Make your own attractive, modern-looking planters from cinder blocks and resurfacing cement with this easy home decor project.
By Gabrielle Stanley Blair
A thoughtfully designed home is one of the greatest gifts we can give our families. In Design Mom: How To Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide (Artisan Books, 2015), blogger and mom Gabrielle Stanley Blair provides simple and fun projects to make fun, memorable and useful decorations for your home, ranging from large-scale projects to rainy-day DIY. This cement planter comes from the section “The Entryway.”
Photographs by Lindsey Johnson
I love the modern, industrial look of cement planters, but I find them cost prohibitive—especially in large sizes, and especially if I want to group several to greet guests at our front door. So I figured out a simple way to make some at home. The main ingredients are cinder blocks and a cement mix made for resurfacing. This project is so inexpensive and easy, you’ll want to make a dozen!
• Landscape cement glue and four 12-inch concrete pavers (for large planter) or single cinder block (for small planter)
• Ardex Feather Finish cement mix in gray
• Small hand trowel
• Hand sander or sandpaper block
• Rag or sponge
• Concrete sealant
1. For the large planter, create a cube using cement glue and the four pavers, with an open bottom and top. For the small planter, any small concrete cinder block will work. No gluing necessary.
2. Mix the Ardex Feather Finish with water, two parts cement mix to one part water. If needed, add water until the consistency is similar to that of thick pancake batter. Use a small hand trowel to spread the cement in a thin layer (approximately 1⁄8 inch thick) on all four sides and the top surface of the concrete cube. It does not need to be “neat” or perfectly smooth.
3. Once the cement is dry (this can take several hours, or even overnight depending on the weather), use a hand sander or sanding block to sand down any obtrusive cement ridges so that the surface feels generally smooth. Again, it should not be perfect. The goal is to have the marks from the trowel, and any inconsistencies in the cement, show up on the surface.
4. Using a household rag or sponge, apply concrete sealant to the sanded surface. Let it dry, and your cement planter is ready to hold potted plants. If you’d like to plant directly in the planter, use a piece of burlap or mesh to create a “cup” or “bowl” at the bottom of the cube to hold the soil, while still allowing water to pass through.
Excerpted from Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair, photos by Lindsey Johnson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015.