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30 minutes or less.

These six summer projects for the garden are quick and easy

IT'S FINALLY THE weekend, and you're ready to tackle a garden project. But you don't have time to devote the entire weekend to it. Take heart: not all garden projects are time-consuming. The six projects shown on this and the following pages are quick and easy, and all add a little pizzazz to the garden.

How about an easy-to-install plant shelf that places flowers right at your kitchen window? Or a simple, low-cost flagstone table that adds an elegant touch to a corner of the garden? Or a sturdy pot stand on wheels that's utilitarian and attractive?

Once you have the materials in hand, each of these simple projects can be put together in 30 minutes or less (two of the projects also require drying time). And none of them require special skills, although a little imagination helps when painting pots.

Shopping for the materials is the most time-consuming part of each project, but shopping lists can help you plan exactly what you need. All of the materials are readily available at nurseries and building supply stores (look in the yellow pages under Building Materials). Flagstone (for the table) is also sold at some businesses that sell landscape materials.

1 Paint redwood or clay pots (30 minutes, plus drying time)

What you'll need

Clay or redwood pots Saucers Water-base nontoxic waterproofing Roofing compound Latex paint Paintbrush Paint roller Sponges

With colorful paints, you can transform any mundane-looking clay or redwood pot into a bright, even abstract piece of art that's suitable for displaying indoors or out. Because each pot is waterproofed first, it's both functional and long-lasting.

The designs shown here were created with a sponge, paintbrush, and paint roller. If you choose a wood pot, sand it first. Otherwise, the steps are the same for both wood and clay.

First, coat the pot thoroughly inside and out with waterproofing; let dry 24 hours. Next, coat the inside of the pot with roofing compound, stopping within 2 inches of the pot rim. Then comes the fun. Follow the designs pictured above or create your own.

The three pots above with solid backgrounds (yellow and purple) were painted on the outsides with a roller. After the base coat on the yellow pots had dried, designs were painted on with brushes; masking tape helped define the zigzag lines on the large yellow pot at far left. Saucers were waterproofed, then painted along the rims.

The small, spatter-painted pot in front was first sponge-painted with red, light green, and dark green and then brush-spattered with yellow.

The Southwestern cactus pot in the center was painted with triangular pieces of sponge (apply paint to one side of the sponge piece with a brush and press painted side onto pot as shown in the photograph at bottom left). The long wooden planter box was covered with a solid coat of blue paint, allowed to dry, then painted with 1-inch squares of sponge to make the purple checkerboard design. A small brush was used to dab on orange dots.

Circular pieces of sponge made the yellow dots on the pot at right rear in the photo; lines of purple and turquoise were painted around them.

All of the pots were allowed to dry thoroughly before filling.

2 Display chimney pipe plant stands (10 minutes)

What you'll need

Round terra-cotta chimney pipes (various sizes) Potted plants Empty pots or wood blocks

The attractive containers shown at right are not actually containers, but pipes sold for lining chimneys. They're inexpensive (about $11 to $28, depending on size) and available at masonry supply stores. Unlike typical containers, they add height to potted plants and bring flower colors and plant textures into closer view.

The pipes come in two heights: 24 inches with a 12-or 14-inch inside diameter, and 30 inches with an 8-inch inside diameter. If you cluster three pots as shown, use two taller ones behind with a short one in the foreground.

Since the pipes are hollow, fill the interior with stacked pieces of wood or empty pots so the potted plants can be set at the right level. Mix seasonal pots of color with foliage plants that have interesting textures and shapes.

3 Put together a flagstone table (5 minutes)

What you'll need

24-inch-tall oval terra-cotta chimney flue liners: 2 A piece of flagstone about 21 inches wide by 32 inches long

Although this flagstone and chimney-flue table is extremely simple and inexpensive to make (about $10 for each flue liner at a masonry supply store and $6 for the flagstone), it is attractive and elegant, and durable enough for use in the garden or on a patio.

The flues are just the right height for a coffee table or end table. The buff-colored Arizona flagstone was handpicked from a building supply store that sells flagstone and other outdoor paving. To install, just set the legs 6 to 8 inches apart and center the flagstone on top.

4 Make a plant shelf (15 minutes)

What you'll need

Rough-sawn 2-by-8 cut to window length plus 6 inches Rough-sawn 1-by-12 (optional) cut to length of 2-by-8 8-by-10 shelf brackets: 2 or 3, depending on width of window #8 flathead woodscrews: 6 per bracket A screwdriver or drill with #8 screw bit Plants in 1-gallon cans

This project allows you to create a living bouquet outside a window where its color and fragrance can be enjoyed from indoors.

Because the plant shelf is designed to hold 1-gallon containers, you can have an instant continuous show of seasonal color. When one season's flowers fade, you can purchase the next season's show and just set it on the shelf. To save money, you can also plant sixpacks of color in 8-inch clay or plastic pots and use them when they come into bloom.

The plant shelf is suitable for stationary, double-hung, or sliding windows; it's not suitable for casement windows that open outward. Before buying materials, measure the width of the window; add about 3 inches to each end so the board will extend a bit beyond the window. For a 4- to 6-foot-wide window, buy three angle supports; smaller windows need only two.

Position the angle supports with their tops 12 inches below the bottom of the window. (This allows the flower pots to sit about 2 inches below the window, plus 8 inches for the height of the 1-gallon cans and 2 inches for the thickness of the wood.) Level the supports before screwing them in.

Lay the 2-by-8 on top and screw it to the angle supports. If you plan to use utilitarian containers and the plant shelf is highly visible from outdoors, you can hide the pots with a 1-by-12 fascia nailed to the shelf horizontally.

5 Plant an herb pot (15 to 20 minutes)

What you'll need

Bowl-shaped clay pots: one about 16 inches in diameter and one about 24 inches in diameter

Herbs: about 13, in 2- or 4-inch pots (number varies, depending on size of containers)

Potting soil: 2 cubic feet (deeper pots may need more soil)

Soil polymers

This herb pot provides an almost limitless variety of fresh cuttings to use in your favorite recipes. It also makes an attractive display on a sunny patio or deck.

To find a suitable style of pot, look at a nursery or store that specializes in pots. Choose bowl-shaped containers with wide openings and narrow bottoms; these come in several sizes. The top pot should be small enough so there's plenty of room to plant around the edges of the bottom one once they're stacked.

To plant, fill the bottom container with soil and mix in soil polymers according to package directions; level the soil. Center the small pot on top of the large pot; fill with soil and polymers.

Plant cascading and low, bushy herbs, like lemon basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme, in the lower pot. Save extra-tall ones, such as large-leaf and purple basil, for the top pot; fill in with shorter herbs, like chives and spicy globe basil. Water regularly; feed every week or two with fish emulsion.

6 Construct a plant stand (about 30 minutes)

What you'll need

1-by-3 clear pine: 10 feet for 14 1/2-inch-diameter stand 1 1/4-inch (3d) galvanized nails: 30 Compass Coaster wheels with screws: 4 Epoxy Wood stain Water-base waterproofing

This sturdy pot stand makes large containers easy to move. When the plant such as the cymbidium orchid pictured below--goes out of bloom, the pot can be rolled out of view. The stand is also attractive enough to use indoors. If you don't need wheels, you can substitute 2-to 4-inch-high legs of wood.

Directions are for a 14 1/2-inch-diameter stand to hold a 13-inch saucer. But the stand can be made to fit any size saucer by adjusting the wood length and the number of slats or the slats' spacing.

Make a paper pattern 14 1/2 inches square (or 1 1/2 inches larger than the diameter of the saucer). Cut eight pieces of wood 14 1/2 inches long. Lay five of the pieces vertically on the paper, leaving a 1/2-inch gap between pieces.

Position and glue the three remaining pieces horizontally across them, gluing the middle one first; space them 2 inches apart. Secure all slats with nails as shown in the drawing (keep nails away from cutting line and the area where the wheels will be installed).

With a compass, draw a 14 1/2-inch-diameter circle and saw along the line; sand the rough edges. Screw the wheels onto the cross-supports through the second and fourth slats (predrill holes). Stain and allow to dry 24 hours. Apply the waterproofing and let dry.
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Title Annotation:summer garden projects
Author:Swezey, Lauren Bonar
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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