DIY Concrete Garden Globes

concrete garden balls

 

Who doesn’t like garden art? Who likes to put it away? Not me.  We live in a harsh climate where sometimes we don’t have anything too interesting to look at for quite a while.  One way for us to fix this, is by putting out garden art.  But, who wants to take it in and out every year. Or, hope the sun, rain, or wind does not damage it too much. I saw these really cool globes at the garden center that were so colorful but made of metal or plastic.  They would add a ton of color and brightness to an otherwise sad yard in the harsh months.  The prices for some these were $35.00-$125.00 depending on how they were made.  No way am I paying that price when I can have 60 mph winds gusting through my valley.  Could you imagine all my pretty globes rolling down the road? Well, there goes that idea.

shiny concrete garden globe

Then when I was de-cluttering my magazine collection,  I noticed there was directions on how to make concrete globes for the yard.  Hmmm, I am pretty sure wind would not blow those away!  I watched the video from BHG.com/GardenBall.  The video directions seemed pretty easy so I wanted to share them with you.  If you would like to watch the video, click the link above.

 

Concrete Garden Globes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Inexpensive and fun idea for your yard or patio. Can be painted or stained for cool color options.
Author:
Ingredients
  • Small bucket
  • Newspaper to line bucket
  • Glass globe for a light fixture
  • Cooking spray
  • Large flexible plastic bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • 5 pound bag of concrete or mortar mix
  • Water
  • Stir stick
  • Heavy- duty plastic bag for the globe to fit inside
  • Safety glasses
  • Hammer
  • Soft cloth
Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of the globe with cooking spray
  2. Put on gloves and glasses
  3. Place concrete or mortar in large flex bucket
  4. Add water until it is the consistency of a thick milkshake
  5. Pour into the globe(s)
  6. Place in newspaper lined bucket to set up for 48 hours for concrete and 1 week for mortar
  7. Place dried globe in heavy duty plastic bag
  8. Glasses on, hit gently with hammer until the glass is removed from the globe
  9. Remove globe and wipe any remaining glass
  10. Seal with paint, stain, or concrete sealer. Or leave unsealed.
Notes
Start with a half bag of concrete as the glass globe sizes will vary. Using the concrete will produce a matte finish as mortar will result in a shiny finish. Seal if left out all year.

Adapted from BHG.com/gardenball

DIY Hypertufa Pots

Hypertufa Planter with Decorative egde

Hypertufa

A type of concrete mix that mimics tufa rock troughs that were used in Alpine gardens as planters.  English gardens started using tufa troughs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hypertufa was developed in the 1930’s to replicate these rustic looking troughs without all the weight.  Hypertufa uses portland cement, perlite and peat moss to help lighten the load.  Portland cement is type 1 cement. It can come in either white or gray, your preference.  Quickcrete is one brand of portland cement.

The planters are porous which make them good for plants which need good drainage. The pots are also completely weatherproof even in winters down to -30°. In fact, due to their portability, these can be made for just about any use you have in your yard, big or small.

Keep in mind this is NOT an exact science, so you will need to be a little flexible until you get your groove!  So, if you loved to make mud pies when you were little, this is going to be a blast for you.  Let’s go—

Supplies~

  • mixing tub
  • measuring container
  • Nonstick cooking spray (yes, cooking spray)
  • peat moss
  • perlite
  • Portland cement
  • dust mask
  • rubber gloves
  • trowel
  • plastic drop cloth, large enought to cover whole pot
  • containers for mold (same shape)
  • wire brush
  • optional fibermesh (concrete reinforcer)
  • powdered concrete tint

Recipe~

  • 1 part portland cement general purpose/type 1)
  • 1 1/2 parts sphagnum peat moss
  • 1 1/2 parts perlite

Directions~

Mixing. Wearing gloves and mask, mix with trowel the cement, perlite and peat moss in the mixing tub. Add water slowly, stopping and testing consistency until when squeezed in your hand, it stays together and doesn’t release more than a few drips of water.

hypertufa consistency

Building. Place the container upside down on your drop cloth.  This will hold the inside shape for your plants. Spray container lightly with nonstick spray.  Build up the sides, packing it down firmly. Stay close to the same thickness checking this by inserting a pencil randomly into the mix to check the depth.  A 1 to 2 inch layer will help your pot stay strong.  *TIP:  Place rosemary, evergreen springs, or twigs around your containers so you can have a cool top edge on your finished products.

Building up your pot

Drainage. Once the pot is completely covered, use your finger or a pencil to place a drain hole in the bottom center of the pot.  Make sure to pat the bottom of the pot to give it a nice flat surface to sit on when planted up.

drainage hole

Cover.  Once your pot is formed, cover the whole pot with the drop cloth.  You want it to dry slowly, which prevents cracks.  Place it in a safe and shady spot for about 1 day.

Removing rough spots

Brush. After one day, remove the container and brush top and edges to smooth rough spots and give it that rustic look.  Remove any decorations that may have used.
Final dry time

Cover.  Place your pot back into your plastic to finish drying slowly for another 2 days. Then unwrap and leave outside where it can get wet, preferably not by any plants. Spray with the hose for a few weeks or leave out in the rainy spring weather to wash away any residual lime out of the container.  Plants do not do well with lime! The planter will take up to 2 months to finish curring at which time it will be ready to use.

This recipe was adapted from the Fine Gardening website, which I love!  It is one of my favorite goto gardening helpers.  I still have my first hypertufa pot which has lasted me 6 years now with the cold Wisconsin winters.

Advanced Planters

When you are ready to move onto more dynamic shapes and sizes, flip the container upright. Pack hypertufa on the bottom and slightly up the sides. Place a similar shape container but smaller inside the larger container leaving 1-2 inches for your walls after packing.

Container ideas: This can be done with baskets (outside covered with duct tape to seal), milk cartons, metal mixing bowls, and wood boxes.  Let your imagination soar with this project!  I would love to receive pictures of some finished projects.  😉
plastic containersbasketweave pattern

 

 

 

I love this item for more inspiration:

Sand Cast Leaf Birdbath

Homemade Concrete Birdbath

Concrete Birdbath

Looking for a project easy to make and long lasting? This is it. It will look stunning in your yard or as a birdbath.  Smaller leaves can be used for decoration on outdoor tables.

Materials:
  • Large leaf (Large: rhubarb, gunnura or large hosta leaves or small: datura, oak, maple)
  • 1 bag of sand or pile of dirt from yard
  • 2 bags of concrete, makes two large leaves (Quickcrete or vinyl patch concrete)
  • Water
  • Plastic tub
  • Tubular concrete form
  • Paint or concrete dye (optional)
  • Concrete sealer
  • Tools:
  • Bucket or mixing tray for concrete
  • Hoe for mixing
  • Scrub brush
  • Paint brush
  • Foam brush
  • 2 contains for paint and sealer, environmentally safe
  • Latex gloves

 

Instructions:

Make your sand or soil pile. You’ll need the pile large enough to rest your leaf over it with a little running past leaf edges. Smooth to make a dome. This is so the leaf forms a bowl to hold water. Cover the pile with plastic so the concrete won’t stick.

Leaf time: Lay the leaf face down over the pile. Make sure stem is trimmed close to the leaf bottom. If there are any holes in the leaf, just cover with a piece from another leaf. If the stem is thick or bulky, you may need to take a  hammer and break it down a little to lay flat.                                                            

Sand Cast Leaf Materials

Mix the concrete:  Pour the dry concrete mix into the bucket or tray. Slowly add the water to the bucket until the consistency of brownie batter. Thick enough to stay put on the leaf but not too thick to spread. For a large rhubarb leaf, it takes about ¾ of a 40# bag of vinyl patch concrete.

place leaf over sand pile

Spread the concrete:  Scoop some concrete onto the center of the leaf and work outwards toward the edges. Try keeping it even. Be generous on any big leaf veins. Try to keep it around ¾ inch thick in the middle and ¼ thick at the edges. You can use a pencil to test the depth.

cover leaf with concrete mix

Once the leaf is completely covered, top it with plastic wrap. If it is hot outside, place a moist towel or burlap over it to help it dry evenly. It generally takes about 48 hours to be ready to handle.

When the leaf has dried, but before it has cured, very carefully turn it over paying attention to the edges as they can break off very easily. Now the plastic wrap can come off along with the leaf. It should come out pretty easy but if not, you can use the scrub brush. Any pieces that remain will dry up and can then be brushed off. The birdbath will still need to cure for about another week. Keep it dry till then.

sand cast rhubarb leaf
If you choose to not paint your leaf make sure you use an environmentally safe sealer. If you choose to paint it first, mix 3 drops of acrylic paint to 2 cups of water for a thin wash and paint it in thin layers.  This project was adapted from gardengatemagazine.com.

colored sand cast bird bath