Garden Mosaics Made From Broken Tiles

6 Materials
$50
4 Days
Easy






332/5000

Upgrade your garden by creating mosaics of old broken tiles!

Our pool area needed to be fixed and connected to the patio at the house, so I used old, ugly pavers, a couple of cement blocks and some old broken tiles, and with that I created a new staircase and a pair of flower boxes.

This is how it looked before. The steps up tp the pool were falling apart and the soil fell onto the steps.
These were the old pavers I used for the base of my mosaics for the path.
The first thing I did was to break the old tiles into small pieces. One of the cats joined me in that!
Then I used the pieces to make the mosaics on some old pavers. I used regular tile adhesive to glue the tile pieces and after it had dried (24 hours) I used regular tile grout.
After that I continued to put tile pieces on two cement blocks which I intend to plant some flowers in.
This is what they looked like before the grouting!
After that I started with the steps up to the pool. I put bricks on the two first steps and then mosaics on the top step as you can see in the picture. I also made brick walls on the sides to keep the soil away from the steps.
The steps ready!
After that I continued by starting with the path that would lead to our patio and house by using the mosaic pavers and some pieces of brick. Since this is in South Italy there is no need to worry about winter frost so I only put some sand underneath.
Done!
The path is ready!
Now, I can walk without shoes from the pool to the house!
Done!
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Have a question about this project?

52 questions
  • Karen Stefani
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Love it! How did you get the mosaic tiles so uniform to make your scenes? Thank you.
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      Somte tiles I broke with a hammer and others I cut with a tile nipper (when I wanted a piece of a specific form).
    • Karen Stefani
      on Aug 17, 2017

      Thank you, I appreciate your answer, Ann-Christin (from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, US).

  • Cathy
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Did you have many multi-colored old tiles that account for all the colors in your mosaics? Or did you paint some of the broken tile pieces when they were on installed on the pavers?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      Had had old tiles (left over from other projects) in different colors and I didn't paint anything. I used what I had.
  • Linda Medley
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Do you want to come to my house and share your talents?!? 😃 Great job!
  • Tdb28671538
    on Aug 17, 2017

    You did a marvelous job lady! I would love to know how did you build the foundation for your pool? Yes I do apologize my question isn't about the flower board
    thank you😊 Dona
  • Hustonprincess
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Did you consider using a NON SKID/SLIP coating on that surface?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      No, I didn't, but that's a good suggestion! Maybe it can become slippery in rainy periods! Thank you for the idea!
  • Marilee H
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Love this - will the mosaics hold up through winter?
    • SM
      on Aug 17, 2017

      See the full description
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      I did this in the south of Italy so I don't need to worry about any cold winter temperatures. In Sweden though (I live partly in Sweden and partly in Italy) I think I would have checked more carefully that the tiles could stand frost etc.
  • Kathy
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Truly a work of art. How long did it take you to complete the project?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      Thanks! It took around a week, but I didn't work with it during the whole days. But you need to let the tile adhesive dry before you can put on the grout (at least over night) so you have to take some breaks!
    • Sharon R
      on Aug 17, 2017

      A Week??? It looks like "years" worth of absolutely beautiful work!

  • Julie Porter
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Love it, and love that pool, it's such a natural looking setting. Can I ask - is it a regular in ground pool?
    • Judy Phariss
      on Aug 17, 2017

      Yes. See the overflow straight across the picture. Only a real in ground pool would have that.
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      Yes, it is an in ground pool, a pool that is called a "biodesign pool" without any concrete (in this website you can read about its construction: https://www.piscinebiodesign.it/en/. Since it is placed where the land is sloping a bit we had to fill up with soil at one side.
  • Bli28288242
    on Aug 17, 2017

    This is beautiful! May I ask how you colored the mosaic pieces or did you purchase them?
    • Momsal
      on Aug 17, 2017

      Liiks like he had left over old tiles in different colors. Can buy indivual tiles if you want.
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      I had old left over tiles in different colors, so I didn't color anything.
  • Julie Bounds
    on Aug 17, 2017

    I don't speak Italian, but are yall issuing invitations to visit??????
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      If you, or anybody, want to visit you are welcome! But I live part of the year in Sweden, so it has to be at a time when we are in Italy.
  • Mdo21567202
    on Aug 17, 2017

    Beautiful but how long did it take to do?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      It took a week but I didn't work the whole days (you can't because the tile adhesive need to dry before you put on grout).
  • Jsu29113116
    on Aug 17, 2017

    just beautiful!! we are going to Italy next fall, are you near the Amalfi Coast Region?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 17, 2017

      We are about 250 km from the Amalfi coast (2-3 hours drive), in the Basilicata region, in the countryside outside of the village/town Pisticci. It is near the Ionian sea and near Matera (a city on UNESCO's list of world heritages). The area is not very well known by tourists, so you get to meet the authentic Italian lifestyle if you come!
  • Patti Cardinal
    on Aug 18, 2017

    Do you know what you would have to do differently in a cold climate? You have given me hope that I can finish a mosaic walkway project I have been afraid to even begin!
    • Estasban
      on Aug 18, 2017

      Patti , check for any posts relating to installing a brick or concrete paver walk ways . Depending on you specific location you'll have to accommodate for the freeze/ thaw cycle but in most cases you can do it.
      Here is just one article that may get you started: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ask-toh/deep-freeze-walkway
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 18, 2017

      I agree with Esteban.
    • Barb
      on Apr 3, 2018

      It is fantastic ! What a beautiful area and work done to make it so relaxing and inviting . I really love how the path turned out with the brick around on an angle as you made it .

      I love the trees I thought they were willow trees at first glance lol.Had to look at the leaves better.

      BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • Janice Wilder
    on Aug 18, 2017

    Bella!! Are those olive trees behind the pool?
  • Kitty Rozenstraten
    on Aug 18, 2017

    Something tells me that you didn't just randomly broke the old tiles. Did you use a tile cutter? How did you get so many different colors?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 18, 2017

      You are right. I used both a hammer and broke them randomly but also a cutter to cut them into smaller pieces.
  • June Joyce
    on Aug 18, 2017

    how much water did you bring to your wife's clean floor?

  • Anne
    on Aug 19, 2017

    Where did you acquire the colored tile pieces?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 19, 2017

      The colored tiles were tiles left over from a previous project. I bought them years ago at a regular store that sell building materials.
    • Kam28564965
      on Aug 19, 2017

      If you have a reuse store in your area you can try looking there.
    • Anne
      on Aug 19, 2017

      Thank you for the info, I think you said that in the directions, but there were so many pretty pieces, I thought surely you raided a tile store
  • Katherine
    on Aug 19, 2017

    Your work is truly beautful! Regarding the cement brick planters...I really love them and would like to make these. What did you do to the bottom of the planter? Is it open ? Did you attach a bottom of some sort?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 20, 2017

      Thanks! I didn't do anything to the bottom of the blocks, just left them as they are. But, if you want you could of course attach some kind of bottom to ensure that the soil is kept inside.
    • RC Leach
      on Aug 22, 2017

      You may have drainage problems, if you put a something on the bottom, though. I think I would try to figure out a means of retaining the soil in the blocks, (coffee filter paper maybe?) and draining the excess water out, and away from the walkway/steps.
    • Katherine
      on Aug 22, 2017

      Thakyou for our invites. I will take that under advisement
    • Jami Gonzales
      on Sep 17, 2017

      You can also use a diaper helps to keep the dirt and moisture in.
    • Muttley Motes
      on Sep 18, 2017

      You could take a contractor garbage bag (bin bag) and cut the height down. Open it up inside the beautiful planter you have created, then pierce small holes for some drainage.

      Put a layer of gravel and such to keep the holes from clogging and then fill with soil and plants. You could also take thin pieces of left over tile and shore up the edges of the bag around the sides.

      I love that you have reused materials, as well as made such a pretty and unique walk that you can enjoy, as well as be proud of! Congratulations and we'll done!

    • Jos21444234
      on Oct 9, 2017

      I really like the way you juxtaposition the bricks and tiles so that the whole walkway connects beautifully from patio to the pool steps without having to figure out how to curve the whole thing. Nicely done!
  • Peggy Marcum McCarter
    on Aug 20, 2017

    Beautiful and you are very talented!! How long did this take?
    • Ann-Christin Lövstedt
      on Aug 20, 2017

      It took a week but I didn't work the whole days (the tile adhesive needs to dry before you can put on grout so you need to wait).
  • Cheryl
    on Aug 30, 2017

    Could you do this on old concrete steps, rather than ugly outdoor carpet?

  • Teresa Navarro Tarazi
    on Oct 20, 2017

    Beautiful project. I have a curved cement stairway leading to our pool area. One area of the curve is really off. How do I add more cement to make it at least appear more even?
    • Dianne
      on Jul 21, 2018

      Make a square frame from 2x4's and place over the bad area then pour your concrete. Be sure to level it with the remaining part of your walk.

  • Gracie
    on Jul 21, 2018

    hi, did it just take a week from start to finish, including all the cutting of the millions of tile shapes, and what tool did you use?

    • Jamie Boyce
      on Jul 21, 2018

      Looks to me like an old bath towel and a hammer.

    • Gina Yarber
      on Dec 22, 2018

      You can also get tile nippers - as well as small tiles - at Hobby Lobby or hardware or craft stores.

  • Den33569603
    on Jul 21, 2018

    For those of us that HAVE FROST...even snow...is this even a possibility?!?!?

    • LorriLJ
      on Jul 22, 2018

      Yes. But you need to put gravel and sand to prevent heaving in the winter. The mosaics will hold up nicely if you seal them after grouting.

    • Amy Haines
      on Jul 28, 2018

      Porcelain tiles atre the only tile that are engineered to be “frost proof”

    • Grace Gleason
      on Dec 15, 2018

      I suspect they DO have frost and snow in Sweden. Don't you?

  • Karen Daly
    on Jul 21, 2018

    I have lots of used bricks. Does anyone have DYI to dress them up and use on an incline path.

  • Genie Medlin
    on Jul 28, 2018

    What is under the brick and tile to make the 3 stairs?

    • Theresa Stewart
      on Dec 15, 2018

      I believe the stairs were already there. The 1st pic shows the top stair closer up.


  • Kis7708465
    on Dec 15, 2018

    Can you come and do my backyard😉

  • Maggie
    on Dec 15, 2018

    What kind of paint did you use and did you use a dealer


  • Terry
    on Dec 15, 2018

    Wow!! What a great job, but I got to ask, were you a brick layer before taking on this project?

  • Jean
    on Dec 15, 2018

    Holy schmokies! What a lot of work! Beautiful results but I'd like more finish between the brickwork and tile in the walkways. Could you put sandbox sand in there or something? Still, GREAT JOB! jh

    • TOM
      on Dec 15, 2018

      mix sand and concrete powder together. pour over tiles, sweep it in and lightly spray with hose. may have to do seval times, but makes nice looking finish.


    • Dmb
      on Dec 15, 2018

      beautiful piece of art !!!

  • Virginia ann bowman
    on Dec 17, 2018

    Beautiful!!!! I love it. You did a fantastic job.


    Did you do the flowers "free-hand" or did you have a pattern for the flowers,e tc. that you followed?


    I love the idea of putting the pattern on the concrete bricks and use them for a planter. Looks great!! I love flowers and I really like this.

  • Cindi Eagle
    on Dec 22, 2018

    What to do with an uneven backyard, has a hump in the middle and I don’t have the money to have it fixed?

    • Maria d santis
      on Jul 5, 2019

      Unless it’s in your way, don’t fix it. Plant it. It sounds like it’s a berm.

    • Leslie
      on Jul 5, 2019

      Cindi, how tall is the hump and can you dig into it, if so, get some of the neighborhood kids to help you level it. Give them some money depending on the time it takes to level it. If you have no one to help make it a project and do it yourself. If the stuff you dig up is good soil save it by shaking it out into some heavy duty bags and save for your garden. Good luck.

    • Brad
      on Jul 5, 2019

      It's an ancient Indian burial ground. Don't mess with it, or a Poltergeist situation could happen to you.

    • Sandra Ross Warren
      on Jul 5, 2019

      OMG your comment made me snort! I wasn't expecting actual humor here! You made my morning! Thanx Brad!

    • Sandra Ross Warren
      on Jul 5, 2019

      Google berm landscaping, there are a lot of great ideas. Otherwise take a pickaxe to it to loosen it and spread it out even.

    • Rose
      on Jul 5, 2019

      Too funny Brad. The exact reason I have not touched the root humps in my yard. Are they really root humps???


      Any ideas on dealing with root humps on an incline? I can't chop the roots up and dig them out since my trees are still alive and I want to keep them.


      I would love to be able to level the space and put pavers or something there so we can enjoy the shaded space, but cost is the issue here too.

  • Michelle
    on Dec 24, 2018

    What can I inexpensively cover a large sandy area where I park my vehicle, even if its temporarily

    • Beth
      on Jul 5, 2019

      Your best bet, believe it or not, is indoor outdoor carpet. I know. Sounds awful. Install it carefully. Put lots of staples in so it doesn’t get all wadded up. Plan on smoothing it out fairly often.


      It will eliminate weeds and reduce the dirt on your shoes.

    • Sam12587
      on Jul 5, 2019

      my 5 cents would be landscape fabric with bark style mulch on top.

      The mulch will minimize tire ruts that could make it harder to move the vehicle tires over time. Also that type of mulch doesn't give splinters when wearing sandals. Different stores have different sizes of this mulch, I'd seek out the one larger peices of bark.


      The landscape fabric would kill weeds and help block out mud when wet. Due to the weight of the vehicle, I'd avoid cheap landscape fabric as I've had it tear within a week on heavily used spots...


  • Dawn
    on Jul 5, 2019

    Gorgeous! How heavy is the step? How long for the whole project?

  • Karen
    on Jul 5, 2019

    This is gorgeous art work! God bless you for your patience in doing this beautiful tiling! Will you come to my yard??

  • Sam12587
    on Jul 5, 2019

    I really like this mosaic on pavers idea. So versatile!

    I've done floor mosaics in a very dim jar manner and can't beleive I never thought of this....

  • Karen
    on Jul 6, 2019

    Beautiful,I love it,wanted to know was that an above pool dug in the ground halfway to make it look like that? Thanks

  • Diane Franklin Doletzky
    on Jul 7, 2019

    Ann-Christin, I am so impressed with your finished project! You are very talented and patient, too, with all of those tiny pieces! Thanks for showing us how to do a project carefully and so beautifully!!

    Diane In Arizona, USA

    • Mary
      on Jul 10, 2019

      I live the way you up cycled the pieces no was waste. I don't have pool but it looks beautiful.

  • Marie
    on Jul 12, 2019

    does anyone know if these tile mosaics would last outside in the winter in New England (zone 5) I really think they are beautiful but want to know about longevity..

    • Linda
      on Jul 12, 2019

      Yes it should be fine

    • Joann Ward
      on Jul 12, 2019

      I am in Georgia and our relatively mild winters (compared to Wisconsin, South Dakota or even North Carolina) broke pieces of tile in a snow fall. This is what happened to me. YMMV but caution IMO should be factored in.

  • Marie
    on Jul 12, 2019

    does anyone know if these tile mosaics would last outside in the winter in New England (zone 5) I really think they are beautiful but want to know about longevity..

    • Aaron
      on Jul 12, 2019

      This all matters how things came together. There is ways to make it work. With the humid, salt, water issues. Makes it harder. Better question. How long will it last. Use chicken wire, at very least, within the adhesives and completely coat them in the silicon/concrete/adhesive. No water let in. Even after full seal on top. You will have to at least, have to place some sort of sealant on top of it every year up there. If lucky, every two years

  • Becky Bright
    on Jul 12, 2019

    This is BEAUTIFUL!!! This the BEST thing I have seen on this site. Just wondering one this. Did you "rough up" the mosaic tiles? Or did you use some kind of coating for the top? The reason I ask is would they be slick and dangerous to walk on?? Major THUMBS UP on your project!! AWESOME!!

    • Aaron
      on Jul 12, 2019

      You can paint on top of tile now. Plus, typically anything like mosaic will have a natural slip resistance. Not Bc of the tiles top finish but the areas of broken and grout. The mosaic should be somewhat, naturally slip resistant. Not say that you can’t slip on it.

  • Diana
    on Jul 12, 2019

    I also want to know if the mosaic would be slippery? But absolutely love the whole project even tho it's time intensive. Especially likewhat you did to those ugly cinder blocks!😊 Diana S.

    • Aaron
      on Jul 12, 2019

      Look above. By in large. Answer is no. In a completely perfect world of you and spouse. You smaller should worry. If with broken tile, concrete, wood or whatever, nothing is perfect. Everything makes an abrasion. Even trump or Obama. Real world just does. No. Your mine using same mosaic. If you really worry, like, stepping right out of pool, focus on tiles with abrasions for the mosaic. It will only prob work about two years. Then replace again.

  • Tracyann
    on Jul 12, 2019

    I have a pallet of pavers and a pool I'm putting up we have a girl that drops down like this I'm going to try something like this it just opened my mind to a whole different way to do my yard thank you

  • Mary
    on Jul 12, 2019

    This is so awesome!❤️

  • Christine White
    on Jul 12, 2019

    Does your pool have a liner

    • Deborah
      on Jul 12, 2019

      You did such a great job! I love it! Wished I had this for the side of my home! Love the Art tile!

  • Nancy Schulze
    on Jul 12, 2019

    This is simply gorgeous!

    You did a beautiful job.

  • User
    on Jul 12, 2019

    I don’t have a question I’d just like to tell you I love love it,it’s beautiful

  • Luwanna Sue
    on Jul 12, 2019

    Absolutely beautiful! Excellent work! Love that you planted in the open cinder blocks!

  • Terry
    on Jul 12, 2019

    Absolutely gorgeous...

    Love this..

  • Colleen
    on Jul 12, 2019

    What could you do with skids?

  • Ruth
    on Jul 12, 2019

    Won't the tiles be slippery????


  • Merly
    on Aug 2, 2019

    how to best lift bad odors from a teenager shirts

  • Vicky
    7 hours ago

    Can you do this on flat Rock

Join the conversation

2 of 427 comments
  • Shirley Freeman
    on Nov 10, 2019

    you did a great job. I also like the colors.

  • Keren McComas
    3 hours ago

    Not really a question, just commenting on method. On the step rise, it is easier to measure the size first, design your pattern sitting at a work space, then when you are ready to add it to your riser space you use contact paper to lift it and move it. Place the design where you want to mastic wait 24 hours before you pull off the contact paper. Then grout. If a piece of your tile pulled away with the contact paper just use mastic to put it in place, then grout when it’s dry.

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