Before we delve into the exciting planter that rocks, let me give you another mini update on the master bedroom. This year for Valentine’s Day, Jim and I decided to stay in and make a nice dinner together. We thought we would use the money we allotted for a nice dinner out to preserve one of our favorite memories, the photo booth strips from when Jim asked me to marry him. We already have a blown up photo canvas of our favorite wedding photo in the bedroom, and thought it would be a nice touch to add the photo strips. We got them mounted on a simple gray matboard and then had a white mat cut to go around it. I chose a silver frame and glass that looks nearly nonexistent to finish it off. We decided to have the two strips framed separately so that if we got more at a later date, we could just have them framed the same way instead of trying to add them all to one framed piece.

This is the first strip. Jim actually popped the question mid way through the third photo. My reaction is in the fourth.

We did this one after we calmed down to commemorate the occasion.

I decided to hang them in a stacked manner on the wall between the closet and bathroom door, which we walk by a million times a day.

It is also exactly opposite the bed, so we see them every time we lay down. We both really like it and feel it was definitely worth staying in on Valentine’s Day for, besides, restaurants are so busy on holidays when everyone goes out. We decided it is better to go out on our anniversary, since it isn’t a holiday to anyone but us.

And now to the main event!

If you remember from last week we made the plan for the planter and found some plants (on sale no less!). Luckily, everything I read about getting new houseplants suggested that you leave them in the pots they came in and put them in their new spot so they get used to it for about a week before you shock them by repotting. While the plants were adjusting to their new house, I had some work to do.

First I had to track down some pots. I needed 6 pots that were about 6 inches tall and 8-9 inches square for the width and length. I also wanted them to be lightweight so that if I had to lift out the plant tray in the planter for any reason (there is electrical stuff inside there) that it wouldn’t be hard to lift them out. They also had to be watertight (I didn’t want to take any chances having water leak into the plant tray and somehow douse the electrical wires or rot the planter wood) and on top of that I didn’t want to break the bank on this project, so they had to be inexpensive. I looked around for any type of container that would work, flower pot, food container, plastic storage bin….but was having no luck finding the right size container that was also cheap and lightweight. Having tried many different stores, and not finding what I was looking for, I was frustrated. Then I had an idea. What about the dollar store????  Low and behold, they had what I was looking for!

and it was only $6 for all the pots I needed!

Now what would I use to fill in the rest of the planter? I couldn’t find any styrafoam around….I was nearly puzzled about what to use, until I remembered I had some foam cushion I was going to use for a bench a while back (never ended up happening) that my dad got for me for free! The only hard part was cutting it.

I used my trusty tape measure to figure out how wide a piece I needed, then the t-square to draw a straight line for ease of cutting, and finally hacked away with my KitchenAid cut-all scissors.

Then I cut the strips to the exact size I needed (9.25 inches) to fit between the pots in the planter.

It was a messy, carpal tunnel inducing job, but someone had to do it!

See how the foam fills in the spaces? Luckily it was 5 inches tall, which allows for 1 inch to fill with rocks later!

The pots were slightly higher than I wanted them to be, but they seemed to be made out of a plastic that I could cut. (I sense my carpal-tunnel feeling is about to get worse).

Ouch. It doesn’t feel good on the hands to cut this plastic! I used my scissors again to roughly cut the top lip of the pot off.

Then I evened up the edge as best I could…and repeated it 5 more times until I could no longer feel my hand.

Before I broke out the dirt, I wrapped the foam in plastic wrap. This will keep the foam dry, should I accidentally spill when I am watering the plants and also keep it from getting moldy, because that would be gross and not good for us!

I put all the plants in the trimmed pots to make sure I liked the new height of the pots.

Ok, back to the task at hand. Leo will just have to be patient.

Now it’s time to plant! I found some potting soil at our local home improvement store…

This looked good to me because the #1 reason houseplants die is that they are over or underwatered…so this stuff has to be good right?

When planting, make sure to put some fresh dirt in the bottom of your new pot…

That much should do it….

Then carefully smush and wiggle the plant and try and release it from the container it came in…

Break up the roots to encourage new growth and make the plant breathe a sigh of relief….“ahhh I can stretch into my new bigger container!”

Then fill in around the plant with soil…..

…making sure to get dirt everywhere to give you that authentic gardening experience. Repeat 5 times to get all the plants into their comfy new bigger pots, then insert them into the planter!

Now it is time for the rocks. Easier said than done. Fact is, it isn’t summer so there aren’t many rocks around to choose from. I could buy decorative rocks, which are really expensive for a little bitty bag, or I could get a 50 lb bag of pea gravel (for $3.50) from the cement isle and roll with that, which is exactly what I did. I liked the size, variation in shape and the color of the pea gravel rocks….I also liked that Jim carried it for me. Only thing I didn’t like was that it was super dirty….

I took the dirty gravel little by little out of the bag and rinsed it in this container being careful not to dump rocks down the drain. Then I laid the clean gravel out on an old oven pan to dry.

Looks better when it is clean huh?

Then I got as impatient as Leo and decided to speed the drying process with my hairdryer.

This worked great until my hairdryer’s on/off switch fell off in my hand and I had to unplug it to turn it off. Uh oh…guess what I am getting tomorrow! Once the gravel was dry, I added it to the planter…

Looking good!

I know Leo, it is taking a while….I have to clean another batch of gravel to finish filling the planter….

I decided to put gravel around the base of the snake plants since they were less bushy…I might do the rest of the plants later, but I am sick of cleaning gravel for today!

Once all the gravel was in, I watered the plants. And now for the moment you have all been waiting for, the planter is DONE!

It looks great! And I can cross the first thing off my Retro Ranch Revamp Resolutions List! Yay!


12 thoughts on “THE PLANTER ROCKS!

  1. The framed photo booth strips turned out great … what a nice way to remember that exciting moment! The planter looks perfect …. the containers from the dollar store worked out really well … as did the pea gravel (when clean) 🙂 Hopefully your next project for the retro ranch will be easier on your hands and not take as long so Leo won’t mope. hehehe Great job once again, Kate!

  2. Hi Kate! I really like how the plants look against the orange wall – I especially like the bright green plant! I like the photo booth strips too – Seems like just yesterday!

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  4. Ok. That answers my question. The planters I have stick up a bit more than yours and can not be cut off. It is worth having an electric knife if one is going to cut much foam.

  5. Kate, thanks for the tips! Our planter (and fireplace) are made of stone similar to your fireplace and the plants look great. We just bought a 1955 ranch in Brown Deer and are glad to have found your blog as well as Retro Renovation.

    • Hi Michelle, Glad you like my planter! Congrats on your 1955 ranch in Brown Deer — from what I’ve seen there are a lot of cool ranch homes in that area. I bet yours is one of them!

  6. Pingback: BIRDS IN THE BUILT-IN PLANTER… | Retroranchrevamp's Blog

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