Waste concrete, also known as "urbanite," can make incredible garden decorations with just a bit of creativity and free access. Urbanite can be used to craft walkaways, patios and walls as well as unique walkaways and more!
It is the epitome of natural building movement based on recycled materials and focused on harnessing on-site energy sources for reuse.
Urbanite, often considered waste material, makes an exceptional gardening resource. Permaculture designers love it as it quickly transforms impervious, compacted areas into vibrant gardens; furthermore it comes at an extremely affordable cost and can act as an economical replacement for expensive stones in landscaping applications.
Urbanite refers to broken pieces of concrete from demolished patios, driveways or sidewalks which were ultimately sent off to be dumped at landfill sites. You're likely to come across it when visiting construction sites or on social media marketplaces where people advertise free concrete rubble for collection.
Urbanite paving material offers the ideal permeable paving solution and budget-minded home owners can turn to it to create organic walkways or perches for birds, and can even be stained using soy-based concrete stains for an aesthetically pleasing finish.
Use of urbanite instead of new stone or pavers reduces costs, emissions from trucks transporting materials and energy use during production, and keeps truckloads out of landfill space - an outcome reflective of natural building movements' growing popularity.
It’s Easy to Work With
Chances are there's some urbanite (waste concrete) nearby from an abandoned sidewalk or driveway, set for disposal soon. Don't waste this material; urbanite can be an incredible find - versatile, beautiful and long-term cost savings over purchasing cob. Plus it helps prevent landfill waste as well as keeping energy consumption under control by diverting waste concrete away from processing plants with high energy footprints.
Utilizing recycled paving material is easy. Simply lay it down on sand to form a permeable pathway, or cut or chisel the pieces to be used as part of retaining walls or as bases for cob oven foundations - even creating "cookie cutter" patterns on cob house roofs!
Urbanite has proven particularly useful to me because unlike concrete, it allows water to pass through. This feature makes urbanite ideal for gardens as it helps prevent soil erosion while soaking into the ground rather than running off and flooding low spots with excess moisture.
Flagstone can be difficult to work with due to its uneven thickness; therefore, using it as the material for paths or patios becomes much simpler without needing additional reinforcement like rebar reinforcement. The lack of uneven thickness also provides significant cost-cutting when laying paths or patios: nothing beats having to deal with unstable retaining walls or shifting stepping stones!
Urbanite, broken chunks of concrete that have been given new life as garden decorations, is a growing trend within Permaculture and allows people to create hardscapes on a budget while helping keep our environment cleaner. Broken slabs allow water to drain into the ground instead of pooling into low spots like conventional paving would.
Repurposed concrete pieces have the potential to look just as appealing as more costly pavers when stained with eco-friendly soy-based paints, especially when interspersed with eco-friendly soy-based sealants and filled in between slabs with sand, gravel or ground cover - giving your patio or walkway that natural stone feel. Some have even used recycled concrete slabs as permeable pavers by placing them directly in sand before planting the ground cover in between each slab.
Best of all, concrete waste can be found almost anywhere for free and turned into something beautiful with just a bit of creativity and imagination. Chances are there is already some out there from once existing sidewalks or parking lots being disassembled by heavy machinery before it heads off to be recycled by heavy equipment into decorative garden decorations - make the most out of these materials today!
Utilizing concrete that has already been laid can reduce overall inputs, capture its inherent energy and reuse it for design projects, reduce landfill waste and the need to transport and pour new slabs of concrete, as well as save both money and resources in transporting and pouring new slabs of it.
Recently I discovered a unique term for waste concrete: urbanite. Urbanite refers to broken pieces of recycled concrete that have become popular with ecological landscaping projects; cob houses use this material as foundation and it has quickly become beloved among permaculturists as it's free, easy to work with and virtually lasts forever - an effective solution for mitigating our sprawling, ecologically destructive society's ecological impact.
Urbanite is harvested from existing concrete pavements such as patios, walkways and driveways and can be used to build fire pits, garden walls and retaining walls - it is more affordable and sustainable than pouring new concrete for these purposes, creating numerous designs in an inexpensive fashion.
Use Craigslist or free classified ads in your area to locate concrete being replaced, as many contractors offer to haul it away for a small fee. Recycled concrete can often be ground into aggregate and added back into road building mix for use as aggregate material.