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    CD Designs Blog

    Introducing Creative Concrete Around The Home, From CD Designs

    Here at CD Designs, we constantly strive to cultivate and share innovative ideas in the field of concrete design, sailing leagues past the more mundane uses of pattern imprinted concrete towards more innovative waters.

    Over coming months we will give you several articles showing how to make a variety of useful and decorative items to enhance your home, inside and out. We’ll provide the inspiration and guidance: all you need is some concrete, a few other materials to go with it and some time and creativity.

    The range of things we’ll create together will span many different areas, from decorative ornaments and accessories to storage solutions and other functional items. Here is a sneak peak of our concrete candle holders:

    Concrete Candle Holders - Make your own!

    Concrete Candle Holders - Make your own!

    Concrete is an amazingly diverse material. You can mix it with different textures. You can colour it with paints and additives. You can embed decorative materials such as glass and metal fragments into it. You can make it smooth or rough or anywhere in between. You can go as far as to polish it to a beautiful shine, or go in completely the opposite direction, leaving it full off dents and air bubbles for a jagged industrial look. We’ll explore much of this as we go forward on our journey together!

    Escape To The Zoo From The Concrete Jungle

    Think for a minute back to those childhood memories of visiting the local zoo, staring at the sad-faced animals through the bars of their ugly enclosures of concrete, glass and wire mesh, of staring intently at the exotic insect cases with excitement before realising that what you thought was the exhibit is actually a stick, and of eating an ice cream in the rain.

    Concrete, at the Zoo!

    Concrete, at the Zoo!

    Sounds bleak, doesn’t it? But the truth is that zoos needn’t be ugly concrete prisons. The animals needn’t feel like captives all the time. All zoos need to do is be creative with their enclosures, using well-sculpted concrete structures that mimic features of the animals’ natural habitats to make them feel at home. There are obvious applications such as rocks, cliffs, waterfalls, pools and riverbanks, but why stop there? How about using careful textures to give the appearance of different types of rock and even wood? Tree stumps? Termite mounds? Waterfalls are a lovely feature to consider as well, the base of which could easily be made out of concrete. And how about thinking carefully about the shape of your terrain, providing tailored nooks and crannies to encourage the growth of many different varieties of plant?

    Check out the Klassen Concrete site for more of their zoo pics.

    Yes, there really is more to concrete than simple pattern imprinted concrete drives. It’s a jungle out there.

    Images via Klassen Concrete

    The QuaDror: A Revolutionary Concrete Building Block

    The QuaDror is a revolutionary folding building block, created by Israeli designer Dror Benshetrit, which really could change the way we build things. It is constructed from four identical L-shaped pieces, arranged like two yin yang symbols on top of one another, and joined via a unique corner hinge. This allows it to sit totally flat, or fold out into a unique geometric structure. This structure is incredibly strong, aesthetically intriguing and pleasing, and very versatile. Because the base shapes and overarching principle are so simple, the QuaDror works well when constructed out of a variety of materials, and in solid and outline shapes.

    You really have to see this to believe it, so check out this QuaDror Vimeo video before reading further:

    QuaDror from Dror on Vimeo.

    It has been decided that the five main applications of the Quadror are:

    • Dividing: The QuaDror can be used to very quickly build up strong walls, fences and other dividers.
    • Trestles: This revolutionary new shape works well for building great looking trestles.
    • Dwelling: You can use the QuaDror to rapidly construct attractive housing, whether you are looking for permanent dwellings, or short term disaster relief shelters.
    • Fenestration: Because the structure’s components can handle outline shapes and even irregular shapes cut into them, it is easy to use different QuaDrors for easily adding windows and other openings to dwellings.
    • Art: The QuaDror is also a thing of geometic beauty, so it has a lot of applications for creating quirky art pieces.

    Dror first imagined the shape as a one off design for part of a lighting fixture he created for the Milan Furniture Fair’s Swarovski Crystal Palace exhibit.

    You Can’t Grow Crops On A Concrete Driveway? Think Again!

    A well designed, beautifully implemented pattern imprinted concrete driveway or patio can make a wonderful statement on the exterior of your property and bring the whole design together, providing a perfect focal point for all the surrounding elements. Concrete is not good for all purposes however, and one way in which it falls down is plant life. There are not many varieties of flora that thrive on concrete, especially not edible crops or pretty flowers. You’ll be more likely to get unsightly, stringy weeds and grasses growing in the cracks, which just looks ugly and can eventually cause damage if not kept in check.

    Patio Herb Crop

    Patio Herb Crop

    To create any useful produce, a more controlled, measured approach is required. This can be remarkably simple: there are many varieties of fruit and vegetables that grow in containers. With just a little bit of guidance, you’ll soon be growing a wonderful modular edible garden on your driveway or patio, without taking up much space!

    The containers: As a rule of thumb, you should think about the eventual maximum size of your crops, and choose a pot for each one that is big enough to fit that. Think downwards as well as upwards and outwards – some plants, especially root vegetables will need a much deeper pot, while plants that grow taller such as tomatoes will need a heavy pot to support them. Terracotta pots are heavier and therefore more supportive than plastic pots, and they are also a lot more attractive and will fit in to your design better. They are also more expensive and likely to absorb moisture and dry out your compost and soil more quickly (although this can be got around with a plastic lining).

    Patio Strawberry Crop

    Patio Strawberry Crop

    The crops: There are many varieties to choose from when growing in pots: sweet peppers, chilli peppers, aubergines, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, herbs and more. You should give a little bit of thought to choosing compact or trailing plants, rather than ones that grow up high and could risk getting blown over. For the biggest variety and best results, grow from seed rather than just buying ready grown plants, but follow the instructions on that packet well – different plants will require different varieties of soil and different amounts of compost and water.

    Aftercare: Most pot plants are fairly low maintenance. You just need to feed and water them regularly, keep leafy plants productive and compact by pruning and removing flowers often, and support plants with heavy fruit (such as aubergines) with canes.

    Images by thomas pix

    Ugly Garage Door! Why Not Hide It?

    There are many things you could do and really should do to make your home exterior as neat and picturesque as possible. some are far easier to realise than others, but the simple fact is that garage doors are difficult to deal with!

    I’m not talking about fitting them – the average garage door is no harder to install than anything else. What I am talking about is finding one that fits neatly into the style you’ve gone with for the rest of your exterior. Garage doors tend only to be available in a limited number of styles, and they are generally large, bulky, obtrusive objects that are always in danger of sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb.

    If you want to find a perfect solution for this problem, you’ll probably need to go bespoke, but this shouldn’t be a problem. The best way to go is to hide them, so no one knows they are there: after all, a lot of the best design work is invisible!

    A great example comes from Beausoleil Architects, who have taken a large Victorian house in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco and turned the ground floor bay window into a garage door:

    Or what about the detached house in Florida, where the entire front facade has been converted into a huge garage door, capable of fitting a small aircraft?

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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