I am a fool for heavy pots—I mean con­tain­ers. Clay pots, iron pots, wooden pots, con­crete pots. I like pots that won’t blow away in the wind and that make you think twice about rear­rang­ing the gar­den furniture.

So dur­ing this, My DIY Sum­mer*, I vowed to begin my quest with my new-found fas­ci­na­tion with con­crete to try my hand at mak­ing some heavy pots. Thank good­ness Lowe’s asked me to join their Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas blog­gers group so I would have a dead­line and a Lowe’s gift card as an incen­tive. You should check back here through­out the next few months, because there are more projects, give­aways and other blog­gers’ projects to explore.

This rus­tic, but dec­o­ra­tive, con­tainer fits right in with my gar­den decor. I found all the mate­ri­als I didn’t already have on-hand at Lowe’s. The actual work time would, I would esti­mate, be about one hour. And the beauty of this project is that I now have the mate­ri­als on-hand for other con­crete projects. (I already have some started, so stay tuned for that.) Here’s how I did it.

Step 1. Assem­ble your sup­plies. Nearly all of these sup­plies can be pur­chased at Lowe’s. I give you the prices I paid below. My local Lowe’s gives mil­i­tary fam­i­lies a 10% dis­count, so bring your ID and make sure to ask.

Mate­ri­als you will need include:

  • - Plas­tic stor­age con­tain­ers or other con­tain­ers to serve as inner and outer forms. Make sure there is about 1.5″ — 3″ between all the walls so there is enough con­crete for strength. If you’re super-handy, you can build forms. I kept it sim­ple for this maiden voy­age into the world of con­crete. ($13.72)
  • - Con­crete mix (quan­tity depends on the size of the con­tainer) ($4.64)
  • - Oil (on-hand—from the kitchen)
  • - Water
  • - Chicken wire or other wire to rein­force the con­crete cut to fit slightly smaller than each of the sides and bot­tom (on-hand)
  • - Wire cut­ters (on-hand)
  • - Mix­ing bucket (pur­chased pre­vi­ously — on-hand)
  • - Mix­ing tools (I used an old hoe and hand trowel)
  • - Safety mask ($2.53)
  • - Gloves ($6.80)
  • - Corks or other mate­r­ial to make drainage holes (I made a sac­ri­fice and drank some wine. But only for the corks.)
  • - Dec­o­ra­tive rocks ($6.84)
  • - Plants ($11.56)
  • - Pot­ting mix (on-hand)
  • - Twigs (on-hand)
  • - A bit of twine, wire or string (on-hand)

Total cost for out-of-pocket mate­ri­als I didn’t have on-hand:  $46.09. The real beauty is that I now have some of the mate­ri­als to make other con­crete projects. Stay tuned on that.

Step 2. Don your fetch­ing safety mask and gloves before you even open the bag of con­crete mix. Con­crete is amaz­ingly dusty and you don’t want to inhale this stuff into your lungs. If you get it on your skin, it is very caus­tic. Wash imme­di­ately and rinse with vine­gar. Just wear gloves, okay?

Put the con­crete in one area of your mix­ing con­tainer and the min­i­mum amount of water called for on the con­crete mix in the other. Grad­u­ally pull the dry con­crete mix into the water, mix­ing thor­oughly and knead­ing it with the tool. You want to mix it very thor­oughly and not have any dry mix lin­ger­ing at the bot­tom of your con­tainer or at the edges. Add water, as needed, but do not add more water than nec­es­sary to make a soft, clay-like mix. Too much water will make your con­crete project sus­cep­ti­ble to crack­ing and breaking.

Step 3. Oil the inside of your outer mold and the out­side of your inner mold—the places where the con­crete will touch. Start with a bit of con­crete on the bot­tom of the outer con­tainer, cov­er­ing the bot­tom and tamp­ing down firmly to get good coverage.

Step 4. Add your chicken wire or other rein­forc­ing mate­r­ial. Oil your corks or other drainage hole mate­ri­als and insert them through the con­crete. Make sure you clear the space below so you don’t have a con­crete layer obscur­ing the hole. Add more con­crete to cover the rein­forc­ing wire and secure the corks.

 

 Step 5. Put the inner mold into place. Add the rein­forc­ing wire on all sides and begin adding the con­crete mix on both sides. Keep pack­ing it in and pack­ing it down thoroughly.

Step 6. Smooth out the top of the form. If you are adding dec­o­ra­tive rocks, wedge them into the con­crete mix and secure them in place. Wipe the rocks clean with a wet paper towel.  Once that is done, walk away for two days.

Step 7.   After two days, invert the con­tainer forms to remove your brand new plant­ing con­tainer. Let is sit for another cou­ple of days, spritz­ing it with water from time to time so it doesn’t dry out too quickly, mak­ing it more prone to crack­ing. Clean up the dec­o­ra­tive rocks again with a moist cloth.

Step 8. Remove the corks and ensure your drainage holes are large and unobscured.

Step 9. Add your plants. I planted a Stars & Stripes Man­dev­illa vine—which seemed appro­pri­ate head­ing into the Memo­r­ial Day weekend—and a few petu­nias. The Man­dev­ille vine will grow up to cover the tepee, with blooms all sum­mer long.

Step 10. Cre­ate a tepee with the twigs, secur­ing it at the top with twine, string or wire. Voila!

 

Lowe’s has some pretty cool Pin­ter­est boards too. Go check them out.

*My DIY Sum­mer was inspired by three forces: 1) A whole slew of new books about gar­den projects 2) The fact that my son is in col­lege and tuition is expen­sive and 3) I still have expen­sive tastes, despite the fact that I am pay­ing col­lege tuition.

 

 

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10 Comments

  • Layanee says:

    Oh, nice. You could make a bunch and go into busi­ness to help out with col­lege expenses…maybe not. Heavy work in bulk.

  • Really nice, Robin! I want to do some con­crete projects, too. I’ve got a cou­ple of books that have some super ideas. I like how you added the dec­o­ra­tive rocks in the top.

  • Diana/Sharingnaturesgarden says:

    Very cool. I’m still decid­ing about the Cre­ative Ideas team invite — I still have a nine year old at home! Love the con­crete– you make it look so easy!

  • Dale says:

    You stole my plan. I was JUST get­ting ready to do some­thing like this soon. I was plan­ning on try­ing to mix in some ver­mi­culite to lighten it ever so slightly. Love these type of planters.

  • Gale says:

    First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick ques­tion in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was inter­ested to know how you cen­ter your­self and clear your head before writ­ing. I’ve had a hard time clear­ing my thoughts in get­ting my thoughts out. I do enjoy writ­ing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 min­utes are lost sim­ply just try­ing to fig­ure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Cheers!

  • Great idea, and it turned out very nice!

  • Jodie says:

    Love it. Another craft night idea. At the rate I’m going, craft night will have to be every night.

  • Robin says:

    I’ve always wanted to make my own con­crete planter! Your planter looks great, I love the dec­o­ra­tive
    rocks!

  • Stephanie says:

    I love your Lowes pot!…Our mas­ter gar­dener group is hav­ing a work­shop soon on mak­ing these.…Our for­mer coor­di­na­tor learned to make them last year.…Im def­i­nitely sign­ing up…Thanks for the hands on pictures…That always helps me when learn­ing some­thing new..

  • Stephanie says:

    I love your Lowes pot!…Our mas­ter gar­dener group is hav­ing a work­shop soon on mak­ing these.…Our for­mer coor­di­na­tor learned to make them last year.…Im def­i­nitely sign­ing up…Thanks for the hands on pictures…That always helps me when learn­ing some­thing new..