Concrete Garden Projects Planters & Stepping Stones

Tent, s,

Not long ago I saw some very cool, modern concrete planters that I added to my DIY To Do List. Not long afterwards the lovely folks over at sent me a copy of  to review so when I had a crafty friend stop by for a visit + a sunny afternoon, I needed no more hints to dig into some projects.

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The projects in the book are great starting points for concrete projects that will suit many different garden styles. In addition to modern planters we made some leaf print stepping stones: some in moulds with pressed leaves and one where we used a giant hydrangea leaf as the mould. 

Leaf Imprint Concrete Stepping Stones

The authors, Malin Nilsson and Camilla Arvidsson, layed out each project in six simple steps which were easy to follow, especially easy given each step has a beautiful photograph. The best part was the ease and speed at which you can create concrete projects; we had seven planters and seven stepping stones curing within an hour of arriving home with the materials.

modern concrete planters

For the planters, we used a variety of different sized plastic tubs that we collected. I filled my three square tubs with concrete and used round tubs and cups for the holes. I then filled the some of the larger hole-spacers with concrete and a small cup so each would produce yet another planter.

 Modern Concrete Planters

 I particularly loved how this one square planter turned out when planted with sedum.

 Concrete Garden Planter with Sedum

The stepping stones were also formed in plastic tubs, but larger, shallower ones. We pressed interesting leaves found around the garden (lady?s mantle, Japanese maple, and hosta) and weighted them with small stones. When un-moulded, they have depressions that will hopefully fill with little pools of water or perhaps moss.

 Hosta Imprint Concrete Stepping Stone

Near the end, we took the left over concrete and piled it in a mound on top of a giant hosta leaf. When nestled into the shade garden it is right at home with the hosta who donated a leaf for the mould.

Concrete Stepping Stone Hosta Leaf

It was so surprisingly easy to make stepping stones that I?m happy to say that my days of hunting for rocks in rivers and back alleys might just be over (insert grinning husband here). I would certainly recommend the book to anyone looking for a fun and creative way to spend a sunny afternoon in the garden.


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The race is on. It?s the time of year when you encourage (plead) with tomatoes to ripen before they succumb to the horrors of .



It first starts with a few yellowing leaves. Yikes. Remove these right away!

Then a few brown leaves and whitish-grey powder (spores) can be seen. Ack! Remove these immediately! At this point you could also top the plants by cutting the main runnier to prevent more flowering and send the plants energy into fruiting.

Sadly, there will start to be grey-brown spots on the stems which means the race has heated up. Cut off the stems that you can, and if the blight is widespread, begin defoliating the plants to allow all the plants energy into ripening the tomatoes.

It all happens so fast. You can go from lush green plants with many hidden tomatoes (August 2011), to sad looking sticks with ripening fruits (September 2011) in no time as seen in these photos of our raised bed tomato garden and self-watering container tomato garden.


Generally, we win the race and see late blight as a reality of growing tomatoes. Taking the proper precautions in the beginning of the growing season will greatly improve your odds.

  • Rotate tomatoes to different parts of the garden each year. It takes 3 years for the fungus to leave the soil.
  • Grow healthy plants:  start plants off strong as seedlings, and feed and water them well through the season. Healthy plants are the best defence to disease and pests.
  • Keep the leaves dry by watering the soil below as opposed to top watering.
  • Grow plants undercover such as under a greenhouse, plastic dome, or roof overhang.
  • Wash tools every time you use them, particularly when snipping off the blighty bits.
If you must remove green tomatoes, many can be ripened on a warm windowsill.
When they are ready, those that haven?t been gobbled up fresh, made into sauce or salsa, can be wiped down and frozen whole for a winters? worth of recipes.
So far blight has taken about 5 of our tomatoes, out of the hundreds that we have harvested off 40 plants. Take that, Blight.

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