Interesting DIY Concrete Garden Box Modular Panels

This guy makes decorative molds for pouring his own concrete panels that rapidly and easily assemble into a garden box (or boxes of various dimentions / ratios). They also come apart readily and can be easily moved or reconfigured.

They are 8 inches tall and 2.5 inches thick. Made in 2 foot, 3 foot or 4 or “whatever” length you like. I’m going to present the videos in the same order he made them, just be advised that the first video uses plywood for the mold, while in the 2nd video he makes them simpler with dimension lumber.

First up, the first make with plywood. Nice intro to the whole idea of them. Having had a set of nice redwood framed slightly raised beds ( all of 6 inches) just rot away after a few years, I can see the attraction of the cement ones. Then, having wanted to re-lay my squares into rectangles, and realizing that would mean all new lumber, well, I still have squares. Finally, at least in California, plank wood, and redwood in particular, has become astoundingly expensive. Cement is still cheap. 24 Minutes:

These would be easy to make once the forms are made and oiled. Then, they are also easy to move around. Here, in the 2nd version, he has an “easier” way to make the forms. This was the one I saw first. I like the various raised bed boxes he has in the background of the opening. 25 minutes:

In his third variation, he tries a few different light weight concrete mixes, including “Aircrete”. Cement and foamed shampoo? Who knew… 19 minutes:

I like the idea of the lighter weight panels. I suspect there may be better concrete mixes than what he used, but I’m not sure what that might be. I wonder if anyone sells crushed pumice? ;-) It would likely be needed to have a top board on the mold to keep it all from floating to the top… Using a decorative inset on both sides would also lighten the panels while not reducing strength all that much, though keeping the reinforcing wire centered might be a bit harder.

I’ll not be doing this any time soon, but want to “mark it” as it would be very helpful in Florida; where you need good drainage from all the rain, and where wood tends to not last long what with the tropical heat and humidity and the termites. So while not interested in moving concrete panels across the whole country, I am interested in making a better set of raised beds once moved.

I’m also thinking this would be a better way to make the base for hydroponic tables. Cinder blocks are OK and all, but I think this might work better. Perhaps with a concrete “table top” slab laid over it to support the water table.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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12 Responses to Interesting DIY Concrete Garden Box Modular Panels

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    they do make sacked “light weight” concrete mix. Made of pumice ash…pg

  2. jim2 says:

    You can mix Pearlite with regular concrete to get a less dense mass.

    Or, real foam concrete:

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    The big users put ‘fly ash’ into their mix. Fly ash is recovered from the scrubber water at coal fired power stations. Once put in a query (for possible use in fibreglass resin) but the supplier lost interest very quickly when an immediate order for 20 ton deliveries wasn’t likely.

  4. jim2 says:

    Also, I don’t believe you have to worry about anything floating in the concrete mix. Air won’t even float to the surface very well.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    Not a garden thing, but a variation on the Rocket Stove made of cinder blocks. I just love this “Earth Mother” young woman designing her own variation on an outdoor stove. The pickup truck in the background and the general rural hills setting helps complete the whole setting.

    She’s clueful on creation and operation of the Rocket Stove and fuel management, though I think she runs it a bit too hot / too much fuel for the pot; but maybe that’s partly to make the demo run faster. Also needs a primer on “detonation velocity” and why that means the pressure kettle can explode if loaded with explosives not steam, but that’s kind of irrelevant to her stove design. Building it with a base to raise it to comfortable height is also a nice feature for usability.

    I also like how she uses a propane torch to light it! No wimpy matches for her! I once got snickers and odd looks for just taking a propane torch on a few miles backpack camping trip. Next morning, in the very cold and wet (it had rained all night…) I laid down 3 rocks, clicked my clicker, and started making coffee. In about 2 minutes I had mine. Then made some for the other guys… who were still trying to get their “fancy” white gas based tiny backpacking stoves to light. Eventually used my torch to warm the tank on one of them and get it going… I LIKE propane torches for camping / lighting stoves ;-)

    I have a small one of that kind of pressure cooker. I’m not fond of the “Jump and Shout” pressure regulator and prefer the “jiggler”. The “jump and shout” is an Indian thing… I had one of these in the ’70s (designed in England) and it had the jiggler I prefer.

    I REALLY like her innovation of using a bent can as the air duct instead of trying to form it some other way with bricks and such.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Sometimes… Rural creativity over the top… Oven, grill, stove all from a pile of cinder blocks…

    Hey, just because it’s a disaster after the earthquake or hurricane, doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice bit of fresh baked bread and a 4 Burner Stove ….

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    6 block 2 burner stove

  8. jim2 says:

    Here’s a guy that approaches aircrete systematically, haven’t watched all his videos, but here’s one example:

  9. jim2 says:

    Here’s another guy who has made tons of aircrete videos:

  10. jim2 says:

    Details of one type of foam wand:

  11. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: ground up or chunk pumice is homeDepot sort of stuff.

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