Adding flowers and plants to your sidewalk is an item on Neighbors Project's Neighbors Checklist, and is a guiding principle of Neighborly Home Design. I don't know about you, but whenever I walk down blocks with great sidewalk flowers, I can't help but think, "I wish my block looked like that." But I've been too lazy to actually do something about it until circumstances forced the issue: some friends needed to get rid of their big pot because they're moving. Now that I'm done, I have to say that this project was really fun. I wish I had done it sooner. And yes, I did actually meet some of my neighbors in the time I was out doing this project.
To do this Instructable you'll need:
-1.5 bags of potting soil (aka, big bags of dirt)
-Pot (big and heavy)
Step 1: Get Your Plants, Pot and Dirt
I had to unpack the dirt and plant from the pot with a mini shovel and put it into some extra strong garbage bags. If you also need to transport unpackaged dirt, I strongly suggest that you spread out the dirt across a bunch of bags, and double bag any bags that are especially heavy. Dirt is very heavy, and bags break easily.
Since the friends from whom I got the pot, etc. lived about a mile from my home, I used my granny cart to roll over the dirt and pot in two separate trips. It's a large sturdy cart and I had absolutely no problems getting the materials home. I highly recommend the humble granny cart for moving heavy objects, particularly if you live somewhere with limited parking and don't want to pay for a cab, or just want to enjoy the gorgeous day.
The donated items didn't really fill up the pot, so I ended up making a separate trip to get a bag of potting soil, three small plants and a watering can from a local plant store. If you've walked around your neighborhood any, you'll probably already know where to find your local nursery. I ended up visiting two plant stores because the first place I went didn't have many outdoor plants. They recommended a nearby store, so I walked over.
If you don't know anything about plants, like me, then be sure to ask the advice of the people at the store. Don't forget to tell the person at the store how much shade and sun the plant is likely to get; you don't have to know the exact hours, just a rough guess of whether the area gets morning light or afternoon light or no light at all. The store employee should know the climate and plants well enough to recommend something that will work for you. If you don't trust the person at the store, be sure to read the labels in the plants, which usually have some info about whether the plant will thrive on your sidewalk. And no, I have no idea what the plants I bought are called; I just chose things that seemed pretty and easy to maintain. Hopefully they'll thrive.
By the way, it's really fun to walk around with a cart full of lovely flowers; people constantly smile at you and peek into your cart.
Finally, be sure to dress properly. Wear clothes that you're willing to get dirty, and take off your rings or other jewelry. After all, you'll be playing in the dirt!
Step 2: Find the Right Spot and Place Your Pot
My block is on a hill so I also had to be sure that the pot would be stable. If you're on an even steeper hill, you may need a big rock or customized wedge to prop up one side of the pot.
Once you've chosen your spot, place it and drag your materials next to it.
Step 3: Add Dirt
Step 4: Unpot Your Plants and Place Them in the Big Pot
Remove the flowers/plants from the pots that you got them in by grasping the part of the plant that's not in the dirt, turning the pot upside down, knocking the pot on its bottom to loosen the plant and then pulling the plant free of the pot. If you do it right, it'll look like a popsicle or cylindrical carrot. Or like the baby mandrakes in the Harry Potter films.
Place the unpotted plants in the wells you've created for them so that they're reasonably secure.
Step 5: Add More Dirt and Secure the Plants
Step 6: Water the Pot
Fill up your can and water it so that it's quite moist across the whole top of the pot and the few inches below the surface.
Step 7: Clean Up and Admire Your Work
I put my bag of leftover potting soil in a garbage bag and put it in a closet. I might give it away on Craigslist since I don't expect to be doing much more gardening.
I recycled the plastic pots that the plants came in.
And then I took a shower. Ahhh.