The trend in outdoor living areas continues to grow as homeowners seek to make the most use of their property. Resort style features like backyard waterfalls, caves and grottoes are becoming accessible to these customers as new and advanced systems are being developed to replicate the look and feel of these elements found in nature.
The Neptune Panels system is a new system that enables contractors to help homeowners realize their resort fantasy in their own backyard.
Neptune panels have a wide diversity of uses, and one great example is constructing grottoes and caves. These methods can take your water feature or outdoor living area design to a whole new level. Using some of the basic methods for creating a Neptune water feature with a few additional steps you can produce a gorgeous, resort style feature right in your own backyard.
- Start by making your Neptune panels from your molds while you are working on other phases of you project so that when it is start time you can work in a productive manner and there is no wasted time. Remember by using the molds to make different shapes in the panels it will be easier to find the “fitting” piece when building and help in making a more powerful feature.
- Depending where your grotto is being built will determine the amount of time needed for prep work. Generally you will need at least a day min. and quite a bit of steel with a varying amount of gauges. Typically sonotubes are used with rebar inserted and concrete poured inside for a structural base. Using higher gauge steel where needed continue to bend and tie your rebar together to create a structural steel grid.
- Once you have secured all of your rebar and poured any footers/sonotubes required for your project you can begin to attach your panels to the grid. Start and complete the inside before moving to the outer panels. This will allow you to cover the backs of the panels with concrete to give the extra structural strength needed. Continue with the same method for the outer panels.
- With all the panels tied and secured you can mud and seam all the joints and openings. Be sure to texture the fresh mud and brush in all seams. You will want to hydraulic cement all areas that will be covered by flowing water. It is also smart to do the same to the entire top even where water will not be, this will help seal out any rain or weather from seeping in and causing drips below.
- Now it is time to color your feature. Using Neptune stains and a color scheme in mind spray and brush on stains. When you have completed coloring, be sure that you and your client are happy with the look before sealing as it is very difficult to fix the color after it has been sealed. Once you have agreed on the look go ahead and apply a coat of sealer to finish up your project!