This cool project will allow you to take advantage of even the tiniest place to grow flowers and plants- on patios, decks, balconies, etc. These supplies are easy to find (some recycled from your friends, family, and garage) and the final product is unique and spectacular. Your friends will be asking you "How did you do that?"
Step 1: Gather your materials.
OK, either dig through your stash of flower pots or make a trip to your local home improvement store (or your mom's house) and gather what you need:
1 12" flower pot
1 saucer to go under the base pot (optional)
4 8" flower pots*
1 4' garden stake (sturdy- steel covered in plastic- I got mine at Wal-Mart)
20" of 1/2" PVC or similar (look around in your garage- you don't need much)
Flowers/plants- I planted 3-4 four-inch flower squares on each tier
- I used plain terra cotta pots- I wouldn't recommend using the azalea terra cotta pots. Your pots MUST have the drainage hole on the bottom.
Step 2: Cut the stake to the desired length
Cut the stake to an approximate length of 42". I used a small, fine-toothed saw for this.
Step 3: Cut the PVC.
With a mitre saw or other saw, cut the PVC into the desired lengths. Depending on the shape of your 12" pot, you may need to experiment with this a little.
You will need two lengths of pipe, one slightly (1" or so) larger than the other. I ended up cutting mine to 8.5 and 9.5 inches. I also cut these at an angle so the ends would taper slightly to fit more snugly in the pot.
Make sure your shorter pipe fits in the bottom of the 12" pot (without touching the bottom) and make sure the longer pipe fits over (and perpendicular to) the shorter pipe without touching it.
Step 4: Drill holes in the exact center of the PVC.
These holes will hold the stake in place, so make sure they are nice and perpendicular. A drill press would work best here, but I used a hand drill.
Start with a small drill bit, then gradually change it out to get large enough for the stake to fit through but still snug.
Step 5: Assemble the stake and PVC.
Insert the stake through both PVC sections, being sure that the PVC sections are perpendicular to one another. The stake should go all the way through the bottom PVC section and into the drainage hole so that it is flush with the surface underneath the 12" pot.
Make sure the stake is standing as straight as possible. Adjust as needed.
Step 6: Decide where you will assemble your stacked pots!
It is so much easier to build this at the location where it will live rather than move it! Because this stands a little under 4' tall, you may want to put it out of the wind, up near a wall if possible!
Step 7: Alternately stack the pots.
Fill the bottom 12" pot with soil leaving room for the first 8" pot to rest on the soil and on the edge of the large pot as shown. You may need to wet the soil a little and pack the soil down tight. Adjust the stake as needed so that it points as straight up as possible.
Place the first 8" pot by inserting the stake through the drainage hole. Let the pot rest on the dirt and the edge of the 12" pot. Continue filling the 12" pot, packing soil around the 8" leaning pot. Leave a 2" gap between the soil and the edge of the pot.
Add soil to the leaning 8" pot. Leave a 2" gap between the soil and the edge of the pot. Pack the soil around the stake (you may need to add a little water).
At this point (contrary to what the picture shows) it is advisable to go ahead and plant the flowers in the large 12" pot.
Plant the flowers in the 8" leaning pot. Then add the second leaning pot onto the stake. This pot should lean 180 degrees in the opposite direction from the pot beneath it and should rest on the edge of the one beneath it.
Continue adding soil/flowers then add the leaning pots.
You may need to adjust the position of the top pot to negate any leaning of the stake.
Step 8: Enjoy- and be prepared for questions from curious friends and family!
Enjoy your creation- and the smile on the face of the person for whom you made it. It truly is beautiful and unique.
Total cost for this project, including flowers:
PVC: $0 (I had some short pieces laying around the garage)
Total time: about 90 minutes
You can vary this by adding only 3 top pots, painting the pots, or getting fiberglass pots (with drainage holes).
When your friends ask you how you did it, just direct them back here!