Build a Stone-Look Trough

Make a hypertufa container that's perfect for rock gardening, alpine plants, or a birdbath.
The Basics

These stonelike containers
add character to any garden.

Form weathered-looking stone containers from hypertufa, a blend of cement, peat moss, and sand. It's easy, fun, and satisfying. Hypertufa containers -- or troughs -- make natural additions to the garden as well as handsome homes for alpine plants on a patio, deck, or balcony. Next thing you know, you'll be making them for all your friends and family.

June Skidmore of Mercer Island, Washington, creates and sells hypertufa troughs. As a gardener fond of alpine plants, June perpetuates the concept of trough gardening made popular in 1930s England. She explains how old stone troughs, once used to water farm horses, were turned into lovely container gardens, which were especially appropriate for small plants that might otherwise "get lost" in the garden. Other containers were made from shallow old stone sinks -- taken outdoors from the cottage and planted.

Although various methods exist for making hypertufa, June shares this technique, which she has found to work well and weather the seasons.

Continued on page 2:  Preparation