Sun sails provide flexible, effective protection form the harshest rays of summer sun for you and for your garden. They are typically suspended from the eaves of a porch or patio, a sturdy tree branch or a poolside pergola or on a rigid metal frame rising from a post, like an umbrella. You can create a post sleeve for a stand-alone sun sail -- or for one of the sail's support posts -- that also serves as an attractive above ground planter.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Half-barrel (optional)
- Heavy ceramic or concrete planter with drain holes (optional)
- PVC pipe
- Jigsaw or hand saw
- Aluminium screen
- Wire cutter
- Large gravel or lava rock
- Carpenter's level
- 3/4-inch wood dowels
- Stand-alone sun sail or post
- Eyebolt (optional)
- Wire (optional)
Position a half-barrel or heavy clay or concrete planter where it will stay. Once you fill it with rocks, cement and soil it will be difficult to move. Check the bottom for drain holes and drill a centre hole and several smaller holes if there are none. Set the container on bricks laid flat so there is space for water to drain away.
Put a piece of screen over the drain holes in the bottom of the container. Place the polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, pipe in the centre of the container, mark where it reaches the top rim of the container and use a saw cut it off at the mark. Replace the pipe in the container, being sure to centre it over the centre drain hole.
Surround the pipe with the loose gravel or lava rock to a depth of a quarter to a third of the container. Mix the cement and pour it in the container so it fills in around the spaces in the rock and secures the pipe. The cement should cover the rock and reach no more than halfway up the container. Use a level to keep the pipe vertical.
Poke wood dowels into the wet cement at intervals about 6 inches or so apart around the container. Work the dowels all the way to the bottom of the container, and wiggle them around so they will be easy to remove once the cement has set. Move the dowels in the container periodically to be sure they are free. Let the cement set.
Remove the dowels, add potting medium and plant the container with flowers. Insert the sun sail post in the PVC pipe and open the sail. Alternatively, insert a post in the PVC pipe and attach one corner of a larger sun sail to it using an eyebolt and wire. Attach the other ends of the sun sail to bolts in house eaves or additional sturdy posts.
Tips and warnings
- A dolly on low wheels allows you to reposition the post support-planter if necessary. It should be sturdy enough to handle the weight of the filled container and the wheels must be locking to keep the planter in place.
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