The term grotto refers to any small cave or cave-like structure. Grottoes are found in many places in nature, including near bodies of water where the water erosion has carved small caves into rock. People have been using natural grottoes for shelter since prehistoric times. These small caves also are sometimes used to store relics or religious artifacts. Whether you want a grotto to display a favored religious statue or relic, or you want to create a backyard oasis, here are a few steps to follow.
Decide what type of grotto you want to make. Grottoes can be large or small, wide or narrow and crafted from virtually any material. Look at examples of grottoes on the Internet or in landscape design books and magazines, and find a style you like.
Select a location for your grotto. This could be somewhere in your own yard, or perhaps you are doing it as part of a community or park restoration project. Wherever you choose to place your grotto, you will need to take precise measurements to make sure you build a grotto that will fit within the space.
Sketch out your grotto design. Begin by drawing out what you want, and then add in the specific measurements once you're happy with the design. Next, draw your grotto to scale and include all the pertinent measurements.
Determine what tools and supplies you will need. The supplies you will need depends on your grotto size and what it will be constructed from. It might be beneficial to price supplies before finalizing these decisions so you can make sure you can afford the project. A basic grotto shape can be formed using wood and chicken wire, which are fairly inexpensive materials. You will need to cover the shape with something such as plaster or cement to form the actual grotto. Figure out the best materials, and make sure they fit your budget before purchasing them.
Construct your grotto. You'll first construct the shape with wood and chicken wire. Once you're happy with the shape, cover the chicken wire with whatever materials you've decided will work best for you. You should consider the environment and elements when deciding what will work best for your grotto. Make sure you allow all materials time to dry or cure between steps for best results.
Decorate your grotto. Adding shells or stones of a faux finish to the surfaces of your grotto can make it look more appealing. Faux stones designed to look like boulders can be purchased online, or you can embed shells into the surface of your grotto. Now that the grotto is completed, use your imagination to give it that extra touch.