Architectural shotcrete can be used to enhance the environment of almost any type of project, from backyard pool areas and dramatic rock and water entry features to world-class theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios. The versatility, strength, and durability of shotcrete can be combined with the natural appearance of rockwork to make a visually pleasing structure in a natural setting.
The use of shotcrete to create natural looking rockwork originated more than three decades ago. One of the earliest uses was in the creation of artificial boulders for use in museum exhibits in the Southwest. This type of work then evolved into the creation of rock and water features for residential swimming pools to enhance the surrounding hardscape with natural looking, sculpted rock features.
In residential applications, skilled craftsmen work alongside the shotcrete crew while the pool shell is constructed. Depending on the size of the feature, a steel mat is tied into the reinforcing cage of the pool using No. 3 reinforcing bar at 6 in. (15 cm) on center. As the pool is shotcreted, a mound in the rough shape of the feature to be constructed is shot simultaneously. This mound can then be shaped and sculpted by the rock crew until the desired shape and form is achieved. Once that is accomplished, the shotcrete is slick- toweled and then covered with the necessary material used to give the shotcrete a texture similar to natural stone.
Because of the structural characteristics of shotcrete and the natural look of sculpted rock, the project possibilities are endless. This has opened the door to projects incorporating caves, playgrounds, slides, and retaining walls in both residential and commercial settings. As these features become larger and more complex, the structural aspect becomes more significant. Structural ledges and overhangs can be con-structed so that water flows over, but can be walked under. Caves can be constructed within the rockwork so that pumping equipment can be housed, protected, and hidden. This type of feature can be constructed by using No. 3 rein-forcing bar at 6 in. (15 cm) on center. A heavy metal lath is placed on the underside of the