Secure Your Landscape Sculptures

R. L. Rhodes
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Difficulty: Intermediate
Duration: 1 hour

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Introduction

While the resin used to make today’s commercially available outdoor statues is much more practical in many regards, the lightness of the resulting statue makes it prone to accidents and strong wind—not to mention theft. So how do you keep your statues in place? One straightforward solution is to add a concrete base.

The base for a small to medium sized statue can be made in a small bucket or mixing tub so long as the container is at least slightly larger than the bottom of the statue itself. With life-size or larger, the easier method is to form the mold directly in the ground by digging a pit and pouring the concrete directly. Once set, it’s impractical to relocate the base, so be sure that you’re satisfied with that placement being permanent. (image: Shutterstock Raul Souza)

Step 1

If you’re using the container method: Paint the interior of the container with a generous layer of cooking oil. Don’t spare the oil and be sure to cover the entire interior. That should allow you slide the dried concrete base out of the container once you’re done. Otherwise, count on the base of your statue being permanently encased in plastic.

If you’re using the pit method: Measure off a space at least as large as the bottom of your statue. Dig to a depth of at least 3 inches. You’ll need to determine the volume of the resulting pit in order to purchase the enough concrete to fill. To avoid waste, pack the floor and walls of the pit as smoothly and solidly as possible against seepage.

Step 2

Particularly if you’re working outside, check the weather to make sure there’s no precipitation in the 24-hour forecast, as that will disrupt the drying process. When working with concrete mix, be sure to wear heavy gloves and a respirator. Mix the concrete according to the instructions on the package. If you’re using the container method, use a different container for mixing, so as to avoid disturbing the layer of oil you applied in the previous step. Once the concrete is thoroughly mixed, pour it into the mold to a depth of 3 or more inches and allow it time to partially set. (image: Shutterstock Meawpong3405)

Step 3

Allow the concrete to dry for 3 or 4 hours—not solid, but firm enough to hold an imprint. Place the statue so that its center of balance is aligned over the base, then press the foot of the statue into the concrete, settling it about an inch into the surface. Make adjustments to ensure that it isn’t listing to one direction or another. Allow the concrete to finish setting around the foot of the statue so that the finished base holds it firmly in place. (image: Shutterstock jfreeman)

For a more classical or Gothic vibe, obscure the base by covering it with ivy or surrounding it with other plants. Haven’t yet found the right statue for your landscape? Take a look at the Home Depot’s collection of garden art and statues.

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