Hypertufa Rocks????

kaka3June 16, 2007

I have never made the hypertufa but a friend of mine and I were discussing making some medium sized rocks to place around our flower beds. Tell me if this would work. Make a rock shape out of maybe chicken wire, stuff the chicken wire shape with newspaper and put the hypertufa on the chicken wire, (kind of like frosting a cake with your hands). Wouldn't matter if the newspaper stayed inside. Would this work and where can I find the recipe for hypertufa? Thank ya'all!

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rockhewer(z4 WI)

Lots of information here about that subject. Just do a search and the archives will point you at many threads about how and different recipes to do just what you want. Have fun.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 5:11AM
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About 17 topics back.."Why Square" is a nice planter. If you look at the thread, it is basically a 'rock or boulder' upside down. Nice tutorial on how it was made.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 6:12AM
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I make rocks from hypertufa by just plopping a half shovel full into plastic shopping bags, twist them closed and lay them on the ground on top of the twist to keep them closed. Two days later I unwrap them, and out they go to my bed edge.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 11:31AM
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Neat idea! And they look natural!! I love them!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 5:46PM
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I use them to edge new "lasagna" beds. Here I expanded a 2' wide border, and used "the rocks" to edge it. I like the fact that they look natural, are super light to use/move, and are nicer looking than plastic garden edging.

This is what the bed looked like after it filled in a bit.

And this is the glory of August.

You can just catch my 'tufa head on the ground beside my birdbath. I was quite proud that I sculpted the face with sloppy tufa upside down over a bowl! The birdbath is piped with a garden hose dug into the turf, and a 4-way manifold attached to the tap, so I can sprinkle, fill the birdbath, or load a watering can.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 10:46PM
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Wendy, the plastic bag idea is ingenious!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 4:56PM
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Are you just using the thin plastic bags that all the stores use now... or the thicker department store bags? Do you need to spray the inside w/ PAM so the plastic doesn't get stuck in the creases... or doesn't that happen?
I'm very excited about the possibilities of creating my own "rocks"!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 2:56PM
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I just used regular grocery-type plastic bags. No Pam. Sometimes there's a bit of plastic that gets stuck in the crease, but I just tear it off. If it won't all come out, that's the "down" side of the rock.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:21PM
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Thank you for the quick reply! Your method is what I figured, but just wanted to be sure before I began.
I think this is going to be a fun project!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 5:03PM
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I used your idea of the plastic bags and made my own rocks. Thank you very much for this great idea. You can make them whenever you want to and don't have to go and load your truck with rocks, pay for them and then unload them. A lot of work. I have been saving those bags for some reason and now i know why. LOL My Dh says what are you going to do with all these bags and I say oh something will come up I can use them for. Plus when I made these rocks DH says I am not saying a thing but after I had them all layed etc.. he said they look really nice.
Thank you again
Dana AKA cand123

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 9:42AM
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Cand& Wendy2shoes, what "recipe" did/do you use? Your rocks are so nice & white/light. All my tufa projects come out more brown/beige/gray.

Love both of your gardens! My DH has learned to not question why I save odd items as he knows that I don't always have a project in mind at the moment... but give me enough time & I'm sure to come up w/ one!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 4:02PM
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I use 1 part each sand, perlite or vermiculite, peat, and cement, then water mixed in to 'cottage cheese' consistency. Mine start out brown, I guess because of the peat, but then they whiten up in a month or so. As the peat rots, I get nice holes and green moss on them, to add to the natural look.
When they first come out of the bags though, they look like "dinosaur poop" to quote my DH.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 9:43PM
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I used the same mixture as wendy2shoes. If you don't have the other ingredients, perlite, vermiculite or peat you can also use mortor mix with sand but they will be heavier. However these won't be called hypertufa rocks. Hope that helps. Thank you again wendy2shoes for this great idea :)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 10:44AM
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Hey Dana. Yours fit together so well..did you put them around your bed while they were still wet in the bags so they would "form" to each other?
They look 'sculpted' to fit! Really nice job!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 1:07PM
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Thank you for the compliment. Yes I put them around the beds while wet in the bags close to each other so they would fit tight. I always mulch my beds with wood chips and seems after each winter the mulch disappears by going in the grass. I wanted something to hold the mulch in. I think this will work. Thank you again for this great idea. I have so many places I want to make these rocks for. Next area is around my pond.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 2:19PM
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Vikki1747(z8 VA)

I really want to try making these rocks to line my flower beds. Was just wondering how tuff they are...do they stand up well to weed wacking and an occasional "bump" by the riding lawnmower :-)? Vikki

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 7:47PM
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The older they are..the tougher they are. I weed whack around mine all the time. The beauty of them is you can easily shove them around with your toe to trim in between if need be, then just roll them back into place.
I have a self-propelled mower, and the wheels may move them a bit..I just kick them back into place as I walk by.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 10:15PM
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This is pure genius!! I have to ask though, do you get perlite and vermiculite in the section where quickrete et al are sold? I have done many leaf castings via the formula and instructions found on this site. Going good so far. Anyway, I have been percolating the idea of the rocks for a few weeks. Not sure how to size them, get them to fit together etc. But this solves all my issues. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 10:45PM
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I usually have to got to a nursery for the perlite or vermiculite. Home Depot for the rest of the stuff.
At least the perlite is light to carry!
(I could tell you a few stories about trying to load sand & portland!)


    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 9:50AM
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Thanks Wendy! I had to call several places this morning and finally found an organic farm/gardening supply center that had it. Great price too, 'cause the online prices seemed a little steep especially if you add shipping.

I think I may have found an inexpensive and back saving answer. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and expertise. I can't wait to try a few. I am definitely going to use this idea on my flower beds!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 11:13AM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

Wendy, do you use the peat that comes in the big square bale sized plastic bags?

Your garden is just beautiful!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 11:29PM
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webgator(9 FL)

My local Home Depot sells big bags of Perlite in the garden section, usually around where they have the potting sols and pots. Same with the peat moss, and yes they are usually square bails.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 8:21AM
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Wow, what a wonderful idea! I might have to try that! And you have a beautiful garden!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 9:56AM
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I usually buy everything in the largest quantity I can find. I have tupperware totes in my shed, and I keep the portland, sand, peat, and perlite in them. I've seen what happens when a bag of portland gets wet! (Now there's an instant rock, but kinda crumbly and ugly).
I use an old dishpan for measuring the 'parts', and mix everything in my wheelbarrow.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 11:56AM
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Bumping this up for any newbies looking for garden edging ideas. (I just made about 50 more for the new lasagna beds I cut in this spring!)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:02PM
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wannadanc(z8 WA)

I love the plastic bag technique and will give it a try.

The original question here reminded me of an effort I made 5 years ago - if one is wanting a boulder or two......

I had to laugh as I looked again at my own notes - something about lizards in the future - lizards??? What was I thinking?? Boulder has held up just fine for 5 years, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to make a wheelbarrow sized boulder

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:53PM
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Great idea! and look so nice around your beautiful gardens!
I might have to make a few just for a try out-we have so many nice limestone rocks a round here that I use otherwise I'd definitely make these!! Great Job!... like your name also-Wendy

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 8:00AM
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I am so excited about these...I can hardly contain myself...LOL
Thanks Wendy and Cand for the pictures and instructions on your mix. I have never done this before, but willing to try my hand at it.

We recently removed a large portion of lawn to turn into a rock garden with container plants. Getting old and tired of weeding flower beds. Years ago, I purchased a flower pot that looks like a rock. I have searched high and low and haven't been able to locate any like what I had. I am hoping to make my own thanks to your great advise and pictures!!!

Now the ?.....to make the opening in the rock, would I just insert a can....crumpled newspaper....or even a good quality balloon - blown up to the desired size? Most of my flowers will be in larger containers (whisky barrels...etc), but I want to add additional flowers and color throughout.....the reason for the rock planters.

I love your bag idea for shaping the rocks. What a GREAT idea!!!!

Thanks so much for any or all suggestions you might have to make this as successful for me as it has been for you!!!!

Enjoy your day!!!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:17PM
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Boy, this was the perfect posts for me. While it is still winter out, I am trying to think of some new ideas for my yard. And I was thinking, hypertufa!
Never tried it before, but am handy....so am lining up some projects to start with and these rocks look like just the item!!!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 10:20AM
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I've made about 12 stones this past week...my first project and having great fun. Thanks so much for the great pictures...I'm using plastic bags for forms. Sharon

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 10:09PM
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I've not done any hypertufa but I've been researching it for over a week. I am SO happy to have found this post.

I plan on heading to the lumberyard tomorrow as the rocks will be my first project.

I have some ideas for others, but want to get a feel for it first.

Thanks again - they all look so great

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:41PM
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I've made a few hypertufa rocks with left-over mix by sticking it in plastic bags, but they don't look real authentic, i.e. natural rock-like. They're okay, but I wonder if I'm missing something???? What do you do after you put the mix in the bag? Do you shape it with your hands? Maybe I'm over-working it. Not sure.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 8:50PM
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Love the idea of these rocks...just joined today to get some ideas on how to make a rock border from hypertufa...funny, I can't seem to see any pics on here though, am I doing something wrong?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 11:27AM
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if you could send me your email, i will send you some pics i posted on here.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 10:55PM
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Im inspired to make these to edge my beds now, they look so awesome. Can anyone tell me how much you paid for a batch of ingredients and how far did it go to make your rocks?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 8:15PM
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textilejo(5b Nova Scotia)

I finally got around to making these rocks!

Mine look like the dinosaur poop:-) right now and I hope they whiten up!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 7:03PM
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Very cool idea! I might have to try this out sometime.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 11:29AM
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Bumping this up for anyone looking to use 'tufa as a garden edge.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:05PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Wendy, check your emails; there's one from me. I have another question about the ingredients you mentioned that you call "Your rock recipe" What kind of sand do you use? Can it be purchased in bags at Home Depot or Lowe's? Is it builder's sand or white play sand? Portland cement that comes in the bags? I have perlite and vermitculite here at the house. Do you have a tutitorial how you make these on YouTube? Or on a Flicker slideshow? I'd really like to try to make some of these for my sunroom bed during the winter. How long do you figure it takes to make a rock and for it to set up?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 4:11AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Okay, another question that just came to my mind. When you put all the ingredients in the plastic bag, do you shape it at all with your hands so it takes the shape of a rock? Has anybody ever tried making like brick-shaped rocks, maybe using these disposable loaf pans?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 3:51PM
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ladycraft(6b MO)

I'm not Wendy but It's just as simple as she says! In answer to your question about sand. I use play sand from one of the stores mentioned. I sift it for for turfa. Some people use white sand but more for speciality things probably because of the cost. I'll share what I do. I use plain quickcrete and mix it with water like it comes out of the bag in the wheelbarrow. It is alot less work. I put a shovel full in a bag tie the top, flip it so the top is underneath and bunch or shape it. Don't put the markings on the bag to the inside because they will mark the concrete. Or you may have Wal Mart on your rocks. Try not to get the bags in the concrete because it makes it harder to get them off. I usually put them so they are touching each other so they look like they belong together. And I just put them where I want them in the yard. I have stacked them 2 high also. I just leave them on until I get back out to take the bags off. There isn't any set time as long as they are solid. After they have been out in the yard they take on their own charactor. Not sure if I'm reading the last question right but you mix the turfa in a container, wheelbarrow or bucket. Yes you can put in in other things too. Just be sure to use a release or somthing you want to destroy getting the bricks out. The options are only as limited as you make them. Just ggo for it and have fun! Kathy

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 7:03PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

If I'm understanding your response, you are not adding any perlite, peat moss or vermitculite with the Quickcrete? What about sand? How much of each ingredient do you put into the mixture? I don't understand something about a release..are you meaning something like PAM? Before you turn the bags upside down, do you have to work the mix to get the shape you want?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 8:50PM
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ladycraft(6b MO)

When I use Quickcrete I do not add anything else. Sand is already in the quickcrete. Not sure about the question of mixing in the bag. Mix before you put in the bag and I plop it on the ground and kind of shape it. I make mine kind of wet so I can't shape alot. They take on the shape of the bag. If it is dryer you can shape it with your hands after putting in the bag. If you use disaposal pans you will probably only get to use them once because the sides aren't smooth and all the little crevices will fill with quickcrete or turfa whichever you decide to use. But if you are using something like a bowl you would have to use something to help get it out. Yes Pam works. You can also use a number of other things. I've used veg oil spread with a paint brush. Vasaline works. Alot of times I use a plastic shoppng bag and you could line your disaposal pans with one for easier removal. If I'm making turfa most of the time I use equal amounts of sand, portland, peat and perlite/verc. There are alot of recipes. It just depends on what I'm making. Hope this helps some. Kathy

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 12:53AM
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coastal_concepts(Toronto CA)

Hi Guys and Gals - Great thread,

My name is Steve and I am somewhat known around these forms for being a professional artificial rock builder (and pool & spa)

I do not build hypertuffa muself as the lower strength is not really suitable for my contracting purposes though I have spent much time helping you tuffa kids developing concrete recipies for it.

I just wanted to chime in and ask if any of you have tried painting your tuffa rocks? The painting process that we use, as detailed in the artificial rock tutorial that I produced, can take plain looking concrete and make it look 100% like real stone. For a lot of the tuffa rocks I have seen, like the ones in this thread, they look good but could look AMAZING with a layered paint job.

Take a look at some of fake rock paint jobs I am talking about at the link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Fake Rocks

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 3:41AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I am very interested in making these rocks! I have several garden beds that I want to raise.

Has anyone built these up several rows high? I want to have my beds be at least a foot tall.
Should I just make the rocks 1 row at a time, 1 row a day, or could I make them all in one day?

I would like them all to kind of form to each other like a puzzle, so I don't have to worry about gaps and soil escaping, lol.

Is this time of year O.K. to start something like this? will they cure O.K. with our colder temps?

I've looked around here a bit, but so far my only experience with Hypertufa is 3 little 3" pots. :-)


    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:08AM
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