Does this idea make any sense?


The Cross House and adjacent carriage house are surrounded by concrete, due to their being, at respective times, a motel, boarding houses, apartments, fraternities, and on and on. So, over the last 120-years parking became The Issue, and miles of concrete were laid. Miles. I think there is more concrete at the Cross House than runways at a mid-sized airport.

I have yearned to tear up this expanse of gray hard surface but this was not on my Priority List, which is quite long.

But as any old house renovator will appreciate, sometimes things just, well, happen.

Last week I had to rent a digging machine to figure out the Water Issue at the carriage house. You see, shortly after buying the Cross properties, I realized that there was a leak in the water line leading to the carriage house, and was forced to shut the water off. And off the water remained, as it was not on the Priority List.

With tenants though now wanting to move in by the end of the year, providing water jumped to the top of the Priority List.

But where was the leak?

The magic machine effortlessly tore up the earth, and the leak was discovered. Whoee!

But as the magic machine was rented for the day, and discovering the leak took but a few hours, Justin asked: “Is there anything else you need done?”

As I pondered this, my eyes took in the vast expanse of cracked concrete which the magic machine was sitting on.

I replied: “Would it be hard to tear up this driveway?”

Justin, being male, got very excited at the idea of tearing up stuff with a big machine. He smiled. There was a devilish suggestion in the smile. I grew just a bit worried.



Looking for the leak. Justin left; Scott right.



So, how hard would it be to tear up the driveway?



Oh! Not hard at all!



Depositing chunks-o-crete.



An ever expanding pile of chunks.



And another pile.




We got one driveway removed. Just a few more to go.

This all was WAY cool.

It did not however occur to me about the next step. What to do with the concrete chunks?

What to do?

Some effort resulted in my contacting a builder in town, and receiving a quote. Oh dear. The quoted amount was one thing, but another concern was spending a lot of money to throw something away.

I mentioned this to a friend, who said: “Why not reuse the concrete chunks?”

“How?” I asked, bewildered. Then an idea sprouted.



The Cross House is right against Highway 50, a four-lane road in town.

Even before closing on the house I knew I wanted to create a back garden, and, critically, a large waterfall to screen out the traffic noise. I mean a waterfall five feet high, about four feet wide, and rushing in a silvery sheet down into a pool. SPLASH!

What though to make the waterwall of? Dressed limestone would be great, as it would match the foundation of the Cross House. But dressed limestone would also cost an alarming amount, so no way. Concrete blocks stuccoed over? Ah, no.

After pondering this for over a year, today a solution arrived: concrete chunks. Chunks already on hand.

I can have the chunks layered horizontally atop each other to form a wall, and with a large slab at the very top, so that the waterfall will drop freely to the pool (rather than cascading down a chunk incline). The noise level should be high. Whoee!

It would not take long for the chunks to develop lichen, and I could also plant moisture-living plants into pockets in the wall.

I think, think, this will all look fabulous.

What do you think?



Sorta kinda somewhat like…this.



  1. Sharol on August 26, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Brilliant!!!!! If you need more concrete chunks I know where some are…

  2. Merryl Mouse McRae on August 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    A man with many visions!!! I like it!

  3. Paul Lillo on August 27, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Awesome Idea. I used my chunks from a busted up walkway that surrounded my house as flagstones for a new patio in my backyard garden. I love it. I also outlined the patio and backyard flowerbeds with old Spanish roof tiles when my neighbor had her roof replaced.

  4. Barb Sanford on August 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Genius! It will be a beautiful addition to a beautiful house.

  5. Grace on September 26, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Totally love creative repurposed anything!

  6. Seth Hoffman on October 13, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Broken concrete stacked to build other structures is often called “urbanite” (clever play on a name to make it sound like a mineral type). The short retaining wall beside our driveway that supports the terraced front yard was built of this. Although it wasn’t done very well, it doesn’t look too bad.

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