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Beach Rock Mosaic Border for the Garden

A beach rock mosaic border in the garden fits right in with this West Coast girl’s outdoor aesthetic. Find out how I take a stainless sink repurposed as a planter (yes, you read that right) from quirky and weird to kind of cool and a look that fits.

Beach Rock and Gray Grout Mosaic Garden Border

Today I’m back for my second Thrifty Chicks challenge along with five other super talented and creative bloggers. Each month we tackle a new project based on a theme – if you missed last month’s button challenge, you can see my single button napkin rings and DIY tutorial here.

Thrifty Chicks DIY projects based on a common theme.

This month we are creating mosaics, and I can’t wait to see the mosaics these ladies have come up with. You will find links to each project at the end so you can see them too!

Gathering Beach Rock

I knew with this project I wanted to work with beach rock rather than tile or pieces of broken china, so I made an outing of it. This is the little beach where I got my rock from. Such a stunning spot, especially with the incredible weather that came with it that day.

Small beach in Cadboro Bay area of Victoria BC Canada.

My Mr. came along to help and between us we gathered a few pails of beach rock. I tried to pick flattish rocks, smaller to medium in size, and with a bit of colour to them. As you can see, the rocks in this spot were mostly speckled gray, beige-y white and black. Any rocks with a tinge of red or dark brown definitely made the cut!

Trays of beach rock for mosaics.

Planning A Mosaic Pattern

I have never worked with grout in my life or created mosaics of any kind other than paper mosaics, so this was a daunting task. I picked up a few bags of little glass pieces from ReStore to help make a pattern with my rocks. I had grand aspirations to make a cool mosaic design…Pinterest makes it look so easy, are you with me on that?

How to DIY a border of beach rocks and gray grout.

After a few test runs in trying to create the design before committing to the grout, I quickly realized I was an amateur playing in the big leagues with this project. The patience and skillset mosaic artists bring to their A-game is way more than I realized!

Beach Rock Mosaic Border for the Garden

With so many great things out there to repurpose into outdoor planters I bet you’re wondering why a stainless sink? Well, we are tenants so it’s a case of working with what we rent, and I have to say, a sink planter is a first for me!

Garden planter made from a stainless sink.

Sort Beach Rocks

Once I realized a fancy mosaic pattern was not in the cards for this project, I decided to work with just the beach rock and leave the glass pieces out, but don’t worry, they will get their time in the spotlight for another project I have on the go.

Beach rock sorted by size and colour.

I sorted my rocks onto three different trays by basic size and colour. I did this so it would be easy to work quickly once the grouting began.

Gather Supplies & Prep Area

I gathered together everything I would need before mixing the grout, and made sure the edges of the sink being covered over were clean. I actually scraped away more of the dirt along the inside edge because I wanted the grout to fold over the edge a bit.

Garden planter made from a stainless sink.

Supplies for Making the Border:

  • Water for mixing, pre-measured into a measuring cup
  • Paint stir stick
  • Disposable rubber gloves
  • Bin to mix grout in
  • Clean rags to wipe stones after grout sets
  • TEC Power Grout for Outside

I went with TEC Power Grout because that’s what ReStore had for a good price, and it seemed to cover all the bases. The directions said it was fast setting and didn’t need sealing. It’s also apparently stain, crack and shrink resistant (time will tell), and this particular grout is made for the outdoors. The colour is 933 Standard Gray, and I thought it would blend well with the aggregate concrete in the surrounding area.

Fast Setting Grout for the Outdoors in Gray.

I followed the directions for the amount of water to add, but you can see in the top photo above that the grout was still pretty dry and crumbly. I ended up adding about another cup of water, and that worked. Because I was working in the heat of the sun and the grout was fast setting, I had to work fast!

Creating the Mosaic Border

I began applying grout to the border area making sure it was thick enough for rocks to be securely cemented. I tried to fold the grout over the edge so I could put rocks on the inside and completely cover any of the sink that was showing.

Grouting the edge of a repurposed sink planter.

I had all three trays of rocks handy and started pressing rocks into the grout, one-by-one. I started by placing the largest rocks on the corners first because the corners had the most area to work with.

Beach Rock Pressed into Grout.

Next, I worked my way around the inside to make sure I got the rock lining in there, and then filled in where I could with smaller rocks. Once all the rocks were placed, I smoothed the grout on the border edges and around the rocks. I did use water to help smooth the grout out, but as you can see, I used way too much and almost had a project fail!

After this I followed the instructions on the grout bag, and left the border alone until it was dry to the touch, but not too dry. It’s hard to see in the photo, but if you look at the grout on the left you can see that it’s slightly uneven in colour. That’s because it’s not completely dry but it’s dry to the touch.

Finally, I wiped the grout residue off the surface of the stones with a clean, damp rag, rinsing it as I went. This last step is super important. You want to make sure the stones are cleaned off before the residue gets a chance to dry on completely.

In the end I think my mosaic project looks more like a miniature cobblestone street than a sophisticated mosaic design, but I still think it looks better than seeing the edge of the stainless sink!

So what do you think? Quirky and weird, or kind of cool and a look that fits?

Pinned & Shared at Audrey Would
DIY beach rock border tutorial.

To see what the rest of the Thrifty Chicks gals came up with for this mosaic challenge just click on the link beside their blog name below to go to their posts. I think you will like what you see!

More Mosaic Projects & Inspiration

DIY Mosaics Thrifty Chicks Blog Hop
  1. Lora Bloomquist.com – Easy Faux Flower Mosaic Art
  2. Color Me Thrifty – Quick and Easy Faux Mosaic Art
  3. Me 🙂
  4. Little Vintage Cottage – Rock Mosaic Stepping Stone
  5. Shoppe No. 5 – Today I Am Making A Mosaic
  6. Itsy Bits and Pieces – A Fun Mosaic Project

Thanks for stopping by!

Audrey Would Vintage Home blog

Photographs © Audrey Would! Vintage Home unless otherwise indicated.

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15 Comments

  • Reply Audra @ Renewed Projects May 12, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    I like that you transformed an old sink into a planter. I just did something similar with an old wheelbarrow. The idea of making a mosaic around the edge is a cute! Then it looks pretty all year round!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Audra. I just popped over to your blog and saw your wheelbarrow planter – great idea and super fun!

  • Reply Easy Faux Flower Mosaic Art - Lora B. Create & Ponder May 11, 2019 at 7:47 am

    […] Audrey Would, “Beach Rock Mosaic Border for the Garden” […]

  • Reply acraftymix May 9, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Quirky and weird and oh so awesome Sheila. I think it looks wonderful

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 9, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Thank you Michelle! It was so rewarding to see the stainless edges of the sink fade away…and now for the rest of the garden area! 😉

  • Reply Tuula @ Color Me Thrifty May 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I love the rustic texture of your border Sheila! The great thing about these challenges is sometimes we get to try things that we’ve never done before. I think you did a great job!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 9, 2019 at 8:01 am

      Thank you Tuula! It’s so true – that sink has been driving me crazy, and this challenge gave me the nudge I needed to tackle it!

  • Reply Lora Bloomquist May 8, 2019 at 7:10 am

    I think it’s great texture, Sheila! Sets off the dirt and flowers nicely. I’ve never worked with grout either, so I’d be learning as I went, too. Loved seeing your rock-gathering spot; how beautiful!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 8, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Thank you Lora! I never in a million years would have thought creating a mosaic was this hard! But now I have a checklist of what to do differently…if I attempt a next time! 😉 We hit the little rock gathering spot on a perfect day. The sun was warm and the air was calm, so it was really fun to be there with this little extra purpose.

  • Reply Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces May 8, 2019 at 6:44 am

    I love the look, Sheila! Such a clever idea for using an old sink! It turned out lovely and makes a beautiful statement piece in your garden!!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 8, 2019 at 8:39 am

      Thank you Linda! I learned a lot through this challenge and have some great take-aways to maybe manage an actual pattern with success…if there’s a next time! 😉

  • Reply Tania May 8, 2019 at 6:22 am

    You and i are in the same boat Sheila! I like your project even if it isn’t all you imagined or planned! I think I should have used grout but I had concrete already and really wanted to use it!

    Tania

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 8, 2019 at 8:36 am

      Isn’t it funny how things turn out? I never would have imagined making a mosaic to be so challenging! It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in this!

  • Reply dpashkowsky May 8, 2019 at 5:39 am

    I like your border. I am in awe of how you did that. It is definitely going my to do too list.

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 8, 2019 at 8:33 am

      Thank you Debra! It was a totally new thing for me to try, and after reading your post I learned a few things from your tips that I would do differently to maybe be able to manage an actual pattern more easily!

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