How Can I Make Tall, Large Rocks With Hypertufa?

A Garden Art Enthusiast Wants To Build
A Mini-Stonehenge In Her Backyard

I received an email from Wendy who asked:

We want to make a small version of Stonehenge in our back yard rockery and cannot lift the large stones we would want.

Hypertufa is a perfect alternative, suggested by a friend. Any hints or tips would be appreciated. I’ve bookmarked your site and will return to it when I can digest all that is there. Thanks so much!

My reply:
Hi Wendy:
Thank you for contacting me and hypertufa would certainly be a great mixture to use for making large boulders and rocks!

StonehengeI think just about everything you will need to know as far as recipes, proper mixing and curing, etc. can be found in all the hypertufa pages on my website. To easily see all of them listed in one place, you can go to the Site Map on my website, and scroll down until you find “Hypertufa How-Tos Overview”.

I encourage you to read through each page to gain a full understanding of everything, and to think about which recipe you want to use; do you want to add colorants, etc.

In order to accomplish tall, vertical boulders such as those found in Stonehenge, you are going to have to construct forms on which you’ll smear the hypertufa. To get really large rocks and such, you can’t make huge solid blobs of ‘tufa! Plus they’d weigh a lot, which is why you aren’t using real stones in the first place!

One possible way to make the forms could be accomplished by using wood and chicken wire stuffed with plastic (to help the chicken wire hold it’s shape). Since I have no idea how tall you want your version of Stonehenge to be you might have to make forms that are much sturdier than what wood and shicken wire can offer. Now you are moving into the realm of making armatures, which is a whole other ballgame!

No matter what type of frame or armature you end up making, think about the fact that the frames will become one forever with the ‘tufa. So you might be making a LOT of frames for this project, too!

This “Stonehenge” hypertufa rock project will require some artistic creativity and ability on your part, of course. I will make a shameless plug on my behalf: in my Hypertufa eBook, I do discuss form making in more depth than on my website, and I have some photos of how to make a form as I’ve just mentioned. If you are interested, you can find out more about my eBook, how to purchase it, and such here: www.HypertufaBooks.com.

I believe that if you do all your reading “homework” before you dive into this project, you’ll be good to go.

I would also highly suggest you experiment on a smaller object first, to get the hang of getting the recipe ratios correct, etc. Some people are successful from the get-go, and other folks have a couple of disasters before they get it down right. You be the judge of how to proceed.  🙂

Good luck with this large-scale hypertufa rocks project!

~~~

Wendy emailed back and said:

Hi Claudia,

Thanks so much for the notes. My husband is very good at learning everything he can about something before he jumps in and I’ll be the #1 assistant, so we’ll be fine.

I do appreciate your suggestion of trying a small something first. We have a book filled with pictures of stone circles and other rock gatherings in Celtic Britain. I’ve been looking through it and I have to say that Stonehenge is my favorite, but that’s a LOT of work. We may adapt it to the space available.

I can just hear family and friends now, when they view it for the first time. 😯

We’ll first check your website and go from there. I appreciate your link to the eBook.

Thanks again for everything!

Best regards,
Wendy

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