This weekend my husband and I finally made a sculpture for the focal point of our hill garden. When we built the wall back in 2004 I had imagined a sculpture in this location, and even installed a concrete tube footing with rebar. I guess I just never found something I wanted to spend a lot of money on, and there were always things that seemed like a higher priority (plants, ha!) but since my garden is going to be on two garden tours soon I figured I better get something in that spot that was mildly interesting.
We had a few criteria… 1) not too expensive (we ended up spending about $40). 2) not to hard or time consuming to make (It took us a couple hours). 3)it had to be at least 6′ tall to be in scale with the garden (it ended up being 10′tall).
Materials: We started by going to the hardware store and buying 9 plastic pipes (10′ long pvc schedule 40), some huge landscape nails, 9 solar lights, a metal floor flange with a 4″ extension, and 2 cans of spray paint formulated for painting plastic. We also used some plywood and a landscape nail we already had.
We laid out the pipe on a tarp on the driveway, across two pipes to keep them slightly elevated.
Next we sanded off the black bar codes and writing, then cleaned the pipes with a little soap and water.
We spray painted the pipes with two different color reds. They were pretty close in color, one was more orange than the other. I tried to do a fade from one to the other, but the paint colors are just so close you really can’t tell.
We put 3 pieces of plywood together for a thick base, painted it black, then attached the floor flange in the center over a 1/2″ hole we drilled.
Then we arranged the 9 nails facing up, in a circle around that.
The idea is that the metal floor flange would sit down over the piece of rebar that was sticking out of the concrete foundation in the area I wanted the sculpture. You could also just have a long piece of rebar pounded far into the ground, it’s the same idea, but having it already in concrete was a bonus. The metal flange fit right over the rebar, and even though they are not technically attached, the rebar/flange combo keeps the sculpture from tilting.
After we painted the pvc pipes, we gave them a quick second coat.
We put the plywood base into place by just setting it on the existing single piece of rebar coming out of the ground, and leveling the plywood base with rocks.
When the pvc pipes were dry, we put some 99 cent solar lights on the top of each pipe. The solar lights just needed a little duct tape around the base and they fit perfectly snugly within the pvc pipe (we did check the fit of the solar lights with the pipe at the hardware store to make sure we got ones that fit together with little problem or work.
Putting up the sculpture was then just a matter of literally setting the pipes over the ends of the nails.
The pipes bend naturally, and splay out. When the wind blows they wave a bit, and move. It is very organic looking.
I was very happy with the result, it is definitely eye catching, and I love the way it moves in the wind. The solar lights at night are a little bonus. I think we might go back at some point in the future and do another shorter ring around this one, maybe in yellow!