Making a cement planter, also called hypertufa, for your home landscape creates a unique accent for flower and rock gardens. The planter is simple to make from supplies available at most hardware stores. Prepare the workspace ahead of time by laying out a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area and gathering all the supplies. You need to be ready to work quickly to prevent the cement from drying prematurely. Make sure you wear old clothes and rubber gloves since the construction process can get messy.
The supplies required for this project include:
2 cardboard boxes
Concrete mixing tub
3/4-inch wire mesh
Begin constructing the cement planter by making a mold out of two cardboard boxes. Select a box that is the size desired for the exterior of the planter. Choose a second box that is one to three inches smaller in dimension and fits inside the exterior box. Make the cement by mixing two parts Portland cement, three parts peat moss and three parts perlite in a concrete mixing tub. Add water to the dry ingredients slowly and mix together with your hands until it forms a cottage cheese consistency. Wear a dust mask while mixing the cement to prevent inhaling the fine powder.
Set up the mold by cutting a piece of 3/4-inch wire mesh to the size of the exterior box bottom. Cut one inch from each side of the wire mesh. Pour a one-inch layer of the cement mixture into the bottom of the exterior box and lay the wire mesh over top. Pour another one inch of the cement mixture over top of the wire mesh and smooth the surface. Cut the wooden dowel into six-inch long pieces and stick three to four into the bottom cement layer to create drainage holes. Leave the dowels in the container until the cement dries.
Create the interior mold by folding the cardboard to the inside of the box. Set the interior box into the exterior box so the bottom of the box faces upward. Center the interior box inside the exterior mold to create sidewalls with an even thickness. Cut pieces of wire mesh to the size of each sidewall. Cut off one-inch from each side of the pieces so they fit easily inside the container. Place the wire mesh pieces centered between the two box sides. Pour cement into the open space between the two boxes to create the sides of the planter. Use a mason’s trowel to push the cement down, making sure to keep the mesh wire centered in the sidewall. Smooth the cement across the top of the planter sides with the mason’s trowel.
Cover the molded planter with plastic sheeting and let the cement set for one week. Remove the box molds and wooden dowels from the planter and let the planter cure for several weeks. You can use the planter after one week; however, the cement will strengthen the longer it cures.
Use the finished planter to create a miniature garden or to display hanging vine plants. Repair cracks in the planter by applying a layer of cement on the damaged area.