How to make a Simple Pebble Mosaic

Updated on September 6, 2018
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: http://daffodilsky.hubpages.com/hub/Create-a-beautiful-garden-in-a-small-space

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

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 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

Questions & Answers

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      • DaffodilSky profile imageAUTHOR

        Helen Lush 

        3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

        Thank you.

      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 

        3 years ago

        What a lovely garden.

      • DaffodilSky profile imageAUTHOR

        Helen Lush 

        5 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

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

      • bac2basics profile image

        Anne 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Helen Lush 

        5 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

        Thank you very much!

      • barbat79 profile image

        B A Tobin 

        5 years ago from Connnecticut

        This is awesome!!!!!

      • MarieAlana1 profile image

        Marie Alana 

        5 years ago from Ohio

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

      • DaffodilSky profile imageAUTHOR

        Helen Lush 

        5 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

        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 profile image

        Rose Anne Karesh 

        5 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.

      • skperdon profile image

        skperdon 

        5 years ago from Canada

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

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 

        5 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.

      • ComfortB profile image

        Comfort Babatola 

        5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

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

      • bridalletter profile image

        Brenda Kyle 

        5 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.

      • starstream profile image

        Dreamer at heart 

        5 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!

      • Better Yourself profile image

        Better Yourself 

        5 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!

      • Claudia Tello profile image

        Claudia Tello 

        5 years ago from Mexico

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

      • pinto2011 profile image

        Subhas 

        5 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!!!

      • techygran profile image

        Cynthia 

        5 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!

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 

        5 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" :-)

      • DaffodilSky profile imageAUTHOR

        Helen Lush 

        5 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

        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?!

      • nArchuleta profile image

        Nadia Archuleta 

        5 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.

      • StephanieBCrosby profile image

        Stephanie Bradberry 

        5 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.

      • DaffodilSky profile imageAUTHOR

        Helen Lush 

        5 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

        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 profile image

        newusedcarssacram 

        5 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.

      • simplysmartmom profile image

        simplysmartmom 

        5 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!

      • purl3agony profile image

        Donna Herron 

        5 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!

      • renegadetory profile image

        Carolyn Dahl 

        5 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!

      • The Dirt Farmer profile image

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

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

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 

        5 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.

      • SidKemp profile image

        Sid Kemp 

        5 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.

      • ishwaryaa22 profile image

        Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

        5 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

      • greatstuff profile image

        Mazlan 

        5 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.

      • DaffodilSky profile imageAUTHOR

        Helen Lush 

        5 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

        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

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        5 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

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