Paul Margetts - Sculptor
Plinths

I am often asked by clients who purchase my sculpture to give advice regarding plinths. I do not supply plinths but suggest that you contact  Haddonstone Garden Ornaments or  Brownstone if you would like to purchase a re-constituted stone plinth. (Please click on those suppliers names for more details).

A formal "off the shelf" plinth in a London garden


Many clients ask how high a plinth for a particular sculpture should be. There are many points to consider when deciding on height. The rise and fall of the ground relative to the viewing point and the planting in the area have a bearing on the height required for a plinth. If the sculpture will be viewed from above as the ground falls away, the plinth will need to be higher, if the sculpture is placed in ground rising away from the viewer it will need to be lower. If there is planting or bushes close by, the plinth will need to be high enough so that the sculpture can be seen above the foliage.

My sculptures find homes in all types of settings, from splendid, large, formal gardens to small patios. Some clients employ professional landscapers to develop their gardens and site their sculpture while others have more modest budgets to spend. The following tips are intended as low cost ideas on how a simple plinth may be made using basic DIY skills and easily available materials. Sadly I am obliged to advise that the designs below are simply suggestions and that in all cases a structural engineer must be consulted to ensure that all plinths are safe and fit for purpose.
 

 

Two simple plinths made with house bricks and topped with a paving slab.

One is loose stacked while the other is laid with cement

 

 

A simple, stylish plinth made by stacking paving slabs. A blob of cement is placed in each corner before the next slab is set on top. If a larger gap is required a smaller slab can be used as a spacer. The plinth on the right was stacked without any adhesives so it can be easily moved if required. The gaps can be fully pointed with cement or left as shown.

 

  This large plinth was made from sections of concrete pipe, smaller diameter pipe is available from builders merchants. When filled with concrete a smart, inexpensive plinth is made. This plinth is finished with a buff coloured emulsion paint.

 

 

These concrete pipes are known as Manhole Rings and are available from larger builder suppliers such as www.keyline.co.uk
 

 

  This small brick plinth was made for a Holocaust memorial sculpture in a north London park.

 

 

 

 

A plinth can be made by filling an in-expensive planter purchased from a garden centre with concrete then turning it upside down, or painting the concrete upper surface.

Most larger garden centres have a good selection of planters. The plinths on the left are available from IOTA

 

 

 

 
Two plinths made from Iota planters and capped with slate on the left and granite on the right.

 


Sculptural planters can also be purchased from Haddonstone to be converted into plinths.

 



Flamenco Sculpture
Plinth made from Iota planter and cap:approx 80

 


Simple plinths can be made by pouring concrete into a mould. The mould can be made in wood or, as shown above, from a large plastic bucket!

 

Plinths can be quite simple and in-expensive. This plinth is in the wonderful Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives, simple concrete blocks painted with emulsion with a lead flashing (I am not sure what the flashing achieves). A sculpture worth many thousands of pounds sitting on top of a plinth that cost less than 20 in materials!

 

Garden Sculpture can be fixed to plinths using coach screws which are screwed into nylon plugs. However a neater option, and one that will make the sculpture harder to steal is to use bolts with domed heads. Roofing bolts or coach bolts can be fixed with araldite glue into holes drilled in the plinth (alternatively adhesives such as No Nails or Gripfill can be used - these bolts and glues are available from Screwfix).

Roofing Bolt

Coach Bolt