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Critique my hardscape In need of huge help :( Cant get it looking nice

ojustaboo

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15 Mar 2011
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201
Hi all, I'm one of those people who can fix almost anything, make almost anything, but when it comes to designing something myself, my brain tends to rebel.

I spoke to Dave at Aquarium Gardens, he was very helpful in picking me out hardscape to use in my new tank , we decided on a triangle display going from left to right, using Dragon Rock and Spider wood.

The tank is 126 lt

( Width) 80.00 cm

(Height) 45.00 cm

(Depth) 35.00 cm

I have watched tons of youtube vids etc, I still cant get anything to look OK to me.

At the moment I haven't put the soil in, just Lava rock, as I suspect I might have to add more lava rock and/or change it's shape (have loads spare). Going to be all soil, no sand

I'm not sure whether anyone can really help me as ultimately I need to put everything in and arrange it to my likeness, but just starting it off, I've spent hrs trying to get something that looks OKish and would welcome any advice

The Dragon Rock I have is

dragon rock.JPG


The spider wood I have is


spider wood.JPG



So far, just trying to get the top of the hill right, the best I've come up with (and it only uses 4 dragon rocks)




numerous tries.JPG


That looks sort of OK but then I try and add the largest bit of Spider wood

placed largest piece of wood.JPG


I still have all this rock left

rock still left.JPG


Any tips greatly appreciated

Thanks
 
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belgium
Hi, for a triangle display you have a lot of spiderwood, too much i think. The dragon rock looks nice, maybe try and start with the biggest pieces and make them point upwards instead of laying them flat like they are now. I'd try and use the smaller pieces and put them in front of the biggest pieces to make it look like a mountain wall and to support maybe a slanted big piece.
 

Kezzab

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18 Jan 2016
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Carlisle
I think spider wood is quite hard to use well because it tends to have no direction, Just a random tangle.

With what you have, why not try a valley composition? Stone providing the height on each side, then use wood to.poke into the middle.

Your draft scape looks like a pile at one end, if you are doing a triangle try and get your hardscape to stretch two thirds of the tank so your eye is drawn along the tank length.

It's tricky. Keep messing, don't limit yourself to trying one thing.
 

ojustaboo

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15 Mar 2011
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201
Did Dave send you a pic?
you’ve put a lot of lava in there,
I thought on the phone he said he would, but didn't get one. I've since told him that once I'm happy, I will send a pic so he can choose right plants for me

Can easily remove lava, only one I could find before xmas was a 25kg bag from Germany, got a bit carried away
 

ojustaboo

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Hi, for a triangle display you have a lot of spiderwood, too much i think. The dragon rock looks nice, maybe try and start with the biggest pieces and make them point upwards instead of laying them flat like they are now. I'd try and use the smaller pieces and put them in front of the biggest pieces to make it look like a mountain wall and to support maybe a slanted big piece.
Thanks, I don't mind having wood/rock spare, would rather have bought too much than not enough. Will give the upward rock idea a go and see how I get on (having central heating installed tomorrow so probably wont get to it until Tuesday but you never know)
 

ojustaboo

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I think spider wood is quite hard to use well because it tends to have no direction, Just a random tangle.

With what you have, why not try a valley composition? Stone providing the height on each side, then use wood to.poke into the middle.

Your draft scape looks like a pile at one end, if you are doing a triangle try and get your hardscape to stretch two thirds of the tank so your eye is drawn along the tank length.

It's tricky. Keep messing, don't limit yourself to trying one thing.
The reason I decided on a triangle is that the tank is in the front left hand corner of the living room. If on sofa you are looking at it front on. But in one of the armchairs, you would be looking through right hand side, hence I was trying to do something pleasing to both. But I will try various things and see how I get on. Thanks
 

ojustaboo

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I've spent ages having a play. The best rock placement I came up with (and it looks miles better in the photo than in real life) is

mine.JPG


At this point my wife said it still looked awful and can she have a go.

Her first attempt she came up with the following

Rock placement looking through tank both from right side and front

wife side.JPG


wife.JPG


Side and front views after her adding wood

wife side wood.JPG


wife wood.JPG
 

noodlesuk

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21 Jul 2020
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Oxfordshire
I've spent ages having a play. The best rock placement I came up with (and it looks miles better in the photo than in real life) is

View attachment 160994
Apologies to your wife, but I think your first effort above looks to be on the right track. Still looks too man made, especially with the rocks on top of rocks, the ones on the right, almost horizontal. I think taking away a few rocks, to create some gaps would create some more interest and break up the pile a bit.

Am by no means an expert, myself, but just my initial thoughts. :)
 

Tim Harrison

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You haven't really made it easy for yourself. Dragon stone and azalea root aren't exactly the easiest hardscape materials to work with. It becomes doubly difficult when you don't have much to choose from. The more you have the easier it becomes.

Personally, I'd buy more. You could do with some much bigger rocks, and more wood perhaps with longer thinner roots. Both will give you far more options. Your existing scape will work if you back it up against the left hand side more and pour in a load of AS so it's almost level with the rocks at the back.

This will make it easier to create the classic triangle scape you seem to be aiming for and give you a matrix in which to position your rocks more naturally, as well as providing plenty of planting pockets. It might also make it easier to position the wood. When you come to planting attach moss to the cut ends of the wood to hide them.

Below, a triangle scape created by banking AS...

 

ojustaboo

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You haven't really made it easy for yourself. Dragon stone and azalea root aren't exactly the easiest hardscape materials to work with. It becomes doubly difficult when you don't have much to choose from. The more you have the easier it becomes.

Personally, I'd buy more. You could do with some much bigger rocks, and more wood perhaps with longer thinner roots. Both will give you far more options. Your existing scape will work if you back it up against the left hand side more and pour in a load of AS so it's almost level with the rocks at the back.

This will make it easier to create the classic triangle scape you seem to be aiming for and give you a matrix in which to position your rocks more naturally, as well as providing plenty of planting pockets. It might also make it easier to position the wood. When you come to planting attach moss to the cut ends of the wood to hide them.

Below, a triangle scape created by banking AS...

Thanks, in my defense, I said to the shop that I know nothing about hardscaping, and I liked the layouts in both this vid




and this vid




I initially said I didn't want CO2 but after discussing this with him, I decided to go the CO2 route.

I did say I liked Dragon stone and Spider wood

He suggested as the tank was in left hand corner, doing a triangle, and he took the measurements of my tank and said he would pick out the spider wood and dragon stone needed for my sized tank and send a pic (never got pic).

He said 15KG of Dragon stone, 1 large, 2 med and 2 small redmoor should be fine and he would pick ones that go together well.

Including my CO2 reg (£157), I spent £329 on the hardscape with them, that doesn't include the £25 I spent on lava rock and the £32 I spent on soil. Bearing in mind I originally got permission from my darling wife to spend about £250 on plants, and I haven't bought a single one yet, spending more on hardscape would not go down very well :)
 

ojustaboo

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Perhaps arrange it something like this -

Build ‘a wall‘ with the stone and back fill with soil. Cosmetic sand in foreground.

Alternatively you could do the same and a carpet (less wall building needed!)

Thanks, I will try something like that tomorrow, minus the sand (don't want sand, had it for years, don't want it any more)
 

Wookii

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Thanks, in my defense, I said to the shop that I know nothing about hardscaping, and I liked the layouts in both this vid




and this vid




I initially said I didn't want CO2 but after discussing this with him, I decided to go the CO2 route.

I did say I liked Dragon stone and Spider wood

He suggested as the tank was in left hand corner, doing a triangle, and he took the measurements of my tank and said he would pick out the spider wood and dragon stone needed for my sized tank and send a pic (never got pic).

He said 15KG of Dragon stone, 1 large, 2 med and 2 small redmoor should be fine and he would pick ones that go together well.

Including my CO2 reg (£157), I spent £329 on the hardscape with them, that doesn't include the £25 I spent on lava rock and the £32 I spent on soil. Bearing in mind I originally got permission from my darling wife to spend about £250 on plants, and I haven't bought a single one yet, spending more on hardscape would not go down very well :)

To be honest if you have found some aquascapes that you like the look of, and you're finding you're not too great at designing a new hardscape yourself (most of us aren't - I know I'm not), don't be afraid to directly copy the basic structural designs you have already seen - including individual rock placements.

Also try not to sweat the hardscape design too much, or indeed try and use every last piece of hardscape you've bought. Both traps I tend to fall into myself, and have to force myself to use less hardscape, and to try not to worry too much about the design because what always happens is within a few months I can no longer see the damned hardscape anyway, as all the plants end up covering it as they grow in.

@Tim Harrison is right though, the more hardscape you have access to the easier you'll find things - most folks on here will have a secret massive stash of hardscape they'll likely never use in their lifetime - but I agree it is an expensive game. I buy most of my hardscape second hand on here or off eBay, and its significantly cheaper - then just go to the retailers for specific pieces you need to finalise a layout.
 

PARAGUAY

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If you can source some oak /beechor maybe hawthorn branches sevral together could give you the look your after or purchase some manzanita wood its a cost but you can reuse when needed so well worth the price
 

Yanee

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17 Nov 2020
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Put the hardscape together it is really not easy, especially with help from a distance, but always fun.
I would try to make 2 islands, positioned the bigger one higher, and put the woods on the top of them like up side down, branches pointing to top. That was my first thought.
Anyway, I hope you figure out something great!
 

Siege

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Thanks, Dave from Aquarium Gardens who sold me the hardscape, has seen this thread and messaged me to have a chat.

Cool. The wood should go together really nicely. Dave would have laid it out as he selected the wood for you.

I think why it’s being hard is the amount of lava you have, it’s unbalancing everything, if that makes sense.

Daves Probably one of the best scapers in the UK 👍
 
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Tim Harrison

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