garden is like a vast, living painting, far more complex and difficult to perfect than one done on canvas.
In such an environment, even the rocks become parts of the overall picture, and sometimes an artistic person might want to go that little step further and create various garden decorations with their own hands.
If you're interested in this, then perhaps you would like to consider working in Hypertufa planters.
This is a sort of artificial rock that looks rather like 'Tufa', a rare volcanic porous rock. The advantage of Hypertufa is that it can be moulded as a cement-like mixture, even shaped in a mold.
And you can make anything in your Hypertufa projects that your imagination can think up - some of these are more obvious, like pots and stepping stones and troughs, simple statues and artificial rocks.
But there is a lot more than you can do - you can make magical giant mushrooms and Chinese rock lanterns, you can create water fountains and waterfalls.
You can even create sculptures of giant mythical plants that you can then paint carefully so that they look absolutely real. In other words, you can turn your garden into a fairy wonderland.
But will these objects really survive being left at the mercy of the elements, summer and winter? Oh yes, Hypertufa is extremely durable and surprisingly light in weight.
It is slightly flexible and will not crack due to the natural expansion and contraction brought about by heat and cold. Besides all this, it is porous and retains water - always a plus point if you intend using it as a trough or a pot.
Now the key to creating anything in this interesting medium is the recipe you use when creating the basic mix. There are two things to consider while preparing the mix - durability and weight.
If you want to create a hanging pot or ornament, you need to skew the mix in favour of light weight - on the other hand, if what you're making is a stepping stone, then durability is paramount.
As with any other skill, getting a 'feel' for things is important. So start with small objects - experiment with different kinds so that you begin to understand how using different proportions for the materials of the mixture will work.
Once you develop an instinct for this, you can go on to bolder and more innovative projects and really unleash your creativity and originality.
The basic recipe of Hypertufa Projects is one part cement, one and a half parts peat moss and one part sand and a little less than one part water. Ideally you should be able to make a ball with your gloved hands with no water running out.
However there is plenty leeway, just not soupy. You'll need a mold to put the mixture on or in. The concrete will adhere to most anything, so putting plastic over the mold first will serve you well. Always wear a heavy pair of rubber gloves as the cement will dry your hands out and make them rough.
You have all the dry material ready to mix, I use a wheelbarrow. Use a hoe or shovel to mix it all together, then add about half the water in the centre, make a hole first and start mixing, adding water to the desired consistency.
You can use a trowel or your gloved hands to pack the mixture about one and a half to two inches thick. Make a couple drain holes while the mixture is still wet.
Here's the hard part, you need to let the vessel cure for a least three or four days maybe longer if was very wet or large. I've included some photographs of some I made. Good luck.
To add colour - either add colour into the mix, for more durable colouring under weathering, or else paint the finished sculpture later. Remember that for artificial rocks you can roughen the surface a bit after the mix dries to give it a more natural look.
And that's all that you need to know - now go ahead and bring a touch of magic to your garden.
This is only the basic knowledge on how to make hypertufa but if you want to go further than this, I'd suggest reading the manual book. How To Make Garden Art Objects From Hypertufa
Shade gardening using containers is a fun way to garden especially if you make your own hypertufa pots.
It has a rustic look to it. You can shape it any way you like and any size you like. If you build something really big you may not be able to move it and you'll have to build it where you want it.
There are different recipes depending on how strong the pot or vessel needs to be. A stepping stone for example would need to be stronger than a pot.