How to Make a Simple Pebble Mosaic - Dengarden - Home and Garden
Updated date:

How to Make a Simple Pebble Mosaic

Author:

Helen has been an online writer for over six years. She is a Cardiff-based artist who loves gardens and all things botanical.

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

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

Design

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

Location

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

Materials

  • 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
how-to-make-a-simple-pebble-mosaic
Metal hoop ready to begin adding materials

Metal hoop ready to begin adding materials

Preparation

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 four 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.

how-to-make-a-simple-pebble-mosaic
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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: If the stones for a pebble mosaic are set in dry mortar it is difficult to tell if the water has saturated all the way down. So while I am sprinkling water, how do I know if there is too little, the right amount, or too much?

Answer: It might be useful for you to watch a video showing the construction process - there are some available on Youtube if you search for them. It is many years since I made my own mosaic so I'm a bit rusty about the process now! I'm an artist by profession so haven't done anything similar since.

Question: How do I know when I have sprinkled my pebble mosaic with enough water?

Answer: I would try and sprinkle it evenly until it is fully saturated, then cover it with plastic for a few weeks.

Comments

Helen Lush (author) from Cardiff, Wales, UK on February 20, 2015:

Thank you.

poetryman6969 on February 17, 2015:

What a lovely garden.

Helen Lush (author) from Cardiff, Wales, UK on April 22, 2013:

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

Anne from Spain on April 22, 2013:

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 :)

Helen Lush (author) from Cardiff, Wales, UK on April 08, 2013:

Thank you very much!

B A Tobin from Connnecticut on April 07, 2013:

This is awesome!!!!!

Marie Alana from Ohio on March 23, 2013:

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

Helen Lush (author) from Cardiff, Wales, UK on March 23, 2013:

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.

Rose Anne Karesh from Virginia on March 22, 2013:

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.

skperdon from Canada on March 22, 2013:

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

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 22, 2013:

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.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on March 22, 2013:

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

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on March 22, 2013:

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.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on March 22, 2013:

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!

Better Yourself from North Carolina on March 22, 2013:

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!

Claudia Tello from Mexico on March 22, 2013:

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

Subhas from New Delhi, India on March 22, 2013:

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!!!

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on March 22, 2013:

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!

livingsta from United Kingdom on March 22, 2013:

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" :-)

Helen Lush (author) from Cardiff, Wales, UK on March 22, 2013:

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?!

Nadia Archuleta from Denver, Colorado on March 22, 2013:

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.

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on March 22, 2013:

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.

Helen Lush (author) from Cardiff, Wales, UK on March 22, 2013:

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!

newusedcarssacram from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A on March 22, 2013:

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

simplysmartmom from North Carolina on March 22, 2013:

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!

Donna Herron from USA on March 22, 2013:

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!

Carolyn Dahl from Ottawa, Ontario on March 22, 2013:

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!

Jill Spencer from United States on March 22, 2013:

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

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on March 22, 2013:

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.

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on March 22, 2013:

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.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on March 22, 2013:

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

Mazlan from Malaysia on March 22, 2013:

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.

Helen Lush (author) from Cardiff, Wales, UK on March 21, 2013:

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

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 20, 2013:

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