The Greeks appreciated tile mosaics, elevating them to an art form as early as the fourth century. Mosaics have adorned temples and homes throughout the world and across cultures since then, and continue to bring an elegant appeal to gardens and ornaments to this day. Creating your own mosaic in the garden is an innovative way to bring life to concrete slabs or walkways, or as a brilliant accessory to cover clay pots, watering cans and other garden objects.
Start out with colourful, painted crockery or tiles. You can use scraps that are already broken, or have some fun breaking your own pots, tiles and plates. Make the shards as large or small as you desire, using a hammer to break the pieces with a sheet covering them to protect yourself from flying pieces.
Decide on a design. If you want to make a picture out of the shards, arrange the pieces according to your design for your picture. Butterflies and flowers are popular and simple pictures to create, or you can make abstract or random designs.
Measure the length and width of the area you plan to cover. Make sure you have enough of the right pieces to complete your design by laying out the same pattern as you will place on your surface. Add more colours and rearrange the design as necessary.
Spread a generous amount of adhesive grout on the back of each tile piece with a butter knife. Position the piece on your surface by applying gentle pressure. Carefully place the other tiles in their appropriate places leaving a little space between each tile for the grout. Allow the grout to set before turning any three-dimensional objects you may be covering.
Fine Gardening recommends applying sealer with a small paintbrush to protect your art from the elements.
When you press the tile pieces into your surface, be sure the grout doesn't squeeze out and cover the tile. Have a damp washcloth ready to wipe away any excess grout.
Pieces of broken tile can be very sharp. Wear protective gloves at all times when working with the shards. Clean the work area to prevent future injuries.