Instructables
Picture of Easy Garden Pagoda
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This is my first Instructable and I look forward to all of your comments.

I wanted to add a garden pagoda to our bamboo garden but was amazed by how much they cost.

I decided to make my own for under $25.

 
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Step 1: Collect Your Parts

Picture of Collect Your Parts
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Here's what you need to make one just like mine but I would encourage you to be creative and and experiment on your own. When you're done it will stand about 35" tall.

2 16"x16" square pewter stepping stones

4 4"x4"x4" wood (pressure treated may last longer)

1 12"x12" grey stepping stone

1 6"x8"x8" concrete half cinder block

1 8"x8"x8" concrete half cinder block

1 16"x24" slate patio stone

1 9"x12" tumbled paver

1 6"x6" tumbled paver

6 Roundish rocks (found in my front yard)

With the exception of the 4x4 pieces of wood that I had left over from the deconstruction of a pallet, all of these items were purchased at a big box home improvement store. I'm sure you'll recognize the one. I actually built the pagoda on the cart inside the store to see what it would look like before I brought it home.

Step 2:

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Decide where you want to put your pagoda and set the first 16"x16" square pewter stepping stone. Use a level to make sure it is level. If it is not, your pagoda may not be stable when you get to the last step and may lean.

Now it's just a matter of stacking the parts.

Here's the order from bottom to top.

16"x16" square pewter stepping stone. (This is the one that needs to be level.)

4 4"x4"x4" wood

12"x12" grey stepping stone

6"x8"x8" concrete half cinder block

16"x16" square pewter stepping stone

8"x8"x8" concrete half cinder block

16"x24" slate patio stone

9"x12" tumbled paver

6"x6" tumbled paver

large rock

smaller rock

1 smaller rock on each corner of the roof

Thanks for looking and good luck!

Dream Dragon4 months ago

Very nicely done. Just a shame you couldn't have posted this one a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for something for my Dad's Garden.

The Stone Lantern or "Toro" which this ornament resembles has some very interesting traditions associated with it. Not least the progression of elements from "Earth" through "Water", "Fire" and "Air" to "Spirit" represented by the pointed finial on the top.

You might like to check out THIS other Instructable on a similar project...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Japanese-Garden-Lantern-out-of-Hypertufa/

diamondemb (author)  Dream Dragon4 months ago

Thank your for your comment! And thank you for the history lesson. Very interesting.

I was not aware of the history. I checked out the link you posted. What a great idea to at a light to the "Toro". I will definitely do that and re-post the project.

diamondemb (author) 2 months ago

Here's an update to my easy garden pagoda. I replaced the top cinder block with the globe to an outdoor light I found at a thrift store. I think it adds to the look. I will put a light in it when I find one that I think is appropriate.

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valkgurl3 months ago

How about using some of the square land scape blocks instead of the wood if you are worried about stability? We don't get many earthquakes in NY but we HAVE had a few--one of which cracked my entire upstairs plaster and one of which--in a different and much newer house---cracked my foundation. So I would also want to adhere and use a non-rotting substance---we get a LOT of snow which would look beautiful on this!

Between those consideration and errant dogs and chickens and kids--and severe rain storms---I would def use an adhesive!

Great idea tho! And I would be happy to do a "Wife to Wife" comment if you like!

You don't mind if I don't shop at Agent Orange tho do you?

hlagas4 months ago

Fantastic! I wish I'd been at the store when you were building this in the aisle - I bet you got a few curious looks! I absolutely plan to build one, and I sure appreciate you sharing this wonderfully creative use of commonly found items!

diamondemb (author)  hlagas3 months ago

Thank you! It was kind of funny. One lady stopped and looked at it for a while and said it looked like art. I agreed.

Great idea and really beautiful. I'm lucky. We have several lots the city uses for dumping old bricks, cobblestones, dirt, gravel, rocks, cinder blocks, tree limbs, etc and I try to go by there at least once a week to forage for whatever I need or want. I've just about collected enough brick and cobblestones to widen the path to my door. I've also used odd pieces of concrete as garden ornaments or to demarcate a bed of whatever flowers or make a raised bed. It really adds an urban feel to our garden which is the entire front yard. We've intermixed ornamentals w/ veggies and it looks really nice. People don't much notice the veggies unless they get out to look and they like the idea of intertwining the two. Also some flowers are good for getting rid of unwanted insects and attracting good ones, like honey bees and butterflies and hummingbirds which all are good for pollination. Keep sending in your ideas. I really like and have bamboo too. Wild Whippet Woman

diamondemb (author)  WildWhippetWoman3 months ago

Thanks! I hope you build it and send me a picture!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

diamondemb (author)  colettestilton4 months ago

HI Colettestilton,

Thank you for your comment! This project appeals to people of all ages. I'm glad you like the pagoda. If you build this project make sure you have an adult help because some of the stones are very heavy.

Thank you again.

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

wow! this looks amazing! but i cant put it in my garden because im just 10 years old and i love asian stuff but my parents are not interested so they cant put :C but anyways when i have my own garden im sure to place this epic piece of art in my garden!

jmwells4 months ago
Simple, yet classy. My only fault is the wooden blocks. They would make the whole thing unstable here in earthquake land. Some two part epoxy would help. Well done!
diamondemb (author)  jmwells4 months ago

Thanks for your comment! The whole structure is amazingly stable. As long as you have the bottom stepping stone level, the weight of the upper stones balances the whole thing. Yes, someone could push it over but it would take some effort. It's really a great project, under $25 and once you have the parts, only about 10 minutes to put it together. Thanks again.

The sand idea is ok if it's compacted well. It's better to used sharp sand, or as they say back east, stone dust. It doesn't allow water infiltration. You mentioned lites on top, how about solar tea candles inside the hollows in the half blocks?
diamondemb (author)  jmwells4 months ago

I really like the idea of solar lights. I'm on the lookout to find some.

Thanks

That isn't quite true. What must happen is that the center of mass must not be allowed to wander outside any of the supports. That is what the earthquake comment was about. This is why a pyramid is so stable but an upside down pyramid is not. Your pagoda can be perfectly stable but if the ground tilts and bucks like it does in CA, it might come apart. They do make a building adhesive that would help hold it together.

diamondemb (author)  dchall84 months ago

That's a great idea with the construction adhesive. I will consider doing that. You just need to make sure you have the pagoda where you want to keep it. It is very heavy once it is put together. I've moved mine twice since I built it. The other suggestion I have had is to set the bottom stepping stone into sand to help in the leveling process. What do you think?

Thanks so much for your comment!

I don't think wood is an issue per se in this application, apart from the aesthetic considerations. The wood is in direct compression so that it is quite capable of carrying the load, it's not so much a materials question as one of structural integrity. It's the fact that the whole structure is essentially "balanced" on those 4 relatively small section pillars with no attempt to fix them. Then again, this is a garden ornament, not a living structure or a shelter, so it's probably not too big a deal if it falls over. (Of course if it lands on your foot you may have an alternative opinion and would probably voice it quite loudly too.)

If you are worried it's fairly simple to cast a concrete block the correct size and fix the thing with proper building mortar instead of glue. You could even add reinforcing steel, Water Column Active Damping, and Flexible Foundations if you wanted an engineering project. If you do THAT I'd love to see the instructable!

Of course an ACTUAL Pagoda is inherently resistant to things like earthquakes, but that requires a finesse of structural skill that is not relevant to this ornament.

diamondemb (author)  Dream Dragon4 months ago

Thank you very much for the great comment. The structure is very stable. I think the simplicity of the project will make it easy for anybody to do. I am going to add a light to the top and will post an image. Thanks again for your great comment.

sunshiine4 months ago

What a simple design and great project for anyone to make. Thanks for sharing and do have a splendorous day.

sunshiine

diamondemb (author)  sunshiine4 months ago

Thank you! It is a simple design and I think that is what makes it attractive.

Thanks for your comment. It means a lot to me.

elizruge4 months ago

I love it! I'm changing house in a month and I'd like to build this in the small patio space, maybe a smaller version.

diamondemb (author)  elizruge4 months ago

Hi, Thank you! I would love to see a picture when you have it done.

dchall84 months ago

GENIUS!

diamondemb (author)  dchall84 months ago

Could you tell that to my wife?