Create Stunning Garden Decor: DIY Cement Stepping Stones

DIY Stepping Stones for the garden

Preserving the allure of the natural world and crafting a lasting memento from your very own garden is simpler than you might imagine! Discover the secrets to fashioning enchanting outdoor decor that encapsulates nature’s beauty for years to come.

Have you ever marveled at stepping stones made from Elephant Ears, Rhubarb leaf, or even Hosta? In reality, any leaf of suitable size can serve as the perfect mold for your very own cement leaf stepping stones. Experiment with various leaf shapes and sizes, or opt for pre-shaped plastic molds or even repurposed cake pans!

For this project, we utilized large Rhubarb leaves and Portland Cement. However, any Type I or Type II cement with a fine-grained texture that can capture the leaf’s impression will do.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Cement
  • 3-5 Gallon Bucket
  • Flat trowel (or spatula)
  • Water
  • Rags for clean-up
  • Plastic sheets
  • Gloves, mask, apron, and old clothing/shoes
  • Cooking Spray or oil
  • Optional Chicken Wire or Mesh for extra support
  • Fresh Leaves
  • Wire brush or power-washer
  • Sandpaper
  • Cement sealer or outdoor paint

Step by Step Guide

cement being poured on leaf

  1. Prepare the work surface. Lay plastic to protect the area. Keep a rag handy for wiping up spills before they dry.

  2. Safety first! Wear gloves, old clothing or an apron, and a mask. Concrete or cement can generate dust that you definitely don’t want to inhale.

  3. Mix the cement according to the instructions on the package. Create a thicker consistency that won’t run but remains spreadable.

  4. Prepare the leaf by lightly spraying it with cooking oil, preferably on the underside featuring protruding veins. This facilitates removal later on. Approximately half a bucket of cement (2 gallons) is sufficient for a medium-sized leaf.

  5. Work quickly, as the cement tends to set fast, depending on the type you’ve chosen. Starting from the center, use the trowel to spread the cement outwards, adding more as you go.

  6. Reinforce your creation by placing chicken wire or mesh on top of the first layer of concrete mix.

  7. Continue adding and spreading the concrete onto the leaf, gently pressing outwards towards the edges until it accumulates to a thickness of around ½-1 inch. Ensure the surface remains level and smooth.

  8. Flatten the sides with the trowel, making them sturdy enough to withstand foot traffic.

  9. Mist the cement with water if it starts setting too quickly, allowing you to smooth out air bubbles or bumps and refine the edges.

  10. Clean up! Wash everything before the cement sets.

Further reading:  Discover the Perfect Substitute for Bay Leaf

Spreading cement over the leaf

  1. Let it set undisturbed in the sun for at least a day, or possibly less depending on the type of cement used.

  2. Once set and dry, carefully flip the stepping stone to expose the leaf, allowing it to dry completely before peeling off. Use a wire brush to remove any foliage remnants and reach into the grooves. Alternatively, gently power-wash to eliminate leaf bits.

  3. Smooth the edges of the leaf using sandpaper if necessary.

  4. Once thoroughly dry, apply a sealant or outdoor paint as desired.

The process of removing the leaf after cement has set

In just an hour of your time, you’ll have a lasting keepsake that embellishes your garden. DIY projects offer a fantastic opportunity to adorn your surroundings while preserving nature’s beauty.

To enhance your DIY concrete stepping stones further, visit Ames Farm Center and explore their selection of Creeping Thyme or other groundcovers to plant between the stones, along with edging plants like Dianthus. Transform plain ground into a polished pathway!

Remember, get creative, have fun, and let your garden reflect your unique style.