Recycle a Flat Basketball to Create a Hypertufa Garden Orb

Rhonda B
by Rhonda B
I admit it-I watch for interesting stuff to be thrown away by my neighbors. Who doesn't? This usually leads to me picking up some items which my family dubs totally useless. One example would be the bag of flat basketballs my next door neighbor threw out in the trash. Here they are:
Useless? I think not. They make the perfect mold to create hypertufa garden orbs and better yet they are free. Sure-you can go and buy glass lighting fixtures. But why do that when you can use something free (and safer)? Here is a pic of one in my garden:
I use hypertufa for this post but you can use your favorite concrete mix for these. In fact I made a concrete orb with one of the flat basketballs. It is way heavier than the hypertufa. Use which ever you prefer. That is the best part of creating these-you can adjust the directions for your taste and preferences.

For this project you will need:

1. Your favorite hypertufa recipe or concrete mix. Also gloves and a mask.

2. A flat basketball.

3. A bowl or container filled with wet sand (to keep the basketball round).

4. An aired up basketball or other round item to make an impression in the sand.

5. A plastic grocery sack to cure the hypertufa orb in.

6. A pair of scissors.

That's it! So now let's get busy creating:-))

1. Using the aired up basketball make an impression in the bowl of sand for the flat basketball to sit in. You want it to be rounded so you don't end up with a flat sided basketball. Unless you don't mind-then you can just leave the sand as is.
2. Look for the fill plug on the basketball and have it facing up like this:
3. Now you are going to take your scissors and cut an opening around the plug. You only need a hole large enough for your hand to fit in. Also leave the flap attached.

4. Set the flat basketball in the impression in the sand. You are now ready to mix your hypertufa (or concrete).
5. Begin mixing your hypertufa (or concrete). There are some good recipes online for hypertufa but if you can't find one here is my recipe:

1 part portland cement

1 1/2 parts Pro-Mix All Purpose Growers Mix

1 1/2 part perlite

A handful of concrete reinforcing fibers

You will notice that I use Pro-Mix instead of peat moss. Yes it works-I do not have a need for a bag of peat moss so I use what I have. Pro-Mix works perfectly!

Water as needed
The hypertufa should be about the consistency of oatmeal-when you squeeze a small ball of it in your hand only a few drops of water should come out. Do not add too much water-it will make a weak product! Let your hypertufa sit for about 10 minutes to hydrate before you begin filling.

6. Begin filling your basketball-press the hypertufa down inside the basketball as you fill.
7. After you have filled your basketball let it sit for 24-48 hours. It should begin to harden in 24 hours but I do not unmold for 48 hours.
8. If it has hardened begin cutting the basketball off of the orb. Use sharp scissors:-))
9. After you have "unmolded" the orb you can take a knife and scrape off the excess that is around the fill hole. I use an old steak knife for this. You can also take a wire brush and rough up around the outside of the orb if you would like. I don't do that myself but I know some hypertufa people do it.
Hose it off.

10. Now wrap the orb in the plastic grocery sack and set in the shade for a week or two so that it can cure. Check it daily and mist with water so it doesn't dry out.
11. After it has cured set it out in the garden-after it has been out there a while it will start to form moss on it. I might use the buttermilk mixture to start the moss growing-I am impatient:-))

I made three of these orbs for my garden and I still have plenty of basketballs left to make more. I love how they look under the Hosta and can not wait for them to grow some moss. For a really cool look I might make another one with concrete and mosaic the outside of it. That would be so awesome looking!
To see more pictures of this project or for more project ideas stop by my blog!
Rhonda B
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Don7413561 Don7413561 on Aug 04, 2022

    What is the buttermilk mixture referenced to make the moss grow quicker??

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