Author Archives: Amy Canterbury

7 Secrets for Choosing Fine Cast Stone Planters, Pots & Urns

Cast stone garden and patio décor seem to be everywhere. You can find them in garden stores. You can find them in design showrooms. You can find them online. You can even find them at Home Depot. But, it’s really hard to find good ones.

So, how in the world is one able to choose a quality planter with so many different options?
Here are a few tips:

  • 1. Look for seams.  

Seams & bubbles in a cast stone baluster

You shouldn’t be able to see ANY seams on a well-made garden ornament.  If you do, it’s a sign that the manufacturers are cutting corners. Many molds for cast stone may create seams, but the seams should be hand-sanded and finished so that they are imperceptible.

  • 2. Look for air bubbles.  

Bubbles in a cast stone garden ornament

Air bubbles are common when cast stone pots and statuary are made.  They can be caused by a variety of reasons, but one thing is certain—you shouldn’t be able to see ANY of them.   Like seams, this problem can be rectified by hand patching, sanding and hand finishing, which is tedious, time consuming and expensive.  Sadly, most manufacturers don’t do this.

  • 3. Look for drainage holes

Drainage holes are a must for outdoor garden ornaments to avoid pooling.

Every cast stone pot, urn, jardinière and planter should come standard with a drainage hole. Drainage is crucial to keeping your plants alive. Even if one doesn’t plan to place plants in the receptacle, one has to have a drainage hole to keep water from pooling in the bowl and expanding in freezing weather.

Urns and planters are often placed on pedestals or columns.  Quality manufacturers will allow you the option of having holes drilled in the pedestals if you plan to have the urn and pedestal plumbed for an automatic watering system.

You should have the option of having the drainage holes plugged if you want to use the planters indoors.


4. Make sure that the cast stone material is TRULY frost proof.

Make sure your planter is frost-proof .

Frost-resistant is not the same thing as frost-proof.  Bona fide frost-proof cast stone does NOT need to be emptied during freezing weather.  It also does not need to be brought indoors during the winter or covered or sealed during a cold snap.  

  • 5. Ask about seepage.

  Water should not seep through the walls of the planters

  • 6. Make sure that the manufacturer provides a warranty.

Make sure that the company offers a multi-year pro-rated warranty.  Most importantly, check to be certain that the company actually honors its warranties. Archiped has a 6 year pro-rated warranty for everything that they make.

  • 7. Remember that paint is a no-no

Painted cast stone will peel. To avoid this problem, paint dyes should be pre-mixed into the slurry.

Much like the paint on a house or fence, any cast stone that is going to be exposed to the elements should NEVER be painted unless you want to repaint the urns and pots when the paint eventually peels.  Quality cast stone will have the dye mixed into the slurry so that the garden item will be the same color throughout.

Follow these tips and you won””””””””””””””””t go wrong!

Handcrafted Four Seasons Garden Statues

Four Seasons statues have been popular for centuries—especially during antiquity and the Renaissance. They can either be fat little cherubs, called “putti,” or lovely women, both holding allegorical representations of the seasons, such as grapes, flowers in baskets, cornucopia, or wheat.

When searching for a garden statuary, a set of Four Seasons statues is not hard to find. However, it is exceedingly difficult to produce statues of the impeccable quality and fine detailing of those handmade by Archiped. However, because Archiped”s molds are taken directly from 19th century limestone sculpted Italian/French antique originals, it is nearly impossible to tell the originals from the copies.

Four Seasons Statues

Archiped””s rendition of the Four Seasons statues

This picture has Summer sitting on the small Estate Display Column on the left, carrying a basket of vegetables. Autumn stands on the large Estate Display Column in the middle cradling a cornucopia, with Spring holding a basket of grapes on the mid-size column on the right. Winter stands alone on the ground in the front.

When the cast stone reproductions are removed from the molds, they contain naturally-occurring bubbles and seams. Consequently, each Archiped is meticulously fine-tuned and filled by hand to 100% perfection. This attention to detail sets Archiped”s statues at a higher level above its competitors. In addition, each cast stone product is completely frost-proof, guaranteed against cracking and accompanied by a 6-year pro-rated warranty.

Archiped''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s Rendition of Summer, Autumn & Spring Cast Stone Statues


Planters, Urns, Pots and Drainage

Plant receptacles need to have adequate drainage so that the foliage planted in them will not develop root rot or “drown.”

drainage holes prevent plant root rot

Plant suffering from root rot

For outdoor use, place live plants in containers with drainage holes.  The water will flow through the containers, keeping the plants safe from over-watering.  Additionally, the drainage will stop water from pooling in the pots and keep them from freezing during the winter.  Frozen water will expand and crack the receptacles.

Furthermore, when placing urns on top of pedestals outdoors, we recommend installing drainage holes in the pedestals as well—especially if the pots will be connected to an automatic watering system.  Consequently, the tubes coming out of the side of the pot will be hidden.  In residential installations, however, many homeowners prefer to hand water their plants. In these cases, pedestal drainage holes aren’t necessary.  However, we recommend that all pedestals holding planters with live foliage have holes.

cast stone pedestals and urns with drainage holes

Urns and pedestals should both have drainage holes for outdoor planting.

On the other hand, for those wanting to use the urns and planters indoors, we advise that they NOT have drainage holes to avoid leaking onto inside floors. In these instances, there is a nominal charge for PLUGGING and sealing the pieces.  The most practical way to water these plants is to house the plants in containers that can be easily removed for watering, and then place back in the urns.

watering plants in removeable containers with drainage holes

Place indoor plants in removeable containers for easy watering.

Plant It and Leave It.

Archiped’s slogan is “Plant It and Leave It,” and that applies to drainage.  No rocks needed, no special soil, just “Plant It and Leave It”.

Pristine Cast Stone Perfection

Who Makes Archiped Classics’ Cast Stone Garden Ornaments?

Richard Stanzel

Richard Stanzel

Richard Stanzel,  our Co-Founder and President of Archiped Classics, along with his assistant artisan, personally casts each piece that is produced in our studio.  Finally, after casting, our highly skilled artisan spends an average of four hours in the cast stone hand-finishing process. He meticulously patches air bubbles, sands seams, and puts the finishing touches on each and every piece.

Why Does the Owner Cast Each Bench, Urns, Planters and Statuary? 


Shelley Stanzel

First and foremost, at Archiped, we insist on quality. Still, after 27 years in business, Richard Stanzel has yet to find anyone whom he believes fully understands the nuance involved with mixing additives, gaging the water temperature during changing seasons, etc. Because of this, he and his wife, Shelley do not want to risk the chance that anyone could possibly make a mistake that would affect the impeccable standards that have come to be expected of Archiped products.  Therefore, Richard makes certain that everything that leaves our studio door is perfect.


Why Should I Care Who Makes Archipeds?

Edwin Vasquez, Hand-Finishing Artisan

Edwin Vasquez, Hand-Finishing Artisan

Companies who make high-end cast stone garden ornaments, planters and accessories possess an array of differences.  The key that sets Archiped apart is that everything we make is personally handcrafted by our owner.  To our knowledge, we are the only luxury cast stone company who personally hand makes each piece. Consequently, by providing our customers the opportunity to work directly with our owner, we are able to guarantee them that our products are of consistent quality with meticulous attention to detail.

In addition, it is crucial to us that our customers succeed in placing orders without the worry that the products will not be as advertised or seen in pictures.

Finally, we strive to ensure that Archiped lives to up to its reputation.  As a result, with Richard Stanzel’s hands-on approach, we guarantee pristine quality every time.

Patina of Cast Stone Garden Urns and Statuary - Archiped Classics

Patina and Cast Stone Garden Urns and Planters

Weathering is a concern when one is purchasing garden items, especially cast stone pots and planters. Some garden ornaments show tinges of weathering, whereas others develop a patina or have large spots of salt and mineral deposits leach through the walls.

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Shipping Cast Stone Urns and Garden Statuary

So What’s the Story with Shipping?

In the world of internet shopping, most people don’t think twice about shipping options. You place an order. The seller then sends it via FedEx, UPS, or through the US Postal Service, and it shows up at your door ready to be unpacked and enjoyed.

Shipping furniture and garden statuary, however, is a whole different animal than purchasing a book on Amazon and having it sent to your great-great aunt in Peoria.

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