Rope & Leaf Concrete Garden Orb

I am so busy that sometimes things slip through… This project was on the the list to post but got overlooked. ‘But don’t fret, it’s now here so you can run out and make your Rope & Leaf Concrete Garden Orb!

The Concrete:

I use many different types of concrete but this time I used the RapidSet Cementall. It sets really fast and is very strong! The method is much like my first my Concrete Garden Orbs (first seen here). It has been copied umpteen times and has spurred many ideas for more designs.

The Form:

Forget the balloons, and get some reusable balls like beach balls or rubber balls. They are much rounder and more likely not to burst. Find a bucket ot container to stabilize it on during the making.


You will need a mixing container and utensil of some type. DO be safe and use a dust mask for the concrete mixing and gloves of course. Keep a large bucket of water for clean-up and a watering can for adding water to the mix.

The ‘Rope’ in this version is very large fluffy yarn; the thicker the better as it will need to absorb the concrete.

Mix and slurry of the Rapidset Cementall and thoroughly soak enough yarn to wrap the ball many times. If you don’t have enough you can add another ‘rope’ and twist it into the other one. Make sure it takes up as much mix as possible. Keep mixing it so that the sand does not stay behind.

Pull out the soaked yarn and run it through your fingers. Wrap the ball in a random way that overlaps. That will help stabilize it from sliding off. It will look similar to this but slightly more textured ( this is portland cement which can also be used for the rope). In my haste to work with this super rapid cement I missed the picture; my bad.

The Lovely Leaves:

Just kidding, all leaves are lovely; just find some that are not too precious and have a nice vein pattern. You can even use some cabbage if need be as my large leaf orbs.

Make it Thick:

This Rapidset Cementall can be used thick as well as thin. Mix a small amount (since it sets so fast) at about the consistency of sour cream. Let it sit for a few minutes (depending on temperature) and it will become quite moldable.

Carefully place some on the back of the leaf at about 4mm – 7mm. Thicker will be stronger.

It’s all Random:

Quickly with a small ‘flip’ place the leaf on the string covered orb. Look for overlap of string and ‘holes’. These leaves will help reinforce the entire shape. Look for the largest ‘holes’ and fill in leaves in all directions. More or less; is up to you…

Was that really that hard? If you do not finish in one run just make sure to dampen the set concrete before adding to it. It’s a good practice to continually spray the concrete during curing as it will help strengthen it.

Oh how lovely your Leaf Orb grows:

As it cures it will be very light coloured. Leave the leaves on (haha) until it has cured.

Depending on the type of leaves some will easily peel off and some will need more coaxing.

Some dentist tools or the like are great to help pull out leaf veins. Any small bits can also be ‘broken’ off with pliers if need be.

Time to deflate:

I hope you did not cover the plug! Isn’t that obvious?! Carefully deflate the ball and pull it through the largest hole part in your Rope & Leaf Concrete Garden Orb.

This Orb makes a very nice compliment to the large full Giant Garden orbs

Well, you now have way too many choices of Orbs to make. I’m sure you won’t see this one anywhere! If a little nervous, this post may help.

Make your garden special with this Rope & Leaf Concrete Garden Orb!

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  1. I love this orb! I love all of your posts, but I have to confess to loving the concrete posts the best. I think its because they look like real sculptures and I can put them in my garden to admire them as my home is already full of things to look at and dust! In the garden they enhance the experience of being in the garden.
    I read you article on moss, I understand your frustration. You are right, of course, about it being a pH thing. Concrete starts at a pH of 13 and weathers down from there. Moss likes a pH below 7 and usually doesn’t start growing on concrete until the cement has weathered off and the sand or gravel aggregate, which is usually not chemically reactive, is on the surface. Maybe you could make something that you brush the cement off the surface, or apply tiny gravel to the surface or seal the surface?

  2. I’d love to try to make it. But I’d also like s picture of it. I read the article but there’s no pictures. Could you send me one?
    Thank you,
    Selina Bertrand.

  3. VERY COOL!! When you work with concrete everyday like me, I feel it’s easy to forget how versatile it really is, especially for projects like this! Thanks for sharing your craft with the world! : )

  4. Hi. LOVE your work! I would like to make a cement planter using a yoga ball for a form. Which concrete / cement mix would be strong enough do you think? And I was thinking to use a draped fabric for the base layer and maybe build up to be stronger. Which fabric do you think would be best for this? And one layer or a couple? And if doing multiple layers what do you need to use to stick layers of concrete together so they adhere properly to the first layer? How long should I wait before adding the next layer? Thx kindly for any insights. I’m in Kingston ON so same weather issues as you.

    1. Wow, lotsa questions! Check out this post. That mix or Rapidset Cementall would work. Yes a fabric can help reinforce; the best being the kind that can absorb the slurry. I like to just use portland when using fabric draping though. When I made the chair, I did use a combination of fabric and then another layer. Just make sure you don’t add to dry concrete, dampen it first so that it doesn’t ‘steal’ the moisture from the mix. I’d suggest a smaller project first. I add another layer when it is sturdy enough. Covering to keep damp will help strengthen the concrete too. Lots to consider… You’d prob like this orb too Good luck

  5. Hi Barb,
    I love your ‘one woman garden makeover’ that’s how I reached here, I love this idea. And love how you have given so much indepth info, I have never worked with cement before, but are willing to learn. Can you tell me how good these rope orbs will be in winter, when left out or do I have to store them away. I have similar weather to you. Thank you.

    1. I have chosen concrete because I do not want to take anything in during the winter. It’s been great through a few winters already! It does not hold water so that’s the key. If you are nervous, start small and see here too. Good luck… many projects to try!

  6. I finally got it right to make the leave orb took me a while since I do not use rapid cement, than you for inspiring me!!!

    1. I have not tried it. I tend to look for the fuzzier types as the slurry gets into all the fibres. I’ve seen a lot of copiers using things that I bet do not work since it does not soak in. However, I am bit believer in making tests… Dip a bit in a small bowl of the slurry and drape over something until cured; it will give you the answer! Best of ‘making’ luck!

  7. I love both of your leaf balls and am planning on attempting them this Spring. I do have one question – where the ball is in contact with the bucket that keeps it stable – is there an opening there in the finished product? …or do you rotate the form at some point in the process to add concrete leaves/rope to that area? Thanks!

    1. It’s a bit of a balancing act, figuring out how to slightly turn it and add more as it’s set enough. Be gentle and perhaps don’t try the largest one yet. I had a large enough opening between leaves to pull out the beachball. You can keep a large hole if it’s easier too.

  8. I love this! It looks fairly simple to make yet very interesting for the garden or flower bed. Thanks Barb! I will try it! Wish me luck! I can’t wait to see what other garden projects you have to make my first garden complete!