• +1 (888) 818 POOL
  • swimmingpoolsteve@gmail.com

How To Make Fake Rocks

SwimmingPoolSteve.com is user-supported. In order to keep this resource about pools and spas available for free to all readers I earn commissions for purchases made through links on this page. For more information see the full disclaimer page.

fake landscaping rocks Learning how to make fake rocks is something that almost anyone can do. Starting small and practicing the techniques used for artificial rock construction will help you to develop the confidence and skills you need to take on more challenging projects like poolside waterfalls, large landscaping rocks, faux stone garden statues or perhaps even a life sized grotto over top of your hot tub! This may sound like a lofty goal, and it is to a certain degree, but artificial rock construction is just a construction process and if you follow the right steps, in the right order, you should arrive at a successful result.

If you want to make artificial rocks you will need to develop a working knowledge of concrete applications. You do not need to be able to trowel large flat sections of concrete by hand, but you will need to understand concrete mixes, ingredients (admixtures) that can modify the properties of concrete. A good starting point for learning the basics of concrete, concrete mixes, terminology and fundamental properties of working with concrete can be found in the Concrete 101 article. Assuming you have, or are willing to learn, some basic concrete skills, then making fake rocks is something you will be able to do.

If you want to see some examples of the types of things that you can build using this artificial rock process you can check out these Easter Island Moai Head Sculptures that I make using recycled styrofoam hot tub covers.

What Can You Make With Artificial Rock?

There are so many things that you can make using this process that are both functional and decorative. The first project that you should try would be to make a simple landscaping rock or address marker for your property. It is hard to go wrong with a landscaping rock and this will give you an easy platform with which to practice your rock sculpting skills as well as your painting techniques.

fake rock
Landscaping Rocks - A landscaping rock is easy since you can use styrofoam as a base for the rock. In larger, more permanent structures the cost of styrofoam will be prohibitive and a styrofoam core would be replaced by a re-bar armature and thicker, self supporting concrete. If your fake rock has a solid styrofoam core then the concrete layer does not need to be very thick (3/4" to 1" thick is ample) as the concrete is supported by the foam. Without a solid and supporting styrofoam form the concrete would need to be thicker to support its own weight as well as any structural weight that is placed on it. Hollow artificial rocks made with re-bar armatures are usually 1.5" to 4" in thickness depending on the application.