Garden umbrella takes a stand - in flower pot [Redux]

[One of my most popular bLog-oMotives entries the past two summer did not feature a graphic design topic. Instead it involved a garden design project. At the time, my instructions for a flower pot patio umbrella stand ended up on the homepage of Apartment Therapy. Then it was mentioned on the blog Life on the Balcony, resulting in a lot of traffic coming my way. Google searches are now bringing a lot of readers to my instructions for this project. I've also had several email requests for the information - so, here it is again.]

My increasingly gorgeous North Portland garden does need some urgent care this week. Things are growing out of control and I hope to take advantage of some "garden therapy" several times in the next few days. Funny, since LeAnn Locher wrote about my garden in Just Out this past month, quite a few people have been inviting themselves over for viewings. (LeAnn recently posted some additional photos on her Flickr page.) We've also been enjoying numerous dinners with friends out on the backyard patio.

Until quite recently I had paid little attention to the tumbled paver patio in front of the house. Initially created to eliminate the last patch of lawn in our garden, the patio had remained empty for almost a year. One of the ideal aspects of the patio space is that it is completely private from the street due to the growth of the plantings behind a curved retaining wall. In fact, walkers passing by on the sidewalk below, while commenting on the garden, most often are unaware I am up on the higher portion of the front yard.

I knew I wanted a couple somewhat traditional Adirondack chairs and a small table for the outdoor room. I also felt a garden umbrella was needed to shade the seating area in the mid-afternoon when hot, direct sunlight was a factor. Still, I didn't want your average, clunky umbrella stand in my front patio decor. When I came across some large pottery flower pots I knew I had my umbrella stand solution - I just needed to wait for the pots to go on sale. I couldn't possibly pay retail. I hate to pay retail.

A couple weeks later the pot I had my eye on went on clearance - and I had an additional 20% off coupon. My umbrella stand project could begin.

The materials needed for one flower pot umbrella stand (shown above right) are:

• 1 large, heavy flower pot - a minimum of 18" to 24" tall

• 1 piece of 2 inch PVC plumbing pipe - cut 2 inches shorter than the depth of the flower pot

• 1 metal plumbing flange to fit 2 inch pipe

• 1 transitional "screw-on thingy" to add to the flange allowing for the PVC pipe to fit into flange

• Rocks, gravel or crushed concrete - enough to fill flower pot to about 6 inches below lip of pot

• Potted annuals or perennials in 6 inch pots - enough to circle around top of large flower pot

• Metal peg or nail (optional)

The tools needed include:

• a tape measure

• a hacksaw (to cut the PVD pipe)

• an electric drill (optional)

Measure the depth of the large flower pot and subtract two inches. This will give you the length needed to cut the PVC pipe with the hacksaw. Screw the transitional "thingy" onto the flange, place the PVC pipe into the transitional "thingy" and place the combined pieces into the large flower pot (as shown above in the second panel from the left)

(As an optional step, I then measured 2 inches down from what would be the top of the exposed pipe and drilled a hole through both sides of the pipe. I placed the umbrella pole into the pipe, marked the location of the holes in the pipe and drilled a hole of the same size through the umbrella pole. This will allow me to slip a metal peg, or large nail, through the pipe and pole to prevent the umbrella from possibly taking flight in a strong wind.)

I then began to fill the flower pot with some crushed concrete - remnants of our past deck backyard deck project. With about 4-5 inches of concrete in the pot I repositioned the pipe/flange contraption so it was centered (above, center photo). I then continued to fill the pot with crushed concrete until I had reached a level about 6 inches from the lip of the flower pot. (above, second photo from right).

After leveling out the crushed concrete in the flower pot I placed seven 6 inch pots of flowers and vegetation in the large flower part and around the pole (above, far right). My flowering garden umbrella stand was complete. All I had to do was place the umbrella in the stand and arrange the rest of my garden furniture (below).

I purchased the Adirondack chairs, small table and umbrella on clearance, with a 10% off total purchase coupon from Cost Plus World Market. All the plumbing pieces used to make the stand came from a nearby Lowe's, but could probably be found at any hardware store. The large flower pot, as well as the smaller one and all the plants, were purchased on clearance - with additional coupon discounts - at a neighborhood store. My entire new patio decor project cost me just under $300.

I have enjoyed sitting out on the patio, working on my PowerBook, listening to the garden critiques from unsuspecting passersby.

Note: You might also want to check out my copper and bronze hose guard and copper pipe garden trellis projects.

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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