~~ A Flea Market Gardening ‘My Big Garden Project’~~
Becky Shaul Norris documented her patio project for us here at Flea Market Gardening one Spring. At each stage she updated her progress and posted more photos. Here on our website it’s easy to show her entire project in one post!
“The work has now begun,” Becky tells us. “I am going to make a patio in this corner of my garden. I will be making twelve cement pavers with stained glass embedded in them, and the remainder will be filled in with brick that my best friend gave to me. I only need to set 178 of those hundred year old bricks!”
How to build a poured stepping stone and brick patio
Becky posted pictures of the stages of this project.
“Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.” ~Author Unknown
“My husband does not like the fact that I have a gas powered cement mixer that he has to start it every time but at least I do the rest! But I can only last to mix two batches per day. I have 8 squares made and 4 more to go before I can start leveling the soil and applying the base sand. That will be the hard part for me. I am not good at getting things level!”
“This photo shows a row of four molds. My husband made four molds for me. He used 2 x 4 lumber to make the molds, but he ripped the boards down to the thickness of the bricks so that when I poured the pavers they would be even with the bricks that I was using. This made it much easier for me to have a level layer of sand to lay everything on, and I would not need to dig and get the layers even.”, Becky says.
She says, “Today I molded the first four of twelve cement pavers I will be using in the patio. I have made stained glass designs to put in each paver. These pavers will be unmolded first thing tomorrow. I will then put glass designs in the next molds and mix more cement. I figure it will take me three days just to mold the pavers, and then I have to prepare and level the ground before laying all the bricks. I have to be patient. I want to do it all in one day.”
“In the process of making the cement pavers, I used one sack (92 lbs) of cement per two pavers. I make the glass designs by cutting and fitting stained glass, and I also used plain glass such as from a photo frame, to paint in a reverse painting method on the glass. For the pieces I painted I used craft paint enamel which is baked in the oven for an hour. ”
Becky shows us, “These are part of the bricks that I will be using in my new patio. Can’t wait to get it in place because it will give me more places to put more plants. What can be better than more plants??? Chocolate maybe, but nothing else for me!!!! It will be a big job, but I am up to the work. I enjoy doing this stuff so much. Can hardly wait to get it done.”
Becky says, “The lily was made with clear glass that I reverse painted on the back with enamels which you bake in the oven. I am hoping this paint will last and the cement will not damage it. It will be in a shady place most of the time so I don’t think I have to worry about the paint fading. All hubby has to do is crank the cement mixer and then he goes to sit down. I unmolded them this evening. Had a few chips on the edges tonight. But I just used a chisel and scraped the edges. They really look like they are very old. Really cool looking. I still have more of the lily panels to mold and then I can get started on the brick work!
Becky says, “This is one of the pavers that I molded yesterday and removed front he mold this morning. I molded four more pavers today. They measure 16 inches by 16 inches. They are still wet and very heavy. This is not as easy as I thought it would be, but I am doing this with no instructions and making it up as I go along.”
Don’t you admire Becky’s do-it-yourself spirit? It’s very much the Flea Market Gardening way! There’s one sure way to complete a project that way you like and that’s to do it your own self. And Becky seems to know her limits. She portions out the work in the most efficient way while saving her back.
“I was not sure how the paint would do with the cement but it is working beautifully. NOTE: The painted side of the plain glass is the side which went against the cement. I laid out my design, right face up, and then covered it with a piece of contact paper. After the paper was applied I laid the paper with the glass in the mold face side up, with the glass towards me. (YOU CAN SEE THIS ON THE BLUE CONTACT PAPER)” Becky says.
“After the cement was mixed to proper consistency I just poured it into the mold and smoothed the top. I took the mold off after about 12 hours. At this time I removed the contact paper and I used a scrubbing sponge, the kind with the green pad on the yellow sponge, and removed any cement from the glass. I also took a file and smoothed the edges of the paver. I let the pavers dry for about two weeks before I laid the pavers and the antique bricks.”
“After I had all the bricks laid in the area I poured polymeric sand between all the pavers, swept the pavers clean, and made sure all cracks were filled. I then watered the sand and bricks according to manufacturer’s directions on the polymeric sand mixture.”
“We have put the bird feeder pole in place and the patio works great at catching the seeds, and it is also a focal point of the garden now. I love my new area and I can sit and meditate and just enjoy the flowers around me.”
We love your patio, too, Becky and appreciate all your hard work. Thanks for sharing your work of art with us! ~~ Sue
Here are two more photos of Becky’s whole garden and the decidedly uncommon path she also made from a common concrete mold: