Concrete

Although wood is warm and beautiful it does require care. Wooden planters, exposed to sun, rain and moist soil require a lot of care. Concrete is a whole lot less demanding.

OK, you may have a hard time replacing a warm and aromatic cedar planter with a material that you recognize as crumbling underpass or Soviet mass housing material but stop a minute.

Concrete can be beautiful and very durable – hundreds of years isn’t unrealistic. There is an enormous amount of  literature describing methods for accomplishing this. Unfortunately not every concrete producer pays attention to best practice publications. We do.

We choose our aggregates for strength, colour and cleanliness. We weight the components of our mix every time. We add super plasticizers to allow the mix to flow into the fine detail of the molds, we vibrate the molds as we pour but not so much as to separate the coarse from the fines. We keep the concrete warm and moist as it hardens so that all the strength potential is realized. We really love concrete.

 

Tyee Paver – dimensions, colours & possibilities

Originally designed as a patio stone, this concrete patio table is now 40 years old (and looking better than ever for its experience). This was my 1st concrete design. I'd planned to make a series of gnomes, knights and ladies letting their hair down from castles. Some how I haven't got around to it yet. A bit of encouragement could put this back on track. I'd welcome a graphic artist who want to collaborate. The table is heavy enough that it doesn't get blown around. No problem setting a hot pot on it either. This is the second description. This is the third description. This is the fourth description. The Tyee paver A square formed from 4 Tyee pavers with complemental edge paver. This is the seventh description. Fish Pavers<br/>
You probably know where the inspiration for this design came from.
The fish element is rotated in 90 degree increments and the resulting group of 4 can be repeated (tessellated) along two axes to form a surface of any size with no gaps between elements. <br/>The paver is made from the same high quality concrete as our other products and is coloured with incorporated pigments or acid stain.<br/>
Quite a few people have told us that they really like this design. Nearly as many people have asked for a straight edge border. This has led to the “Tyee” paver (next).
This is a prototype of a pre-stressed concrete planter. It has been outside continuously for 5 years and thanks to the pre-stressing, shows no signs of cracking.  Why is that?*    (If you’re interested in technical explanations look below.)
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Our next design will have a clever corner connector that will allow a range of angles and multiple lengths. For example you could make a pentagon shaped raised bed garden or a zigzag retaining wall. In a year or two you could change it all around or move it to another house.<br/><br/>

<h3>Some Technical Talk</h3> *To understand the answer you need to know a little about concrete. Perhaps you know that concrete is brittle and so breaks when hit with something hard. Perhaps you know that placing steel in concrete doesn’t stop it from cracking but does keep the pieces together afterwards. If you knew that I’m guessing you know that pre-stressing the steel (stretching it to near its yield point) before casting the concrete around it, dramatically changes the nature of the finished part. It becomes resilient, (it’s much les likely to crack); no cracks, no crumbling apart. The concrete can be made much thinner, an inch or less. That’s a real advantage if you’re lifting it without equipment.