Build a garden trough:
Step-by-step instructions on how to hand build a garden trough.
Hypertufa project #1

Garden trough

Hypertufa Project: build a garden trough using forms

Build a garden trough using forms
There are various types of form molding from the most simplest to the very complicated metal or rubber styles of molds. The simplest mold is the use of an inner smaller mold and the larger outer mold, the distance between the inner and outer walls of the molds should be at least 1.5 inches to 2 inches width in order to give the project added strength.   

STEP #1:
If you are making a square box like container, make your inner and outer forms out of wood, metal or plastic, you do not need a bottom to either the inner or outer forms.   Remember to make the two forms so you have at least 1.5 inches between the walls. Place the larger form on a flat work area with a large piece of plastic on the work area.

STEP #2:
Mix the three combinations of peat moss, perlite and portland cement. Mix all three dry in a large container before adding the water to the mixture. Now add enough water to the mixture that when you squeeze a hand full of the mixture in your hand it will stay together in a ball and water does not ooze out between your fingers.

  • 3 parts peat moss
  • 3 parts perlite
  • 2 parts portland cement

STEP #3:
Place and compact the hypertufa mixture into the bottom of the outer (larger) form until you have a compacted mixture on the bottom of at least 2 inches of hypertufa. Place the inner (smaller) form inside the large form on top of the hypertufa bottom and center the inner form so it is even on all four sides.

STEP #4 :
Start filling the space between the inner and outer forms with the hypertufa mixture making sure to pack the mixture down as you proceed. Use a small flat ended stick a bit smaller than the thickness of your inner and outer wall to compact the hypertufa. You can remove the inner mold within an hour of finishing the project, you will find it easier to take the inner form apart to remove it. Leave the outer form for 24 hours.  

STEP #5 :
Let your mold dry in a well-ventilated room for at least 24 hours. It is a good idea to place an electric fan (air only, not heat) on your project to assist in the drying. 

STEP #6 :
After 24 hours you will be able to scrape the outside of your form to expose the perlite and give a granite like appearance.

STEP #7 :
Let the form dry for at least two weeks or until it has turned light gray in color. You can now file the outside of the container and sand it with a heavy grade sand paper to give the container the granite like appearance. If you are making a planter you can now drill a drain hole in the bottom of your planter using a metal drill bit and electric hand drill.

If you are building a container with tall sides (more than 12 inches) or a large base (more than 18 inches x 18 inches) you can add wire to the bottom and sides to strengthen the container. The more complicated molds are made out of painting several coats of a latex rubber over your mold and then making a reverse mold out of fiberglass.

Hypertufa project:
Hypertufa project: build a garden trough by hand

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