A path Paved with Copper?

by Rochelle Greayer

in Hotel and Spa Gardens, How To, Nuts + Bolts

I recently saw that the Standard Grill in the Standard Hotel in New York installed a floor paved with pennies. Ever the designer, I quickly calculated that cost per square foot for this (raw) material. A quick calculation comes in at a quite affordable $2.50/ sq. ft.

paving flooring made from pennies standard hotel standard grill NYC

My first thought was how interesting this might be in a garden. Of course there are so many different things to consider in garden design vs. interior design. Like how something might age or weather. How lovely would it be to have a path paved in copper? Or so I thought.

pennies penny floor standard grill standard hotel New york city

Images from Apartment Therapy

Did you know that pennies really aren’t copper any more? I think I knew this on some level but when thinking about outdoor paving, it really is quite an important consideration. You see, prior to 1983, all US pennies were 95% copper…so when they aged, they turned green. After 1983, they are now about 97% zinc. Zinc really doesn’t age and will stay looking the same (except perhaps dirty). I am not sure how hard it is to find copper pennies anymore, but wouldn’t this be a lovely accent in garden hardscaping? Maybe Copper pennies could be used to draw pictures in a zinc penny scheme that will become more visible with time?

green pennies

image from Thefuntimes guide.

Over at Apartment Therapy a Tova handily shared how she created a penny tiled floor in her bathroom:

First, I created a 12″ x 16″ template of a repeating “dot” pattern in illustrator sized to match the size of pennies, I glued the template a piece of cardboard and laminated the whole thing (with clear packing tape)
Then I bought some polyester netting and laid it on top of the template and started glueing. I used magna-tac glue because it dried quickly and the pennies didn’t pop off because if it’s rubbery texture. after the glue dried, I cut off the excess netting.
Then, I just sat in front of the TV for hours and hours watching Law & Order and CSI and glueing pennies. I was on maternity leave and my daughter slept a lot and I was feeling too lazy to be “productive” so I got a lot done.
When I had enough to cover the floor I bought traditional tiling materials at Home Depot and just laid the floor like they do on HGTV. (I watched a lot of that too) It was my first time tiling and it went pretty smooth. I bought a metal snipper and cut the pennies to go around the walls and toilet and sink pedestal. (that may be illegal. don’t tell on me) Then I grouted and sealed it with a grout & tile sealer.

What do you think? A good idea, or totally tacky during a recession? I love it, but want to hear what you think.