Do Your Fake Rocks All Look The Same?

    Do your fake rocks all look the same?  Should they?  I don't think so... But what do you think?

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    Have you ever noticed how some fake rock contractors always seem to make projects that look the same?  They have a "look" about them that let's you know that it was an "XYZ" Contractor's project?  Well I have.  And I suggest that we should all strive to have multiple rock styles in our creative options arsenal.  Not just one.  Why?  Because being able to create and build multiple styles of rock will provide more options for our clients to choose from and thus provide more opportunities for work and profit.  So here's some examples of different styles of rock and project designs to demonstrate just some of the possibilities.    

    In the photo above you see a lagoon style of pool project.  The client wanted it to look like the tide pools in La Jolla, California.  So to prepare for this one I took off down to the beach to study the rock and take photos.  One of my favorites, I used acid stains for the color and made 3 ponds for wading.  It also included a "S" shaped slide.

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    With this project the client wanted more squarish shaped rocks from photos he had.  This also complemented the flagstone so I went with this as a guide.  A rebar structure, shotcrete and texture coated finish was the construction approach as are most of my projects.

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    With this remodel above we see another type or style of rock.  More rounded with simple scratched in shallow cracks.  Since more and more of my work is remodel, repair, and re-color types of projects I get to see a number of different rock types.  In this case I need to try and match the style of the rock that I see.  Some I like, others not as much.  But the standard I always use is how natural do the projects look.  This goes for my own work as well.  You can get a free pdf download here you're interested. 

    You also have lava style of rock in the photo below.  This was a large project that was designed after the rock of Hawaii where the client vacationed.  

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    Inside this structure is a sunken cave with bar stools a huge flat screen TV and a custom love seat and ceiling fan.  The texture coat was blown on in one day with all the color of the feature embedded in the mortar cement coating itself.  

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    With this image we see the primary type of rock here in the San Diego area of Southern California.  The colors vary but the basic shapes are pretty similar.  Since this style is what is often preferred one might say that this type of "look" is my style.  But the point is that the more we are able to create multiple looks, styles and types of projects the more we will be able to meet the particular needs of our clients.  And that would be a good thing.  

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    And here's another example of Southern Cal Rock we could say.  A decomposing granite.  This project has a large interior cave portion and slide as you can see to the right. The rock is also more angular.

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    And this shows a more low level stream waterfall from the earlier part of my career.  Things don't always need to be so big.  Often times I like to keep things low so that the project doesn't overpower the pool area and landscaping.  We don't always need to make our projects so huge even though we can.  Seeing a rock quarry in someone's yard doesn't appeal to me most of the time.

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    With this last example you see a stratified type of rock.  This project had real rock from the Las Vegas area brought in with the pool then being fake rock.  Much of it had to be replaced since it was rusting, cracking and falling apart.  I thus had to use white and pink paint with paint brushes to apply the color to mimic the stratified look of the rest of the feature.

    As you can see from these examples we as concrete artisans can replicate almost any type of rock, not to mentioned all the other materials we see at theme parks like wood, metal, plastics, plants, or whatever.  To that end we should continue to observe nature and always be learning how to add to our creative arsenal.   At least that's what I want to do.

- Dave

PS: To learn all that’s involved in designing and building faux rock projects get a copy of my new book Makin’ Rocks as well as other cool info by clicking here. This includes FREE pdf downloads as well!  

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