easy 6 style BOOST­ERS

Give your gar­den a mini makeover just in time for sum­mer

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Outdoor Decorating -

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

• Peb­bles

• 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.

Here’s how

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.

• Trowel

• Slow-re­lease fer­tiliser gran­ules

• Ground­cover peren­ni­als

• Mulch

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.

Here’s how

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

Here’s how

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.

Here’s how

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

• Bricks

• Sturdy plas­tic nurs­ery pot

• River rocks (stones or peb­bles), rinsed • Ter­ra­cotta pot feet

• Ter­ra­cotta sealer

• Exterior paint to match pot colour

Here’s how

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!

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