Faux Rock Guidelines for Successful Projects
Making artificial, or faux rock is a viable alternative to shopping around (and probably spending a lot of money) to find just the right rocks or boulders for your landscape design.
Faux rock can be very believable if you take the time
to simulate what Mother Nature can do
If you’re up to it, go for it! Many people decide to make hypertufa faux rocks because they find real ones are quite expensive. Though this project isn’t too terribly challenging, be aware that this is not an easy 1-2-3 “you’re done!” type of procedure. It also requires some creativity on your part.
My suggestions to you are:
- Study what rocks/boulders “look” like, meaning the pitting, crevices, etc. naturally found. The challenge with this project is obviously trying to simulate Mother Nature’s work. Probably the biggest disappointment in faux rock making is that once completed, your rock really does look fake. Now you have what appears to be a great big weird blob sitting there!
- Get all your materials ready. Have more of the hypertufa recipe ingredients on hand than you anticipate needing. Allow yourself a workspace that can remain a “workspace” for awhile. Again, this project is not an overnight thing.
- If the rock is going to be large and too heavy and/or awkward to move … cast it in the spot where it will reside.
Follow These Faux Rock Directions
Start With A Sturdy Form, A Good Recipe and Some Patience!
1. Create your mold/form using styrofoam, wood, chicken wire, etc. An armature might have to be built for structural support on larger rocks or boulders. Reinforce smaller forms, if necessary, to prevent them from collapsing. For example, you can stuff a chicken wire form with wadded up plastic grocery store bags.
2. Refer to this article for a great recipe: Hypertufa Recipe for Long-lasting Faux Rock. Be sure to apply your mixture AT LEAST 3″ thick to the entire mold.
3. You may begin sculpting at this stage. Many folks use a point trowel for rock veins and a large, highly porous sea sponge for the overall texture.
4. Cure it properly or your rock won’t last! Refer to my article: Hypertufa Curing Guidelines
5. After the initial curing stage, you may want to further enhance your rock by rubbing it’s surface with a REAL rock that is very rough. Scrape and scrape; wash down your faux rock when done; and allow it to dry thoroughly.
6. Now you can apply a stain, painted finish, etc. to further enhance a realistic appearance. Refer to these guides for all you’ll need to know: Colorant & Stain Guides for Hypertufa & Concrete
7. Apply concrete sealer to protect the color and texture for years to come.