Natural Home Show House 2009 | Nature's Imprint: Decorate Your Patio With Leaf Imprints
By Karen Adams 

Natural Home Show House leaf imprint in moist concrete
A worker gently trowels a leaf into the moist concrete at the Natural Home Show House 2009 in Boerne, Texas. The leaves were randomly placed across the back patio to make a lasting imprint of nature. Photo Courtesy Karen Adams.

A strong slab 

We poured the slab—that is a big part of the project! Many men worked quickly to make the process go smoothly. The day could not have been better—about 75 degrees and partly cloudy. Because we are going to have stained concrete flooring, it is important to get the finish of the concrete as perfect as possible. The men worked tirelessly, going over the freshly poured concrete again and again with their machines to ensure uniformity before it dried.

Nature's imprint 

Griz and I wanted to add an interesting twist, so on the back porch we had leaves that we collected from some of our favorite trees troweled into the concrete while it was still wet. We spread them out sparingly so as not to overtake the back porch; rather just a simple reminder of mother nature and the artwork she provides. Soon the workmen joined in, firmly yet gently pressing the leaves into the still-moist concrete and then using their trowels to smooth them over ever so slightly. For best results, Victor, the crew manager, suggested putting the leaves vein-side down. Then we added a rock salt finish on top across the entire back porch as well as the front porch. We used leaves from sycamore, big tooth maple, Spanish oak and pecan trees, and they were still fresh and pliable. I have heard of folks using lots of different objects to embellish their patio floors, but we thought this would be a good one for a natural home!

As you can see, when the concrete dries you are left with some truly amazing-looking leaf "fossils." If you want to do this for your project, keep in mind when all the trees lose their leaves in your area, you may need to put some of your favorites in the refrigerator or freezer if you plan to pour your slab in the late fall or winter.

Final product 

Natural Home Show House leaf imprint
Karen and Griz Adams wanted a softer look on their covered patio, so they used leaves and rock salt finish immediately after workers poured the slab. The final product is a subtle reminder of mother nature. Photo Courtesy Karen Adams. 

The whole back porch, which is 30 feet long and 15 feet wide, took us about 30 minutes to lay out the leaves and trowel them into the concrete. The design will provide us much enjoyment over the years. Where did we get the idea? A single leaf that had accidentally fallen into the concrete at the Cibolo Nature Center caught our eye one day, and we thought how cool it would be to do it on purpose for our patio.

Read more about the Natural Home Show House in Karen Adams' blog archive.

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