DH has wanted his back yard to look like 'It's a Small World' his entire life...long before he had a home of his own...and it's getting there! This pic is actually of one of the columns supporting our patio roof, it was made in the same way the walls were made.
The faux rock wall......this is a facade built over a concrete block wall. In a nutshell, you will put anchors in the block wall to attach screws, then use the screws to attach stucco lath or chicken wire to the wall. The shape comes from having screws scattered about....they will help you have bulges in spots or keep the wire tight to the wall in other spots. And from back filling the space between the wall and the wire. Fill it whatever you ahve that's trash! Newspaper, styrofoam, cardboard, there's an Ikea catalog in our wall somewhere lol We had quite a lot of dirt to get rid of at one point and we put a lot of dirt back there, too. Plan ahead if doing that, we used plastic between the wire and the dirt to keep it contained.
Understand the better packed it is, the easier the next step is.
Once you have your wire on, you can go ahead and start spreading mortar mix all over the whole thing if you like. We found that we wasted a lot of material that way though.....there's a lot of space to fill and still some movement in the wire, so the mortar fall right in.
So our next step was always to spread on a mixture with a larger aggregate to help solidify the surface and fill in empty spaces quickly. it should be a light weight aggregate if you're applying to a vertical surface like this, let's face it, you're fighting gravity here. What we had available was perlite, those tiny styrofoam ball are perfect for this though, if you happen to have easy cheap access to them. Vermiculite will work, too, you're just looking for something lightweight, I bet shredded cardboard would work fine.
Our mix was portland cement and perlite, I never really paid attention to ratios as I was always mixing large batches, so I can't help with that. I can say i was looking for a mix that was sticky, too runny and it was no good, not enough cement and it was no good, so plenty of cement and not too thin. Spread it all over the wire but especially in spots where you know the wire needs to be firmed up, the better you firm the whole structure in this step, the easier the next step is.
In this pic you can see where we have plastic holding the dirt in, but if you look closely you can see spots where we added the perlite mix.
This next step is spreading the mortar mix over every square inch. Check your work though, if you feel like you need more of the perlite mix in spots, believe you me, it's better to do it first instead of going straight to the mortar or you may be adding the mortar twice instead.
Mortar mix is 3 parts sand to 1 part cement and water. Add enough water to make a consistency of...I can't think of anything. It's good to play around with different consistencies though, figure out what works best for you. Careful that you mix it too dry, it'll be and it'll harden before you have a chance to smooth it some, too thin and you'll be doing this step twice!
This is really a 2 or even 3 step process, I would spread the mortar on and come back once or twice and smooth and blend it a few minutes later...you really don't want to see your finger trails in this lol.
BTW wear gloves for this whole process! Cement is not good for the hands.
In this pic you get an idea of just how thin the wall is. One thing to understand, this is purely superficial and not something that has a lot of strength, the wall itself is the strength. You can certainly make it thicker or make stronger sturdier projects, but let me speak from experience on this......if making a project that needs to be strong, consider building it in place, even though it will be strong because it will be heavy!
Here is the mortar coat ready for the 'finish' coat, the texture is a natural part of the process and not something you have to work to get. Now we'll use leather gloves to rub over the whole thing to get off any 'peaks', then rinse well.
The final coat requires a cheap 2" brush. We mixed just cement and water for a 'slurry', you want this thin enough to brush but thick enough it leaves a somewhat smooth surface. You want to barely brush the tip of the brush over the surface, brush it on fairly randomly, trying to blend edges and lines so it's not obvious they are brush strokes. It should leave you with some smooth spots and still quite a lot of texture. Look carefully, you can see it in this photo. Notice it doesn't erase the texture, but was just barely touched by the brush to smooth it all a bit.
You can color the cement as you're mixing if you like, or you can use stains. Acid stains are a favorite for lot of folks but I prefer quikrete transparent concrete stains myself.
Yeah, I've made a bunch of concrete & hypertufa stuff and posted pics on DG. There were several cylindrical planters posted so not sure if you're referring to the ones I made or not. Does it ever get too hot there to work on this stuff?
I swear, it is too easy! Hopefully I made it easy to understand, I know that old thread got very tangled. I have a section in the backyard I'm about to start wire on...hopefully this week. I know once I get started and just do it, it'll go really fast, but the just getting started is hard for me, too.