10 step Unique DIY String Light Poles with Concrete Bases


I love DIY projects, but I have never worked with cement before this Home Depot Cement DIY Challenge. As is the case prior to any challenge, I was slightly intimidated, yet eagerly said, “Bring it on!” Having had no experience with concrete, I finished this project having learned five things.

Materials Needed
  • 5o lb. Quikrete Fast-Setting Cement
  • Herbs and vegetable plants
  • Wood planter
  • Outdoor Clear Hanging Garden String Lights
  • 2 — 5-gallon buckets
  • WD-40
  • Hooks
  • Aspen tree trunks, or wood



Step 1

Prep your 5-gallon buckets with WD-40. Spray it generously to cover the entire inside of the buckets.

Step 2

Follow directions on the Quickrete bag. We used approximately ¾-gallon of water per bucket, which is more than advised on the bag (½ gallon), but you can adjust as need be.

Pour ¼ or slightly more of the cement into the bucket, then add a small amount of water and mix well.

Step 3

Repeat until you have used the entire bag of cement, and make sure it’s mixed well. This is quick-setting cement, so work in a swift manner. Once the cement is mixed well, insert the tree trunk fully into the center of the cement mixture.

Step 4

Make sure the trunk is straight, and hold it in place for about 15-20 minutes, until it no longer moves. The concrete will not be dry in 15 minutes, but it will hold it in place.

Step 5

Repeat this same step with the other bucket. The cement is fast-setting, and our trees were set after about 45 minutes to one hour; however I recommend waiting at least 12 hours before removing from the buckets to ensure the trunks stay in place.

Step 6

After 12 hours, you can do on of two things.

1. Lightly hammer the sides of the bucket to loosen the edges of the concrete from the bucket and remove from the bucket.

2. Use a utility knife to cut the buckets from the top to bottom for a clean break.

We chose option #2 just because it was heavy, and easier for us to remove.

Step 7

Place the concrete stands where you want them to be.

Step 8

Drill a small, shallow hole into the top of each trunk, and screw in small hooks.

Step 9

Hang the string lights from hook to hook.

Step 10

Plant the herbs and vegetable plants in the wood planter box with a little garden soil. Recruit the kids to help.

We planted sage, oregano, lavender, a sweet red pepper plant, mint and garlic chives.

Step 11

Set the table, using the planter box as a centerpiece, and fresh vegetables and wooden accessories as place settings.

Step 12

Prepare the food, and enjoy.