By Laura Gaskill, Houzz
Mosaics are one of the world’s oldest art forms, thriving in ancient Greece and Rome, and still popular to this day. But there’s more to mosaics than colorful tilework — in fact, some of the earliest examples of mosaics used natural pebbles set in mortar to decorate floors and pave walkways. Invite some of the rich history and natural beauty of pebble mosaics into your garden with these inspiring examples.
Gardens by Jeffrey Bale, original photo on Houzz
Artful expression. Pebble mosaics can be as individualized and original as any other kind of art, as shown in this garden path in Portland, Oregon. The beauty of pebble mosaic is that it can be simple enough for a beginner to tackle yet allows for limitless range in creative freedom for masters of the art form.
What is pebble mosaic? Creating a mosaic involves arranging small, hard objects (often bits of tile or stone) onto a surface covered in mortar and finished with an application of grout. In pebble mosaic, smooth pebbles are used to create the patterns in place of tile, giving the mosaic a more organic look. Natural variations in stone can be used to create areas of different hues in a pebble mosaic, and the pebbles may also be accented with colorful tumbled glass or marbles.
Landscape Details Inc, original photo on Houzz
Geometric pattern. This generous walking path draws the eye into the landscape with classic symmetry. Large, smooth pebbles are surrounded with a border of rectangular stone for a crisp, finished look.
Pebble and Co. Mosaics, original photo on Houzz
Mosaic threshold. Here, a pebble mosaic forms a permanent welcome mat outside a backyard studio. A small, well-defined area like this would make it a good starter project, whether you’re planning to DIY or hire a pro but keep costs down.
Beautiful Bones and Purple Stones, original photo on Houzz
Rivers of stone. Using pebble designs to fill in spaces between larger stones is a creative way to make the most of the materials at hand. This garden path mimics flowing water by laying out narrow tributaries of pebbles between larger slabs of stone, like a delta viewed from the air.
House + House Architects, original photo on Houzz
Mosaic patio. Strong color contrast between the light and dark stones makes the bold pattern stand out in this courtyard garden in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. With careful planning, the mosaic was designed to encircle planted trees, blurring the line between art and nature.
Related: Outdoor Chairs for the Patio
Snake in the grass. Pebble mosaics can take on more literal forms as well, like the snake shown here. Slithering along the grass in the corner of a garden, it’s sure to surprise and delight visitors.