New life for old concrete.

These California designers reused discarded concrete for handsome paths, patios, and garden steps

Concrete, in its plain, gray form, lacks the quiet beauty of San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden  landscape architect Richard William Wogisch doesn’t believe in dumping old concrete. “It just doesn’t make sense to haul out manmade material from a garden and then mine the countryside to bring in natural stone. It’s not very environmentally sensitive.” Instead of sending the old concrete patio in Bob and Lois Franco’s irregularity A defect, failure, or mistake in a legal proceeding or lawsuit; a departure from a prescribed rule or regulation.

An irregularity is not an unlawful act, however, in certain instances, it is sufficiently serious to render a lawsuit invalid.  of the broken concrete and gravel underfoot slows down the Francos’ two very rambunctious dogs, who used to race through the garden and trample plants.

Wogisch isn’t afraid to experiment with broken concrete. In one of his recent projects in sulfate sulfate, chemical compound containing the sulfate (SO4) radical. Sulfates are salts or esters of sulfuric acid, H2SO4, formed by replacing one or both of the hydrogens with a metal (e.g., sodium) or a radical (e.g., ammonium or ethyl).  – a yellow-white powder you sprinkle or sponge onto moistened concrete and let dry slowly – to make it look old. (Watch out when applying iron sulfate, though: It stains everything it touches, including clothing and hands. And it should never touch plants; it can kill them. After applying it and before planting near it, thoroughly wash any residue from the concrete, and make sure that the residue leaches through the soil.)

“The rust color reminds me of some of the strange orange-red soils in the [Sierra] foothills,” Raiche says. And on the concrete patio he calls his “rust patio” – on a hillside behind the house – it provides a wonderful background for some of his favorite foliage colors: yellow,

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