We’ve all seen the beautiful paper lanterns hung at garden parties, or the big topiary balls that inspire awe in commercial landscapes, but how do you get a garden ball of your own? You can make all of the magic happens for yourself – without a lot of craft skills and without a lot of cash. Let’s look at how to make your own garden balls that you can hang from trees, from your deck, or even rest on the top of your fountain or other outdoor accents.

In this tutorial, we’ve used lettuce as an example, it’s pretty, delicious and useful – but you can use any flower or plant that’s suited for the area you plan on putting the ball. You can even use this trick to create some crazy awesome landscape lighting, but we’ll get into all of that soon.


To make the planting ball:

  1. You’re going to need to get two of the planters shown above. Make sure when you buy them that the chains are detachable. Usually the green variety have holes where the hooks for the chains go – these for perfect for what we’re going to do.
  2. The lining should come in the basket, but if it doesn’t; they’re available at any gardening store, just make sure the size is the same as your baskets.   Each basket needs a lining.
  3. Remove the chains from both of the baskets.
  4. Fill each basket with soil and get it damp (so it won’t fly around)
  5. Set the first one down like a bowl on a sturdy surface.
  6. Use a piece of cardboard, or plastic and place it on top of the second basket. This is going to let you turn it upside down without losing dirt or missing the mark.
  7. Try to line the basket and the upside down basket up (make sure the holes for the chains are aligned if your basket has holes) and then being very careful remove the cardboard from between the two. You should have a ball shape with the dirt trapped inside.
  8. Using a light wire that you can bend with your fingers (available at any hardware store), twist it around the edges of both baskets together to hold them in place. Use a lot of wire – you’re going to want to make sure it’s really secure.
  9. Grab the chains and attach them through both the holes, this is going to help to keep it together.
  10. Give the ball a test by lifting it up by the chains. If everything is good, you can hang it up where it should go.
  11. Now you can start planting into some of the surfaces of the ball. You can take it down to plant, but hanging will let you get at the parts that would otherwise be inaccessible if it were sitting on a table.
  12. Cut small X shapes into the lining. You’re going to press your seedlings or seeds right in until they reach the soil. You can create any pattern or style you want – after all – it’s your planting ball.
  13. Keep it watered and keep an eye on it – it should fill in within a few weeks (if you didn’t use larger plants) and you’ll have beautiful and unique accents hanging in your garden.


To make a light fixture

If you’d rather make a light fixture, follow the steps above, leaving out the soil, the lining and you don’t need to be as intense with the wire. You’ll want to wrap outdoor strings of lights around the different wires in the basket to make a beautiful outdoor light feature (or 6).