Category Archives: Garden Tips & Tricks

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!

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”.