Let your Garden Tell you the Time


A classical sundial makes the perfect focal point in any garden.

What you Need
• Black rubber or P.V.C. dustbin lid
• Small white aquarium stones
• River sand
• PPC Surebuild 42,5 N cement
• 1 x 30 cm length of 6 mm stainless steel rod
• Releasing agent (oil)


• Spade
• Wheelbarrow
• Straight edge
• Wooden or plastic float
• Steel plastering trowel
• Building trowel
• Builder’s line
• Spirit level

What you do:


1. Place river sand on a working surface and set the lid, upside down, into the sand. Use the spirit level to level the lid.

2. Combine 3 parts river sand and 1 part PPC cement. Then slowly add water and mix until the concrete attains the consistency of thick yoghurt.

3. Paint the inside of the lid with releasing agent and ladle in the concrete mix, using the building trowel to bring it flush with the top of the lid.


4. Use the straight edge to remove excess concrete from the infilled lid. Then float the mixture, using the plastering trowel to get a smooth finish.

5. Take two lengths of builder’s line and draw them lightly across the lid, in a cross-hairs pattern. Where the lines cross in the middle will be the centre point of the dial. Insert the steel rod into the concrete at this point, leaving about 25 cm of it proud of the surface, and standing at a right angle to the face of the dial.

6. Starting at the top, press the white pebbles into the wet concrete, forming a ‘XII’. Consult the diagram to the bottom right, as a guide to the correct placement of the remaining numerals.

7. Leave the sundial to cure for three days and then remove it from the lid. Place it in the garden, ensuring it is embedded level into a layer of building sand, before planting and decorating around it. Rotate the dial until the shadow cast by the rod touches the numeral that indicates the correct time.

The Gardener