Introduction: Succulent Mountain Pot Planter

Hi, this is an entry for the Pot Planter competition, so if you like it please vote for it.

I got this idea from the alps and a chalet up there with a river next to it (it wasn't tiny). For this, there is some specialist equipment you can use which will make it much easier (a laser cutter) but if you don't have this then I'm sure there is an alternative out there somewhere. If you've found a good way then comment it for other people to follow.

For this you will need:

  • 1-2 cans of expanding foam
  • grip adhesive
  • a mastic gun
  • filler
  • a bread knife
  • a normal knife
  • some paint
  • a laser cutter (optional)
  • wood glue (optional)
  • finished plywood (optional)
  • a small hinge (optional)
  • a small water pump
  • some hose pipe
  • a bin bag
  • PVA
  • A flower pot
  • A succulent (to plant)

I hope you enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: any damage or injury caused with bread knife is your fault; not mine.

Step 1: The Design

This is the easy bit. just sit down with a pencil and paper and try to work out where you want the peaks and the pot so there is still space for the stream and reservoir and other bits like that. I would recommend putting down dimensions on your design to make it easier when you come to making it. Try to leave the plant open to the light as otherwise it will die. I was going to put a self watering mechanism in but realised that a succulent wouldn't need it as they last so long without water. I also put a stream and reservoir in.

Step 2: The Expanding Foam

first you'll need to cut out a cardboard base which is around 40cm by 20cm at the largest points. It can be any interesting shape. Corrugated cardboard is the best as it keeps a steady base. When you're using the expanding foam, be sure to cover your base fully and that it is already tall enough for the mountain peaks. Also don't spray it everywhere, as then you'll get loads of air bubbles in it. Try to keep it in approximately the same place so that it looks a bit like a massive meringue.

Step 3: Carving the Expanding Foam

Be sure to leave it long enough to dry. This may be a while. After it has fully dried, carve it into the shape which you designed in step 1. Also don't forget to add in the place for the flower pot in the top and to fit it in snugly, as well as a cave for the pump and water reservoir in the back.

Step 4: Grip Adhesive

This is the tedious part. You need a tube of grip adhesive, a mastic gun and a knife (not serrated or sharp). You need to spread a little grip adhesive on the surface and then spread it out on the mountain with the flat knife. Make sure you do every visible surface apart from the stream and cave which the reservoir will go in. This will just waste the grip adhesive.

Step 5: Painting It

After the grip filler has dried, paint it with any kind of colour you want. I spray painted it as the base layer and then added layers to it.

Step 6: OPTIONAL: Making a Small House

For this you'll need a laser cutter (or just make by hand). I used 2d design to create templates I was roughly happy with and then did it on card to check (the image is attached but upside down). I then fine-tuned it and did it on 4mm finished plywood. I then sanded off the corners at a 45 degree angle and wood glued them together. I stuck the roof parts to a metal hinge so they were flexible incase you wanted to take it off. This is where you could store supplies for the plant. The dimensions were about 4cm x 7cm for the house, and the main base was 6cm x 8cm. For the door I used a thin layer of veneer and then another with the door handle. The house is done as a single part.

Step 7: Adding the Water Feature

You will need a small water pump, a bin bag, some PVA, and two widths of pipe (one for the nozzle on the water pump and one for the water to run out of the reservoir). First you cut a hole in the base for the tube.This is depicted in one of the images. Also make sure you connect it to the reservoir so it can run through. You might want to start putting the PVA in the channel and reservoir with a bin bag which is cut to shape for the reservoir and channel.READ THIS FIRST: make sure you leave a flap to go into the tube. Put the tube into your hole which you've cut at the bottom, so it connects to the reservoir. make it come out in the cave which you've cut at the back. Also put in the tube at the top of the stream going down to the same cave BUT ON THE OTHER SIDE. You then need to find a container which is as big as possible for your space. Put the pump in here with the smaller nozzle tube attached to it. Then poke the flap of bin liner into the tubes on either end. You can then test it. If it runs too fast, then adjust it with A) less water or B) turning the control on the pump down. If it's too slow, then do this the opposite way around. If it spills over the sides, then you might need to do the bin liner again or unblock your pipe running off the reservoir. If it runs away too fast, then you may need to block up your pipe a little. Finally, you can make a space in the cave for the wire and power bank so it looks neat. Have a look at the photos to see how it goes together.

Step 8: Finishing Off

If you made the house, then you need to add extra stilts to put it on so it doesn't fall off the mountain. Use a thin stick which is cut to the right length (I can't tell you this as they will invariably be different) and then chisel the bark off. You should then use wood glue and PVA to hold it on. The water pump requires a low setting, so fill up the container it's in and put it on lowest. If the way out of the reservoir doesn't work, then cut it off or try a different way. push the pipe at the top in and paint it grey, along with the sides of the bin bag. This will blend it in with the mountainside. I would also recommend putting splodges of that around on the mountainside as well so it doesn't look weird. With the actual planting, you could pot up a couple of small succulents and sprinkle some gravel around, or plant a few herbs to make a small herb garden. This part is your choice.

Step 9: Well Done!

Now you've finished your succulent planter, you can put it on a windowsill or somewhere else and enjoy it!

Thanks for doing this, and if you did it be sure to post your result. this was designed and made by : Simon.T, Ben.T, Howard.L-B, Matthew.L-B.

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