I am researching concrete patios but want to create a natural look perhaps combined with grass or moss in between large blocks.. any ideas or photos??
If you really want to grow things between the sections, you'll have to construct it in sections so the grass or moss has a place to grow. I'm not sure I would do that. Moss may not do well if it's in direct sunlight and grass will want to spread onto the concrete.
If you want the stone look but in concrete, look into stamped concrete. I have a customer with a stamped concrete circular driveway that is dyed reddish-brown. Their patio and a connecting walkway are done the same way and it looks great. The only "giveaway" is the expansion grooves in the concrete, but they aren't very noticeable.
The look I am going for is very natural-- as though it has always been there-- with a bit of a creative edge -- I thought concrete could create a more weathered look than stone or pavers. The other trouble I'm having is getting info on what the costs are per square foot . Is there a website that might have those cost comparisons? and include bluestone in the camparison..?
You're best bet would be to contact a local concrete finisher about stamped concrete. It's becoming really popular around here and there are lots of options. If you search the internet for "stamped concrete" you'll probably be buried in websites.
The driveway picture I posted looks very natural and you really have to look to see the expansion joints that tell you it's concrete. The surface has the "uneveness" you expect with stone and a colorant was used to make it look right.
My neighbor, on the other hand, just had his driveway done with some kind of skimed coat that looks somewhat like large flagstones. They used different colors on the flags and it looks sorta ok, but the colors aren't real "natural". Maybe it will get better with a little aging.
A wonderful walkway design is to dig and pour directly into your pathway, but you can't be in a hurry. Dig/shape a rectangle about 3-4" deep, then pour your colored concrete into it to set. Repeat the next day until completed. You could layout, dig/design every other concrete stone and pour several each day. Obviously, you are utilizing the earth dirt as your frame.
Edited 1/4/2006 9:15 am ET by abundanze
We have a coloured stamped concrete path in our garden. I love it. It's a "flagstone" stamp. We had it coloured a charcoal grey to match some of the cours in the house (shingles and trim). The only problem I have with ours is that because the contractor waited too long to seal it, some of the colour has faded. But on the other hand, doing this gave it a more natural look, because some places faded more than others.
Southern Ontario, Zone 6 (Canadian)/Zone 5b (US)
don't bother with the stamped concrete, if you want a natural organic look, it won't do
better to form and cast each section with adequate space between for grass
i will probably be doing the same but my plans are rectilinear which makes forming and pouring easier
i will probably pre-cast the sections on my driveway, upside down, with a sand base and then move to location, still planning large slabs, 3'x3' min, heavy but manageable
good luck and try a couple samples, concrete is cheap