Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Concrete Globes

Looking at garden photos taken in the 19th century,  I noticed that several of these gardens had decorative concrete spheres. I decided to try to make some and use them as in my own garden. Here is how I proceeded.

My problem was how to get a spherical mold.  I eventually found a solution. I bought some glass globes that are put over light bulbs. I found mine in a used building materials store where they came in two sizes and were $1 a piece. They no doubt can be found in regular stores.

 I then made a batch of concrete, filled up the globes and then let them sit for several days to allow time for the concrete to cure. The concrete should be made exclusively with sand or very small aggregate, otherwise the result is not very smooth. It should also be rather wet.

When the concrete has thoroughly set, I take a hammer and very gently break off the glass globe (they cannot be reused). Naturally, you need to wear protective gloves and glasses, and it is easier to first put the globe in a cardboard box in order not to spread around the pieces of glass. If you give gentle taps with the hammer, the glass breaks off without flying all over the place and without damaging the concrete globe.

I have used globes on each side of paths, as they did in some of the old gardens. Some I have used singly to create a focal point as in the first picture in this post. Over the years, lichen starts growing on them and they acquire a patina. You can speed up the process by spreading yogurt on them. The following one was made about 6 years ago and is starting to age nicely.


  1. Oh, very nice! I've never heard the yogurt tip. The patina on that last ball is very attractive.

    I've thought of trying this but never got myself organized. I've seen children's hollow rubber balls suggested as molds and you can get a variety of sizes that way.

    1. I thought of that but was afraid the ball would collapse or at least not keep its shape. I suppose if it were made of a stiff rubber it could work.

    2. Have you tried tufa troughs? That's another project that looks interesting but I never get around to.

    3. Yes, I have. You have to strike a balance between having them light enough and study enough. They can be very attractive. You can also buy real tufa which is a very light, porous rock. You drill holes in the tufa and grow the plants directly into them with no soil.

  2. Love the globes!!

    In case you don't see my reply to your comment on my blog, edamame are really easy to grow. I got my seeds here:


    (Butter benas)

    No harder to grow than green beans!

  3. This is on my list of grandchildren projects next year!

  4. Hey, that's very interesting Alain. Good idea.

  5. I like it! I've seen these covered with mosaic tiles, too. I like how they flow into the landscape instead of jutting away from it.

  6. Very cool, and very creative. I've seen people use bowling balls for the same effect, but this is definitely an improvement.

  7. I'm laughing, picturing someone with a bowl of yogurt and saying, "I'm just going outside to feed the concrete."
    One advantage of using the glass globes over children's plastic balls is the consistent size of the flat edge you got. They look really good!

  8. Alain, a friend and I have collected several glass globes for this very project this summer. Did you coat the inside of the glass globe with oil or petroleum jelly before you poured in the cement?


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