Build a space-saving stack of succulents or other plants by suspending flower pots over a concrete-block base. Make one, or create a row of them to serve as a privacy screen.
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Since these flower pots will be suspended above the display area, consider using succulents — as we did in the image above — to fill them. Succulents make excellent use of water and don't require as much care as other plant types. They also come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, so you can mix and match them to you create an eye-catching display. Take a look at Succulents: Selecting, Planting & Organizing to learn how to choose and use these low-maintenance plants.
These instructions explain how to make a single planter tower. To make two or more, multiply the part quantities by the number of towers you want.
Cut a cedar board as long as the width of the board (about 7-1/2 inches) to create a square. Place the concrete block on top of the square board with the openings at the top and bottom, and then trace the outline of the opening and the shape of the slot onto the board. Set the block aside. Drill a 3/8-inch hole inside the square you traced and near the outline. Using a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade, cut out the opening along the line. Then cut out the shape of the slot. Sand away any rough edges with 120-grit sandpaper.
To save time and lumber, you could skip the cedar top for the concrete block. Instead, simply prime and paint the top of the block around the opening to complement the colors of the slotted steel strips.
Using a hacksaw or jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade, cut eight 7-5/8-inch-long pieces of slotted steel strips and another eight pieces 7-3/4 inches long. File off any rough edges, wash the pieces with a degreasing dishwashing liquid, and dry them thoroughly before painting.
Apply a spray-on or brush-on metal primer to one side and the edges; let dry. Paint four each of the 7-5/8-inch and 7-3/4-inch slotted steel strips on the primed side with Bus Top Tour (#ar1706). Paint the rest of the strips Sunset Boulevard (#ar1704).
Before painting the metal strips, drive 2-inch nails about 2 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep into a scrap board about 2 feet long. Then suspend the board at least 8 inches off the ground. After painting most of a piece of strapping on one side and the edges, hang it from a nail, and paint the bottom half on that side. Allow the straps to hang from the board in a well-ventilated area to dry.
From the pressure-treated 1 x 4 board, cut two pieces 7-5/8 inches long. Paint each board and the cedar top Orchestra (#ar1705).
Paint the interiors of the pots with two coats of Orchestra (#ar1705). Then paint the raised outer rims of the pots that color. Paint the large pots below the rims with Bus Top Tour and the small pots Sunset Boulevard; let dry.
Lay the concrete block on its side with the groove facing up. Apply thick beads of construction adhesive the length of the groove. With the end of the conduit flush with the bottom of the block, press it into the groove and clamp it in place until the adhesive dries.
Place the pressure-treated boards side by side where you'll display your planter and stand the concrete block on the boards with the conduit vertical and to the back. Apply thin beads of construction adhesive to the backs of the slotted strips and attach them to the concrete block in alternating colors, starting with the 7-5/8-inch-long pieces on two sides. Add the 7-3/4-inch pieces to the front and back so they cover the ends of the side strips. Then attach the cedar board with the cut-out opening to the top with the notch over the groove in the block.
Before stacking pots on the conduit, decide what you'll plant in each pot and plan the spacing between pots to accommodate plant heights. Slide a conduit clamp over the conduit and tighten it in place 6 inches from the top of the concrete block base. Then slide a washer down the conduit onto the clamp. Cut a piece of landscape fabric large enough to reach 2-3 inches up the insides of an 8-inch-tall terra cotta pot and cut a hole in the center. Slide the pot and cloth down the conduit to rest on the washer to keep soil from escaping from the bottom of the pot.
If you don't have scraps of landscape fabric handy, make a free substitute by cutting squares from an old T-shirt. Cut a slit in the middle for the conduit and lay a square at the bottom of the pot. If necessary, add small stones to hold it in place.
Repeat the previous step, but this time use a 6-inch-tall pot and position it about 6 inches above the bottom pot. Alternate 8-inch and 6-inch pots roughly 6 inches apart to complete the tower. Slide the clamps up and down to fine-tune the spacing of the pots.
Add soil to the bottom pot over the landscape fabric, packing it tightly enough to keep the pot from wobbling. Add plants and more soil according to the planting instructions. Repeat for the remaining pots in the stack.
If you plan to add plants to the concrete block base, cut landscape fabric large enough to fit the opening and extend 3 inches up each side. Then add soil and plants so the top of the soil stops about 1/2 inch from the top of the opening in the block.
If you plan to display planters where they'll be exposed to strong winds, loop wire around the conduit as high as possible and tie the other end to a deck railing or other fixed object.
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