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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


How To Build a Planter & Outdoor Light Feature

Michael Nolan
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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour


Outdoor lighting is important when you are spending more time on your deck or patio, relaxing or entertaining friends. This fun, easy project allows you to express your individual style by creating container garden planters that double as outdoor lighting features.

Step 1

Choose a dot-based pattern for your outdoor lighting feature and mark dots with a marker. A simple design will work best.

Using a drill and ¼” drill bit, carefully drill holes where you have marked your pattern.


NOTE: Be very careful when placing your hands inside the can. Edges are sharp!

Step 2

With the pattern marked and drilled, use a neutral color spray paint to apply a base primer coat. Just like when you are priming a wall, this coat prepares the surface to receive the colors you will add next. It will also cover the ink that is usually present on cans.

Step 3

Apply a base coat with spray paint and allow it to dry completely. Then use painter’s tape to mark off a linear pattern (or any pattern you choose).  Repeat this process until you have completed the pattern you desire.


If you like, you might embellish the design by wrapping sections of the can with jute twine.  For even more interest, select twine in more than one color or paint it to match.

Step 4

Using your painter’s tape again, mark off a design on the terra cotta pot that complements the one you created and paint in the desired design. Repeat the process as needed to complete the look you want.

Step 5

Don’t forget to allow each layer of paint to dry thoroughly before reapplying tape for the next color.

Step 6

When you have achieved the desired look, set your can and pot aside for a few hours to allow the paint to fully set before filling your container with potting soil and plants.

Step 7

Plant the container leaving space for your light feature in the center.  The number of plants you will need depends on the container you use. In this project we had just the right amount of space for two Sweet Basil plants (rear) and two purple Coleus (front).  Use whatever plants you like, whether annuals, perennials, flowers, or herbs.

When you’re satisfied with the look, add candles to your outdoor lighting feature and light up the night!


Large Terra Cotta Pot (at least 14″ across)

empty & clean #10 can

Spray Paint


Painter’s Tape

Potting Soil


Jute Twine


Pillar Candle



¼” drill bit

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