easy 6 style BOOSTERS
Give your garden a mini makeover just in time for summer
which project appeals? A pretty weed-resistant path, mosaic stepping stones, a water feature or a table arrangement? Then again, it might be a rustic bench or a folding potting table. Whichever you choose, the step-by-steps will guide you all the way.
1 SUCCULENT CENTREPIECE
Combine the simplest of materials – PVC pipe and succulents, the coolest of plants. Together they add up to a stylish table arrangement.
Gather your supplies
• Stone or marble slab offcut
• Felt protective discs
• Assorted sizes PVC pipe fittings
• Glass hurricane to suit
• Succulents in nursery pots
• Primer and spray paint in white or colour of choice (optional)
NOTE As most PVC pipes aren’t quite as pristine white as these, prime then spraypaint them white or your colour choice. Let them dry before proceeding.
STEP 1 Place adhesive discs on bottom of your marble slab to protect tabletop when the marble is placed on the table.
STEP 2 Position the largest PVC segment on the marble slab and fill with small pebbles. Place the glass hurricane inside and drop in a pillar candle or tea light.
STEP 3 Arrange 4 or
6 smaller PVC fittings in different sizes around the large one. To support the plants, fill the bottom of the PVC tube with pebbles, so plant bases will sit level with the top of the tube. Place succulents, in their nursery pots, into appropriately sized PVC fittings.
STEP 4 Scatter larger pebbles around the arrangement and add more candles as desired. To water, remove the succulents from their new ‘pots’, water, allow to drain thoroughly then return them to their holders.
2 PLANT A PATH
Enhance a stone path with easycare groundcovers. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they will help keep your path weed free.
• Slow-release fertiliser granules
• Groundcover perennials
STEP 1 Dig a planting hole and add slow-release fertiliser as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
STEP 2 Remove the plant from its pot and loosen the roots with your hands. Break apart densely matted and circling roots to encourage the plant to quickly establish roots in the soil around the path. STEP 3 Plant the perennial, firming the soil around the root ball as you backfill. For fast coverage, plant groundcover perennials 15 to 20cm apart. STEP 4 Spread mulch around plants to prevent weeds from taking root. Soon the perennials will blanket the soil and mulch won’t be needed.
3 VINTAGE POTTING BENCH
Turn a wooden door into a foldaway potting bench that’s perfect for the side of a shed or garage.
• Solid recycled timber door, hardware removed
• 100mm galvanised strap hinges (3)
• 40mm screw eyes (4)
• Quick links (4)
• Snap hooks (2)
• 3.8 x 900mm chains (2)
You’ll also need
Drill; spirit level; measuring tape; bolt cutters
NOTE When using power tools, wear all safety gear required and refer to your product instructions.
STEP 1 Screw hinges along one long side of the door, which will be the underside, placing a hinge towards each end and one in the centre of the door.
STEP 2 With a helper or two or some tall saw horses, hold the door against the wall at a height you find comfortable to use (900mm is a standard bench height). Screw hinges into wall at this height. For timber-framed walls, fix the hinges to the wall first so they go into the wall framing, then hold door in position and screw hinges to door.
STEP 3 Working 50mm from 1 end of bench, measure 600mm up wall from the bench and also 600mm out across bench width from the wall. Insert screw eyes into wall and bench at these points.
STEP 4 Use a quick link to connect a snap hook to one end of a 900mm length of chain. Connect snap hook to screw eye on bench. Stretch chain to the screw eye on the wall and attach at the required length using another quick link. Cut off excess chain with boltcutters. Repeat to attach chain to other end of bench so it’s level and equally supported at both ends.
An old recycled door makes for an outdoor-friendly workstation – and, when not in use, it is easy to fold up, out of the way
4 PEBBLE PAVERS
Transform ready-made concrete pavers into mosaic stepping stones using pebbles.
Gather your supplies
• 330mm round concrete stepping stone pavers
• 400mm plywood square
• 10 x 25mm smooth pebbles in desired colours
• High-strength mortar mix
You’ll also need
Waterproof gloves; dust mask; mixing bowl; scoop; plastic trowel; plastic spatula; tile sponge; plastic sheet
STEP 1 Draw around concrete stepping stone on plywood as a design guide. Lay out pebbles in a pleasing pattern on the plywood, contrasting different sizes and colours. Fit the pebbles together like puzzle pieces with their flattest side up. STEP 2 Wearing gloves and a dust mask, prepare the mortar, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Aim for a stiff consistency comparable to peanut butter. STEP 3 Apply mortar about 15mm thick in the centre of a stepping stone. Transferring the design from the plywood as you go, start pressing pebbles firmly into place.
STEP 4 Complete the process of pressing the pebbles into place within 30-45 minutes, before the mortar starts to set. Lay the plywood on top of the pebbles and press firmly to level the surface of the stepper. Use the spatula to press mortar between pebbles as needed to hold them firmly in place.
STEP 5 With a damp tiling sponge, gently wipe off excess mortar on pebbles, rinsing sponge frequently in clean water. Repeat process until last film of mortar has been removed from surface of the stones. Avoid overwetting the mortar as this will weaken the cement and integrity of the mosaic. Rinse all tools as soon as possible after working with mortar.
STEP 6 Cover stepping stone with plastic sheet for at least 48 hours as it begins to cure. Do not stand or walk on it until it has fully cured, about 3 to 4 weeks. Excavate holes in ground to depth of paver plus 2.5cm before positioning each stepping stone.
Entice visitors to wander up the garden path
5 RUSTIC GARDEN BENCH
Create a simple bench using materials that fit right in with the organic shapes and textures of your garden.
Gather your supplies
• 10mm gravel (1 bag)
• 175 x 265 x 50mm pavers (20)
• Wide seat timbers 90 x 90 x 1600mm Merbau (3)
• Narrow seat timbers
90 x 42 x 1600mm Merbau (2)
• Seat battens 42 x 42 x 360mm Merbau (4)
You’ll also need
Shovel; landscaping adhesive; spirit level; power saw; natural decking oil; paintbrush; drill; 100mm galvanised screws
NOTES If using larger pavers, add extra timbers to the seat to create a wider bench.
STEP 1 Dig 2 holes 150mm deep and 650mm apart. Make sure the hole is slightly larger than the size of your paver.
STEP 2 Fill bottom 50mm of the hole with gravel and tamp down firmly. Join 3 pavers together with landscaping adhesive and leave to set. Place on top of gravel. Repeat for second side, using a spirit level to make sure the 2 stacks of pavers are level.
STEP 3 Continue building up stacks of pavers using adhesive between each paver. Check for level and plumb as you go.
STEP 4 Use power saw to cut 1 corner off both ends of seat battens. To adequately protect timber, apply 2 coats of natural decking oil to all seat timbers and battens prior to assembly. Allow to dry after each coat. STEP 5 Lay out and alternate wide and narrow seat timbers, with a 12mm gap between each. Place seat battens in pairs on seat timbers with gap between them matching width of pavers. Make sure position of each pair suits the spacing between paver stacks and that ends of seat timbers overhang the stacks evenly. Predrill and, using 100mm screws, screw through seat battens into each seat timber. STEP 6 Spread landscape adhesive on both paver stacks. Centre bench on top of paver stacks. Let adhesive set then compact soil around base of paver stacks.
6 DIY DOUBLE-DECKER FOUNTAIN
This DIY double-decker fountain is calling you. Super simple to create, you’ll enjoy putting it together almost as much as the tranquil sound of water bubbling away after it’s finished. Better still, it will add another level of interest and variety to your garden or courtyard. Go on, give it a go!
Gather your supplies
• Glazed pots in 2 sizes (about 45cm and 20cm-dia) with drainage holes
• Pump and fountain kit with nozzle/s
• Power drill and masonry bit
• Selleys Knead It Aqua (epoxy putty)
• Clear silicone
• Sturdy plastic nursery pot
• River rocks (stones or pebbles), rinsed • Terracotta pot feet
• Terracotta sealer
• Exterior paint to match pot colour
STEP 1 Fit pump cord through drainage hole of larger pot. If necessary, carefully enlarge hole using a power drill and masonry bit.
STEP 2 Leave 30cm of the cord inside pot. With the cord in place, plug the drainage hole with epoxy putty. Let it set. Reinforce the seal with the silicone applied inside and outside pot. Smooth the silicone in place with your fingertip then let it set.
STEP 3 Set the pump on
2 bricks inside the large pot.
STEP 4 Cover the pump with the overturned nursery pot. Fit the fountain tubing through the central drainage hole of the nursery pot.
STEP 5 Pour clean river rocks (stones or pebbles) around the nursery pot to hold it in place. Only fill to the base of the overturned nursery pot. Set the small pot on the nursery pot and extend the fountain tubing through the pot’s drainage hole. Extend the tubing by fitting it with the waterspout nozzle. Keeping fountain nozzle centred, fill the small pot with clean rocks, stones or pebbles. Top up the larger pot with more rocks, stones or pebbles. Fill both pots with water.
STEP 6 Use terracotta sealer to seal the pot feet. When dry, apply
2 coats of exterior paint, allowing the paint to dry after each coat. Then all you have to do is find a spot for your new fountain, rest it on its pot feet, plug it in and enjoy!