Garden Project – Quickly Weathering Cast Stone

Wednesday, April 01 , 2020

Garden Project – Quickly Weathering Cast Stone

Our cast stone statues and garden ornaments are built to last. Better still, they increase in desirability and value as they age and weather. Cast stone is porous and develops a rich patina over time. This helps our hand carved pieces to blend into garden planting and look like traditional carved stone. Our vintage Chilstone is extremely popular with our customers but it is in very limited supply. The good news is that it is possible to speed up the weathering process. We will show you how to quickly get a weathered look for your cast stone and start a small gardening project.

Naturally weathered bunny statue with green lichen covering.

Garden Project

Why not try a small garden project while the county is at home? The weathering process does take time. The project we are going to look at took six weeks during the heavy autumn rain.  This is a simple guide to weather a small cast stone statue. You can apply the same process to planters, urns and other cast stone garden ornaments, as long as they have not been sealed. We used a small, cast stone statue of a Moon gazing hare, £65 plus VAT, designed by Laura Jane Wylder. Since it is almost Easter we will refer to the hare statue as our bunny.

 

 

The statue started off almost white in tone. If you like the clean, hot off the press look then you can seal the stone to keep it looking this way, or paint it white.  For those who want a wild, weathered look to highlight all the detailed features of the stone, the adventure starts here!

 

Compost is key

International compost week was just a short time ago. If you haven’t got a compost heap you will need one to weather your statue.  You can opt for a simple box structure, with three enclosed sides and a lower side at the front for access, there are many guides on YouTube on how to construct a compost bin or you can order a ready made one online. Just consider the size of the statue you want to weather as you will need to fit it inside.

It is easy to create the compost itself using grass and garden clippings, vegetable peelings and manure, if you have access to some. Water regularly to assist the rotting process. You don’t need your compost to be mulched into a fine potting mix to start weathering, you just need the components in the heap. We wanted a brownish finish on our bunny to contrast with the naturally weathered one in our show garden, that has a green tinge from lichen and moss growth, so we used autumn leaves, particularly oak so the tannin stained the stone.

 

How to speed up the weathering Process in pictures

 

First we gathered up fallen leaves. There are many different shades to choose from that will effect the colour of your bunny statue. We used mainly oak so the tannins would stain the cast stone a brown shade and Tulip tree leaves due to availability.

 

You can use soil, grass, garden clippings, whatever garden waste you have to hand, even manure!

We filled a wheelbarrow with leaves and added them to the compost heap.

Next, we buried the bunny.

The bunny was left inside the compost pile for six weeks. During that time there was heavy rain, so there was no need to add water. Without rain you should give your compost a good soaking once a week.

After just one week the details started to stand out on the bunny statue, particularly around the eyes. The statue was re-buried for a further 5 weeks.

After just six week the bunny statue had a deep brown patina that accentuated the fine details on the statue, along the ears and joints.

Once the bunny returned to our show garden it was great to compare the fast weathered bunny statue (right) with the one that weathered naturally over a number of years (left).

Both bunnies will continue to weather naturally outside, but it was impressive just how quickly the stone took on a deep patina with a little help.

Other Ways of Weathering

If you prefer the greenish look you can cover your stone in natural yoghurt. This encourages moss and lichen growth. For a grey toned patina, cover your statue in ash or soot from a cooled open fire grate or chimney. This a really effective method, although it is very messy and will need a number of applications. You can also buy products that stain or “paint” your stone to make it appear aged. We used this method for an artisan garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. John Everiss designed a garden for the charity Meningitis Now. He asked us to make a stone shelter that he wanted to look 30 years old, the same age as the charity. The products had to be carefully applied over a  number of months, but it did look authentic. This process is more difficult but it works for stone too large for the compost heap!

#Gardeningtogether

Good luck with your project. Please share you progress on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the #Gardeningtogether!

Our phone lines are open 7 days a week so call 01892 740866 or email office@chilstone.com and our team can help you with our wide range of handmade cast stone statues and garden ornaments. Don’t miss out on our  20% discount on selected garden ornament. Only available for  orders made by phone and email in our Stay at Home sale.

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