The Gardener's Journal







To make my bird bath, I used a plastic pot saucer covered with a plastic grocery bag or plastic wrap for the frame. Place this upside-down on newspapers or an old board. A board makes it easier to move to another spot for drying.

I made my hypertuffa with equal parts of perlite and premixed concrete using an old coffee can for measuring. Add water slowly while mixing until the concoction has the consistency of a malted milk shake. It should be thick enough to stay where you put it, but soft enough so that you can spread it around. This mixture is applied to the outside of the saucer at least one inch thick and preferably two or more inches. I did not worry about it being even because I wanted it to look natural. Embedding either chicken wire into the mixture as it is applied or adding cement fibers while making the mix, will result in a stronger finished container.

Once the hypertuffa has set, usually within 24 to 48 hours, you can roughen up the outside with a scraping tool, but do it carefully. At this stage, the hypertuffa is very fragile and easily broken. The next step requires patience. Leave this to dry at least one to two weeks before Trying to remove the saucer. After you have successfully removed the saucer, the container must cure for another four weeks. Then, fill with fresh water and place in a flower bed. My birds seem to like having a bird bath sitting on the ground. Moss will soon develop in the crevices.

Note: To repair a break, I have been successful using outdoor carpenters glue to put pieces back together and then patching surface with a bit more of the mixture. Use the keyword "hypertuffa" in a search engine to find more online information and ideas.

Hypertuffa is a blend of cement, sand and some type of filler, usually perlite. However, one can experiment with other materials such pine needles or wood chips. This is put over some type of frame or into a mold to create a container or garden art object. The goal is to create a material that is lighter than cement and has a natural look. Because many of these fillers are porus, much like a clay pot, they allow for some air circulation which can be beneficial to plants. An esthetic plus is that they readily grow moss making them look even more natural while blending into your garden landscape.





making a hypertuffa bird bath
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