Wood Wins in Concrete Designs

Architectural concrete imprinted with wood produces striking results in this park in Colorado.
Photo courtesy of The Art of Concrete LLC

Concrete and real wood don’t usually mix well when used together in a design because of wood’s inherent shrinking characteristics. However, wood-look concrete designs can be a winning combination in a variety of ways.

Park perks

Contractor and regular Concrete Decor contributor Karen Keyes recently wrote about how more and more of her peers use imprints of wood on concrete for decorative concrete purposes. Form liners or actual boards can both make realistic imprints..

Keyes, the owner of The Art of Concrete LLC in Colorado, has recently been incorporating imprinted sections of wood as vertical concrete upgrades for hardscapes on various park projects. These include features such as seat walls, fencing and support columns.

an up close look of wood-look concrete designs in a vertical application
Actual lumber gives this wide column its decorative finish. The client wanted the gaps between the boards so Keyes and her crew had to create spaces between each board to get that look.
Photo courtesy of The Art of Concrete LLC
Wood and water walls

On the residential front, Tyler Lindbergh, owner of Concrete Creations in Bismarck, North Dakota, used a series of wood plank imprints on a simple freestanding water wall that he dreamed up and decided to build. He made a form out of melamine and lined it with rough pine boards he had brushed down to get more grain in his design.

wood-look concrete design for this outdoor waterfeature
Lindbergh used actual wood to make this water wall’s finish.
Photo courtesy of Concrete Creations

“My intention was to market this product but I haven’t really pushed it,” he says. “This is the only one I’ve ever made.”

In the summer, Lindbergh adds, he usually has the water wall running while he’s enjoying his backyard fire pit. “It’s nice to hear the sound of running water,” he says. “I live on a busy street and it helps keep down the traffic noise.”

Photo courtesy of Concrete Creations

While some artisans are using wood imprints on their wood-look concrete designs, others — such as Southern Florida’s Tim Maloney of Maloney’s Decorative and Phil Waesche of Visionary Outdoor Design — are busy carving concrete to look like trees. Or at least parts of them.

The men and their crew recently completed a fire pit that looks like a big tree stump.

Photo courtesy of Maloney’s Decorative

Visionary Outdoor Design provided a 3-D design rendition of the stump. It started off as a block base wrapped in lath. The crew applied a mix with CarVZ from Trinic for the structure coat and again for the carve coat. Working with the carveable overlay, they shaped, carved and transformed the concrete into a backyard focal point that would last for many years to come.

Editor’s Note: Do you have interesting projects you’d like to share with your peers? If so, send jpg pictures, a brief description and contact information to [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

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