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hypertufa links


Tufa and Hypertufa

There are some gorgeous photos on GoY, and also some how-to’s, but most of the ones I’ve found so far have been made by using two boxes, one inside the other. I’ve been looking for how to ‘tufa on, rather than in, boxes – there was a long convo about using polystyrene fish boxes as bases for hypertufa troughs: I’ve added the links to these at the bottom.

Checking out the links I have, a lot of which are Google search pages, saved to be checked out later, I’ve found some interesting stuff (well, to me, anyway) and detoured into some unexpected byways – “hybridtufa” and “papercrete”– which need, and will get, Google searches of their own. (And, in the middle of a list of links on “how to make hypertufa planters”, a link to Planter’s peanuts!)

I’d read about tufa blocks in gardens: tufa could be planted directly, it could absorb more than its own weight of water … but there’s a problem with taking stuff from the environment faster than it can be replaced.

I’ve been trying to find “the difference between tufa and hypertufa; can’t seem to find any sites that come under that heading, though I have strayed into “hybridtufa” which I’d never heard of before! unless that’s another name for hypertufa.

I’m interested in the detail of “the difference” – mainly in the detail of how a concrete-type mixture got named after a limestone rock!

What is tufa?:

YouTube vid explaining how tufa is formed and how to plant it:

Rocky Mountain Tufa:

“hybridtufa”: Also includes “papercrete” – pics, no how-to, and a dead link to his eBay shop


Hypertufa FAQ page:

Common mistakes:

Basic how-to and guidelines:

How to make a mini-trough using a mould: (he’s not kidding about the “mini”! maybe it can be scaled up, unless you really want a rock soap-dish!)

eHow has loads of hypertufa projects:

planter: (two-box method)

English trough (??):

Make a mould: (seems to be two-box method again)

Make hypertufa without using peat moss:

hypertufa pots:
I suppose plastic “mesh” crates would do as well as the wicker basket they suggest!


Outdoor rocks and caves:

Leach lime from hypertufa planters:

There’s a list, on the right side of each page, of other projects of a similar nature; one can travel a long way following these, and sometimes into unexpected directions!


Garden artwork and how-to’s:

Blog of many projects and how-to’s:


GoY convos re polystyrene hypertufa troughs: we found some other links to external sites that are included in the posts

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8 Mar, 2012


That is really helpful, Fran. Saved hours of trawling. I grow quite a lot of alpines and traditional stone troughs are SO expensive and actually too heavy for me to lift and shift. I've been pondering this solution for nearly a year since I saw a TV clip from Chelsea last year showing how to make one. Of course, I didn't pay close enough attention at the time........
So, thanks for this!

8 Mar, 2012


smiles, and now all the links are where I can get at 'em, rather than trying to find the right folder in my "favourites" and tyring to remember which link is the one I'm looking for, I might actually get sonthing started myself!

I've got stacks more "general" pages: I tend to save them in case I can't find them again later, and then go thorugh them and save specific pages.

Weight is a very definite factor for me too - no point it being all pretty and that if I can't even lift it! Which is why I wanted to 'tufa over the polystyrene boxes and plastic "mesh" crates that I've got; they should provide a lightweight skeleton.

Besides, I wanted to have a go at ornaments, decorations, etc, beside just troughs and pots: *s* I want to build a mini-mountain water-feature for my tabletop lanscape, for one! and maybe a leakproof "river bed" as well.

Though I've been thinking, at least at first, of concrete rather than 'tufa: I can get bags of ready-mix at the hardware shop that's literally just over the road, and that'll save mixing - learn to use it first, then learn to make it. Besides, given my vision, I'll have to work within inches of the stuff, and there's the inhalation warnings to take into account.

I'm still a bit hazy about the weight difference between 'tufa and concrete: I presume the Perlite would make 'tufa a bit lighter, but if they're both "stone-heavy" then it's only a slight difference?

8 Mar, 2012


The one I saw being made on TV had a polystyrene box as the core of the trough with a thickish skin of hypertufa all over except for the inside base. So I imagine that the resulting trough would be considerably lighter than a stone one. And it looked just like the stone ones when dry and planted.

8 Mar, 2012


Hypertufa troughs may be slightly lighter than stone, but not much. They are, effectivly, made of concrete. If you want a large hypertufa trough then make it where you intend it to sit. I have not trawled through your excellent index yet, Fran, but when we use polystyrene boxes as a base we punch holes in the sides and base rather than wrapping them in wire mesh. We find this to be much easier.

8 Mar, 2012


the in-box recipes I've seen, Ojib, say to do the inside at least some inches down - enough to be covered by the soil when it's filled.

That's part of what's puzzling me, Bulb - I got sent a two-box how-to; it said to put four corks on a board, put holes in the bottom box, fill the bottome, add the second box, etc - then when it's dry, take the board off, leave the corks in, and drill them out - said it's better than trying to drill drainage into new 'tufa, it might crack.

So how does one cover the bottom of a create and leave drainage holes? bearing in mind that the bottom has to off the worktop to set. would the corks themselves provide enough support? One of the sites in my list says it can be done in two stages; invert, do base and half the sides, let dry, turn over and do the top - I can't remember how they said to make sure the two parts adhere to each other.

I aslo thought about putting some battens across the bottom and using those as supports; but they'd need to be fixed in too. Once I can get the support problem sorted ...

I want small troughs, then I can mix 'n match the displays, turn the troughs round, take one out, put another one in ...

8 Mar, 2012


I also found a site where they recycled rubbish in hypertufa - bags of rubbish to fill a mould and 'tufa round it. typically, I've not been able to find it again!

I don't know if there's a special kind or rubbish, paper, dry, etc, or if any household rubbish would do; once the 'tufa's dry, it'd be sealed anyway

8 Mar, 2012

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