This article is about Harland J. Hand's experiences with concrete while building and maintaining his own half-acre garden in El Cerrito, California. Hand used over 150 cubic yards of concrete in building its cliff, its benches, slabs, steps, stepping stones, planters and pools, which together make the principal and permanent backbone structure around which the other elements of the garden, including several thousand kinds of plants, are organized.
Elliptical pools, reinforced to resist cracking, were placed among concrete "rocks" of the garden as points of emphasis in the general flow of the garden design. Individually sculpted rocks were sprinkled with an uneven layer of dry cement to create a varied texture that would be enhanced with age. Large slabs and stepping stones, cast directly on the ground, were irregularly curved to resemble the exposed surface of a buried rock outcropping. Spaces between slabs were filled with soil for planting.