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Concrete Notions

July 6, 2010

Raw inspiration

Look at the picture above. Do you see a cinder block and a tapered concrete form? Or, do you see a planter, a fountain and a temple pedestal? We didn’t either at first, but after Paul brought home 5 of these forms in two sizes, we put on our thinking caps and came up with projects to put them to creative, attractive use. Check them out after the jump …

Planter geometry

When I saw these forms for the first time I immediately wanted to make a planter from them. Overturned, the interior of the concrete form was a cone, and with a hole at the bottom, it was a perfect planter. Only thing was it wouldn’t stand long by itself without a base. I remembered seeing small square cinder blocks at the local hardware store and thought the narrow end of the form would fit snugly inside the block’s opening. I was right — the tapered end of the form nestled firmly in place and a planter was born. To finish, I filled the bottom with large gravel chunks to aid drainage, then cactus soil mix, and added a fave succulent. I repeated the process, and now two chunkily geometric concrete planters have joined the container groupings at the Rancho’s back gate.

Four-sided bubbler

Where I saw planters when looking at the concrete forms, Paul immediately saw a fountain. He’d bought a fountain pump kit at a garage sale ($2!) a few months previous and was looking for a way to use it. He found the perfect location for the fountain in the vee where two railroad ties met at the rear seating area. Following online instructions for building this type of fountain, he created a reservoir for the water underground by recycling a plastic bin. He positioned the form and the pump, and used the electrical supply in the area to power it. After adjusting the flow to create a nice bubble, he added a selection of river rocks at the base to cover the reservoir. The new fountain produces a nice watery burble now and drips charmingly down each of the four sides. Bonus: Frito and Inky love to have a drink here after a manic chase!

Pyramidal perch

Regular readers of this blog know I love stacking things. It’s an easy way to add height and visual interest, and it’s fun putting things on top of each other to see if they balance. During my recent temple reworking I used two of the concrete forms as pyramidal pedestals for some small urns. They go a long way to lend importance to the diminutive succulent-filled containers, with their distinctive figurative handles. I added concrete circles to anchor the forms’ base further visually, and with that all 5 forms had been utilized. Inspiration is everywhere, and found objects — free objects — are our favorites. Even if we’re not sure what it is, or how to use it, between the two of us we can usually come up with a new life for this stuff.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 11:12 am

    excellentes idées !!! bravo

  2. mattisalomaki permalink
    July 7, 2010 1:43 am

    That is thinking outside the cinder block, for sure. I have been wanting to try a solar powered pump for a fountain…and this should work. I wish now that it was not the foggy season at the moment so that the sun could juice the panels to get it to work. At least I can prepare the structure now. Matti

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 7, 2010 3:27 pm

      D’oh! Solar, why didn’t we think of solar… ?

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