Remember the days before this crazy quarantine when we could head out to a local restaurant or enjoy a beer garden on the weekends? Life definitely isn't that simple anymore, and ever since I realized that we would be spending most of our summer nights out on our own patio, I wanted to spruce up the space a bit. We love spending time out there, and I really look at our patio as an extension of our home, when it is actually warm enough in the Midwest to use it. And just like the rest of our home, it was important to me that this space felt warm and inviting.
Last summer, my husband and I decided to build a porch swing. It is still going strong, and we absolutely love it. This year, I've been focusing more on ambiance, and this wine barrel planter that I recently completed was the perfect touch. The following tutorial will help you give this project a go, and you can also follow along with the progress videos on my Instagram page. These look intimidating, and I have to admit that I was pretty nervous to work with concrete for the first time, but it was honestly way easier than I anticipated.The material list is pretty basic. Here's what I used:
Wine Barrel (I got mine off of amazon and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was actually a functioning wine barrel at one point)
Mixing Paddle (optional)
Once I had all my supplies gathered, I was ready to get to work. Since you are pouring cement into this planter, you will probably want to do the actual project where the planter will live (it's going to be heavy when it's all finished, so moving isn't ideal). All I needed was two days of no rain (so my cement could sit) so that I could start my project. So I waited, and waited, and waited, and I swear I would have been waiting for the rest of my life because it just never. stopped. raining. So, change of plans- I decided to work on our planter in the garage and move it to the back yard. See above- not ideal. Not ideal, but also doable if you happen to have a dolly (which we thankfully do).
Determining the height of your 4x4 is the first step. The 4x4 that I used was 10 feet long to begin with, and I settled on 8.5 feet as a desired height. If you are unsure about this, cut long (you can always go back and take more off the top later). Once I had my post cut, I awkwardly placed it at the center of my barrel and secured with my L brackets. This is probably a two person job, but I did it myself, and I'm not very strong... so again, doable. When securing, use a level to ensure that the post is plum (standing up straight). The L brackets will help your post to stand up enough until you can pour the cement.
The cement is the fun part, and surprisingly a lot easier than I anticipated. There are a few different strategies to this step, but I'll tell you what worked for us. Get your notebooks- this part gets technical. Just kidding, I just followed the directions on the back of Quickrete.
I poured the bag in, added the water that the directions called for, and stirred. The directions will tell you to add more until you reach a desired consistency. We did end up having to do that, and for us, the consistency we reached was similar to brownie batter. I did use this handy dandy mixing paddle, and it was extremely helpful. Mixing by hand is completely optional, but using the paddle attachment with my drill did make my life a bit easier.
Once the concrete is mixed, let it be for 48 hours. If you know me, you know that I don't love to wait on projects (chronic non waiter for paint to dry over here), but in this case, I made sure to wait the full 48 hours (and then some) before moving on to the next step. Once I (and by I, I mean my husband) had moved the decently heavy planter to the back patio, I was ready to add the finishing touches. I attached the plant hook, used these small hooks for the lights, and added some flowers. After you add the soil, you will want to remember to drill a couple of holes in the side of the planter to provide adequate drainage for your flowers (and it may go without saying, but make sure that you drill your holes higher than your concrete level!). Once you have the drainage all set, you should be ready to add whatever you'd like, with added peace of mind that rabbits won't eat all the flowers that you just paid for (the planter should be high enough to deter them).
Guys, I love it so much. I feel like I'm on our own little restaurant patio when I'm out here, and it's such an easy way to add some ambiance to your space. Let me know if you give it a try!