By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
There are many creative garden ideas out in the world. Whether you want traditional round concrete flower pots or snazzy rectangular planters, the sky is the limit with a little cement and know how.
Concrete doesn’t seem to be a medium that translates in the natural garden, but it can add some interest and inspiration with your creative touches. Plus, it is easy to work with and can even be tinted to suit personal preferences. You can customize them to almost any size, with concrete planter ideas that are grandiose or diminutive cuties for succulents and smaller plants. We’ll walk through some basic DIY cement planters that will inspire you and give you the tools to get started on your own.
Making cement planters starts with a form of some sort. This depends largely on the size and shape you want. For a beginner, plastic containers of any shape make a perfect start but a more adventurous crafter may want to make their own form out of plywood. You will need two forms, one smaller than the other.
Tupperware, empty food containers or specially purchased forms will do for easy projects. Screwed together plywood forms can allow for larger, more interesting shapes. Go round, vertical, oval, square, put a large planting space or a little one, whatever strikes your mood.
Once you have a form for your DIY cement planters, you need the rest of the materials. Quick setting concrete will get your project finished more quickly but you can also use standard cement.
Once you have your cement, you will need a bucket or wheelbarrow in which to mix the powder, as well as a ready water source. The most important step is to prepare your forms so the concrete comes out easily. Coat each form with cooking oil. Completely cover the inside of the larger form and the outside of the smaller. You may also choose to line them with aluminum foil and pan spray. Taking time to do this thoroughly will ensure an easy extraction of the forms.
Mix the concrete well until creamy, thick. For concrete flower pots, add a generous amount to the exterior larger form until almost filled to the top. Then nestle the interior form into the concrete, pushing out excess cement. If using a plywood form, nestle the interior form upside down in the larger shape before adding concrete. This will make a large planting container.
Fill around the interior shape and use a wooden stick to push out air bubbles. Drainage holes are made by either coating dowels with petroleum jelly and pushing them through the bottom or drilling them out with a cement bit later after the substance cures.
In about 18 hours, you can remove the inner form and the dowels. Wait 24 hours before removing the outer form. Coat the planters with masonry seal if you wish or keep them natural. After a few of these, you will be ready to move on to larger projects like a bench or bird bath.
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These DIY concrete planters are simple to make in just a weekend and with materials you may already have around the house. They look modern with unique shapes that come straight from the recycling bin! Grab just a few supplies and let’s make concrete garden pots!
I made these concrete planters many years ago, and have since made many more for gifts and to decorate my home garden.
At the time I didn’t write out the whole tutorial with steps and materials, so here it is:
Make the cement mixture in a bin using one gallon peat, one gallon "Portland" cement, and one gallon perlite. Wear a mask to avoid breathing dust and use gloves when mixing, as concrete can burn the hands.
Slowly add approximately 2 1/2 quarts of water as if you were making dough, being sure to add the last part of water slowly. Humidity can affect how much water you need. The mixture should clump in your fist and hold its shape.
Transfer the mixture to a smaller bin. Use any container to shape. If you use metal, oil the interior to prevent binding. Next, shape the mixture into the bin. To avoid suction, use a flexible container. Pack it very tightly to the bottom and sides.
Place a lid on the bin to prevent the mixture from drying unevenly, which affects curing. Then, place it in plastic bag.
Leave the mixture in the bin for two to three days to dry.
Remove the planter from the bin by turning it upside down, being careful not to drop it. Dust loose concrete from the top edges.
Let this air dry for another week.
To create optional drainage, we recommend drilling holes in the bottom.
Finally, fill the planter with shallow-rooting arrangement.
We are going to start his guide with the material that you’ll need to build this concrete planter. You need to purchase some fine smooth concrete, foam brush, cooking oil, rocks, towel, a concrete drill bit, plastic containers to dorm your concrete molds, and a few other supplies. So, for the first step in making this, you need to thoroughly grease the plastic containers with cooking oil so that the concrete you’ll pour later won’t stick and will be removed with ease when it must have dry and hardened. The rest of the steps are super easy to follow. The concrete planter is also quite small, if you need something bigger, probably try another guide.
Now that you have it all, let’s move on to the most interesting part: make cement pots. The first thing to do is cover the outside of the smallest container and the inside of the larger one with nonstick oil . Then, follow this step by step:
CONCRETE PLANTERS CAN BE USED ALSO WITH SUCCULENT PLANTS
Every special pot for plants that boasts must have their holes so that the irrigation water that may come out. Therefore, we must proceed to cut 2 to 4 pieces of PVC pipe with a height of at least 2.50 cm.
With the gloves on, you have to mix 3 parts of sand for 1 of cement with a little water in a basin or in a separate bucket. As the amount that is going to be needed to make the cement pot is rather small, it is necessary to pour the water little by little to avoid it being very watery. At this time you will have to add the color for cement if you wish.
Once the pasta is made, you have to throw it into the larger container , but only the right amount so that the smaller container can fit without problem (about 5cm). The tubes that will make the holes for the drainage must be placed now, taking care that they are not covered by cement.
By the way, if you do not want the tubes to be visible , spray them with nonstick oil before placing them. So, when the
concrete planters are already made, you can easily remove them.
With great care, you have to place the small container inside the large one , applying a little pressure downwards.
To finish with the mold, you must add more cement between the large container and the small container . Insert the spatula into it so that it fits well.
Now that everything is almost done, you have to wait 24 hours for the cement to begin to harden and set well. After that time, you have to wet the cement pots a little with a sprayer with cold water, and remove the small container.
The large container is the one that holds the cement pots and, therefore, is the most difficult to remove. To do it without problem, you have to cover it with a piece of large plastic, and wet it with cold water so that the cement stays wet for a week .
After seven days, remove the plastic and place the pot upside down. Now, tap the plastic container , both on both sides and at its base. Then you can remove the container, and you can see how your cement pots have been.
The plastic containers have to be cleaned well, since they can be used to make new pots .
concrete planters or cement pots are very resistant and very easy to make. With a little patience, our plants may be in pots that do not require any maintenance , since they will withstand the inclemency of the weather. Without a doubt, it’s worth waiting a week to have a much more personal patio or terrace, do not you think?
You can even make drawings in your pots once finished, using synthetic enamel that also resists moisture very well.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.