If you're not busy this bank holiday, why not have a go at this DIY striped pebble planter. You can transform an old terracotta plant pot into something colourful and unique in just a few simple steps...
A simple, slightly tapered terra cotta pot has been transformed into a striking planter that could be the focal point of a hot and dry planting scheme. The clean lines of the black and white pebble stripes work particularly well with the strong shapes of sun-loving plants such as Agave, Echiveria or Sedum, lending a Mediterranean feel to your garden. Try decorating other planters and pots in a similar way, perhaps using a slightly different pattern to make an interesting collection to liven up your sunny terrace or patio.
Waterproof and frostproof gray cement has been used for the black pebbles and white cement used for the white ones. Although a little more time-consuming, it is well worth using the two colors as it enhances the black and white contrast. The rim of the pot has been finished with a row of black pebbles that cleverly hide the terracotta beneath.
Tall terracotta pot 14in (35cm) high with a top diameter of 11in (27cm)
Piece of chalk
Black pebbles no more than 3⁄4in (2cm) in diameter
White pebbles of a similar size
Waterproof and frostproof gray cement-based adhesive
Waterproof and frostproof white cement-based adhesive
Old pointed kitchen knife
Container for cement
step 1 Draw vertical chalk lines onto the pot, dividing it into 12 stripes each roughly 31⁄4in (8cm) wide at the top. On a tapered pot the stripes will be slightly narrower at the base.
step 2 Mix the gray cement according to manufacturer’s instructions, making sure it is not too runny. Apply a layer 1⁄2in (1cm) thick within the chalk lines of one stripe and set in the black pebbles closely together. This will push the cement up between the pebbles and help to secure them. Leave room for a row of pebbles around the top rim. Cut off any excess cement with the knife. Leaving the next stripe clear, make two more black stripes.
step 3 Mix and apply the white cement in the same way between the black stripes and set in the white pebbles. Clean up the joint between each contrasting stripe and continue until one side of the pot is covered. Allow the cement to harden overnight and repeat the same process on the remaining six stripes. It is best to work on the pot in two separate halves so as not to dislodge any pebbles (the pot needs to rest on its side for ease of working).
step 4 Stand the pot up on its base and stick a row of black pebbles around the upper rim, spreading the back of each pebble with the cement. When the cement starts to harden slightly, trim off any excess with the knife. Allow to harden thoroughly before planting.
tip Don’t allow the pebbles to extend beyond the base of the pots. Stop just short, or the bottom row of pebbles will be vulnerable to breaking off and the pot may not be very stable.
For more garden DIY projects, check out Pebble Mosaics by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell.