Building your own lawn and garden planters saves money and allows you to have planters exactly the size you want that will accommodate your favourite flowers and shrubs. Planters are also great for growing vegetables because you can control exactly what the components of the soil are and what fertiliser and pest control products are in the soil. Brick is always a good choice for planters --- it is easy to work with, lasts a long time and looks fantastic. This project requires some preparation in order to create a sound structure. Plan on a weekend for a small planter.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Wooden stakes
- Rubber mallet
- Carpenter's square
- Measuring tape
- Concrete mix
- Carpenter's level
- Shallow container
- Pointing tool
Pick a level spot in your yard or garden to build the brick planter. With a wooden mallet, pound small stakes into the ground to mark the corners. Run string to connect the wooden stakes. Check the corners to make sure they are square and correct as necessary.
Dig a trench 12 inches deep and twice as wide as the bricks you will use to build the planter. Use the string as a guide, digging the trench outside the string markers.
Mix the concrete according to the manufacturer's instructions. Put the concrete and water in the wheelbarrow and mix with the shovel. Fill the trench with 9 inches of concrete to make a footing for the planter. Reinforce the footing with rebar every few feet. Allow the concrete footing to cure, following the concrete manufacturer's instructions.
Draw a line down the centre of each side of the footing. Mark the centre of the first course of bricks. Lay out a row of bricks, leaving about 1/4 inch between the bricks. Cut a brick to finish the first row if needed. Continue laying out the bricks for the other three sides of the planter. When you have completed the first course of bricks, remove them, laying them in order along the outside of the trench.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix up a batch of mortar in a shallow container. Using a mason's trowel, lay down a 1-inch-thick bed of mortar on the footing for one side of the planter. Lay the first and last brick for that side. Run a string from the outside of the first brick to the outside of the last brick to guide you as you lay the bricks between those first and last bricks.
Lay the first row of bricks, motaring the end of each brick where it will abut the next brick. Check to make sure the row is level, plumb (use a level) and straight (use the string guide) and adjust as necessary. Continue setting the first course of bricks on each side of the planter.
Start the second course of bricks by placing the short end of the first brick for row two over the long end of the first brick in row one. Alternating the corners will create a structurally sound planter. Lay the bricks for the second course the same way you laid the first course. Keep checking as you go to make sure the course of bricks is level and straight. Remove the extra mortar as you go, scraping it away with your trowel. Continue laying courses of brick until the planter is the height you want it.
Smooth out the joints with a pointing tool when the mortar is hard enough to take a thumb impression that does not change shape. Use a damp rag to clean up any mortar that gets on the bricks. Use a pencil to poke weep holes between the bricks in the second course. Poke the holes all the way through the mortar every 10 inches. Weep holes help drain excess water out of the planter.
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