How to make a Simple Pebble Mosaic

The finished pebble mosaic
The finished pebble mosaic

Design and make a mosaic for your garden

A pebble mosaic is a lovely addition to any garden, whether it serves as a focal point, a border for a path or a surround for another feature such as a bird bath or pond, or to break up a large area of paving. It can add a unique and personal touch of magic to an otherwise undistinguished plot. Although I am by no means an expert, I made this simple circular design quite easily over a couple of days. It is not difficult to source suitable materials locally and online and plenty of advice is available too. This mosaic is located in an urban courtyard garden in South Wales:

I took inspiration from a great book by Maggie Howarth who knows a thing or two about the subject!

Our garden in June 2012 - photograph by HelenLush
Our garden in June 2012 - photograph by HelenLush


Having chosen your spot, sketch a few ideas and think what materials could be used to achieve the desired effect. You may already have materials you want to incorporate into the design – leftover quarry tiles perhaps or roof slates. Varying the size and colour of the material will make it more interesting. It could be an abstract pattern or a favourite motif. A scaled sketch will be very useful as you can draw in the larger stones to scale and calculate how many you will need. The simplest designs can be the most effective – the interest comes from the textures and colours of the pebbles.

Pelargoniums and Heuchera brighten a corner of the garden.  Photograph by Helen Lush
Pelargoniums and Heuchera brighten a corner of the garden. Photograph by Helen Lush


This mosaic is located in an area of paving which doesn't get any heavy traffic and has been constructed accordingly. If you want to build your mosaic in a driveway you will need a more robust construction.

Some sketches of early ideas
Some sketches of early ideas


  • 50-60 large white cobbles (approx. 8cms)
  • Shards of dark slate for perimeter
  • small white stones
  • small golden stones
  • Large black skimmers for sun rays
  • Sharp Sand
  • Building Sand
  • Cement
  • 1 metre diameter steel hoop (or other edging)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Straight piece of wood for tamping down pebbles
  • Spirit level
  • Old brush
  • Hard core/ scrap brick and stone pieces

The garden in May. Photograph by author
The garden in May. Photograph by author
Metal hoop ready to begin adding materials
Metal hoop ready to begin adding materials


First of all you need to choose a suitable place for the mosaic – you will need enough depth to accommodate the pebbles and 10 to 15 cm hardcore or course stone. Once you have chosen the site, dig it out to the subsoil level. Your pebbles will need a solid edge to lean against – this could be slabs, stone, bricks or concrete. Use a spirit level to make sure all is straight. I went for a 20 cm deep steel hoop because I knew someone who could make me one and it was a neat solution. Once the edging is in place, put in around 10 cm of the hardcore and ram it down to form a compact base, filling any gaps with sand. Then add a dry mix of 4 parts sand to one part cement on top of this leaving enough room for the largest stones. You can use just sand for this layer - it will be less robust but will allow better drainage. Wear your gloves when working with cement as it burns the skin, and make sure the area has a waterproof covering if you leave it.

The largest stones are laid first
The largest stones are laid first

Placing the Stones

Plot out your design and lay out the biggest or deepest stones first – in this case the white cobbles, the slate shards around the edge and the black skimmer stones. Use an old plate to mark the central circle.

Two important points to ensure that you create a solid and successful mosaic:

  • Most of each stone needs to be beneath the surface with just the top edge showing.

  • It is important to have firm contact between the stones as they serve to support each other.

Once the largest stones have been placed raise the level around them with more dry sand/cement mix to the right height to bed the smaller stones in. Make sure the stones are arranged tightly together, tamped down and use the spirit level.

Photograph by Helen Lush
Photograph by Helen Lush

Finishing off

Once all the stones are laid and you are happy with the results, make a dry mixture of 3 parts fine sand to 1 part cement. Add this to the mosaic, making sure it is all well brushed in to all the gaps. You then need to soak it with water and leave it, covered, for three weeks.

Photograph by Helen Lush
Photograph by Helen Lush

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Comments 34 comments

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Lovely. Another project to put on my list. Mosaic art is just so appealing to the eye. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Sending Angels your way this evening. :) ps

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK Author

Thank you very much, PS I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm new to HubPages and you are my first commenter so it's great to have some feedback!

:) HL

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 3 years ago from Malaysia

Congrats on your HOTD award. Being new to HP and winning this award is a great achievement!

Nice work and beautiful garden you have there.

My neighbor did something similar but designed and constructed as a foot reflexology footpath.

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 3 years ago from Chennai, India

Welcome to HubPages! Congrats on winning the Hub of the Day award! This is a well-written and detailed hub with helpful tips and engaging photos! Way to go!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & pinned

SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 3 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

Such a lovely mosaic. And you encourage me to see that such a significant garden project can be done do-it-yourself! Thanks. Voted up and beautiful and useful.

Congrats on Hub of the Day.

missolive profile image

missolive 3 years ago from Texas

Welcome to HubPages and Congratulations on your Hub of the Day.

This is a lovely project and you have inspired me to keep working on the paths I'm creating in my garden. Thank you for sharing your idea and experience.

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States

A great project & a wonderful hub. Congrats on HOTD & welcome to HubPages. All the best, Jill

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Congrats on being Hub of the Day! Beautiful pictures! Makes me wish I had a backyard so I can do something like this! I just love gardens.. sigh*

Beautiful and voted up!

purl3agony profile image

purl3agony 3 years ago from USA

This looks amazing!! Great hub! Congrats on your project and your Hub of the Day!! It has definitely given me some ideas for my own yard. Pinned!

simplysmartmom profile image

simplysmartmom 3 years ago from North Carolina

The gardens in the pictures are sooo beautiful! Love this idea! If I ever get around to adding a patio area in my backyard, this is something I'm sure to try! Congratulations on the Hub of the Day!

newusedcarssacram profile image

newusedcarssacram 3 years ago from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A

Wow, I love the mosaic design sketches you shared. Pebble mosaics are very beautiful. Also congratulations on becoming the Hub of the day.

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK Author

Thank you so much all of you for the good wishes and lovely comments! I was extremely pleased and surprised to hear I'd been awarded Hub of the Day. It's a lovely boost and great encouragement to sally forth with more hubs!

StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 3 years ago from New Jersey

Congratulations on your Hub of the Day.

This would be a great way for me to make use of all the odd sea shells, broken bricks, stones, etc. that litter my current gardens.

nArchuleta profile image

nArchuleta 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

Your garden is beautiful. What style of garden would you say you have? Can the mosaic be made portable? Very clear explanations, by the way.

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK Author

Hello nArchuleta. Thanks for comment about my garden - not sure what style you would call it but I'm definitely going to write more hubs about it's design and plants. Re. making a mosaic portable, you can cast them in wooden or fibreglass moulds but it's not something I've done..yet?!

livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

A very interesting hub, clearly explained with illustrations and diagrams. Looks beautiful. Might try this someday if I get a chance. Votes up and sharing.

Also Congratulations for "Hub of the day" :-)

techygran profile image

techygran 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Congrats on HOTD! And what an inspiring article-- I think even I could do this in my garden with your instructions! Getting the word out there!

pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

You have really opened a pandora box for a garden lover. I think the easiest way is to ask for your garden. You have given a world of info for an enthusiast. Great!!!

Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 3 years ago from Mexico

I can definitely see why this hub got to be Hub of the Day: congratulations!

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina

What a fun DIY project to try! Not sure I would attempt a large scale mosaic for a patio right off the bat but maybe something small to start. Great info, thanks for sharing! Congrats on Hub of the Day!

starstream profile image

starstream 3 years ago from Northern California

What an interesting and beautiful hub. I think my first mosaic will be quite small and perhaps be a piece of outdoor fence art. Thanks for some inspiration!

bridalletter profile image

bridalletter 3 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

Wonderful hub. I love mosaics. Thank you for sharing your your sketch, that is so cool. I have a few good books just on rock mosaics. I have not attempted it yet, because there is so much more involved. It just looks so stunning when it is complete. Hopefully I will get brave enough and do a small project one year.

ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

Love this. Very beautiful work of art! Voted up, and congrats on the HOTD award.

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This is awesome. And I am thinking along lines of incorporating the pebble mosaic idea into something on a smaller scale that kids could do, like for in the kitchen. Congratulations! Good pick for HOTD.

skperdon profile image

skperdon 3 years ago from Canada

What a lovely mosaic, you make it sound so simple! I love it.

Rose Anne Karesh profile image

Rose Anne Karesh 3 years ago from Virginia

This is a really beautiful project and I love your clear, detailed instructions. Reading your hub, I think "I could do this!" which is great. Thanks so much for sharing this.

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK Author

Thanks so much for all your lovely comments - much appreciated! I'm really pleased to have inspired some of you to try out your own mosaics and wish you much enjoyment and great results.

MarieAlana1 profile image

MarieAlana1 3 years ago from Ohio

I really like your mosaic! I can tell that it is something that you have worked hard on.

barbat79 profile image

barbat79 3 years ago from Connnecticut

This is awesome!!!!!

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK Author

Thank you very much!

bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 3 years ago from Spain

Hi Daffodilsky, another superb hub. I love pebble mosaics and if I had more time would love to do a ying yang one here in a corner of my huge garden which I have always wanted to turn into something with an oriental chill out spiritual theme, but I just don´t have the time so will save the idea until I return to the UK. I am also going to link this hub with my ones and your other superb one on creating a garden in a small space. Welcome to HP and with hubs of this caliber I know you will do well here. Nice to meet another Brit too :)

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK Author

Hi bac2basics- it's good to meet you too. Thanks for your lovely comments and linking up!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago

What a lovely garden.

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 20 months ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK Author

Thank you.

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