Oct 13, 2011

Dreaming of Concrete Blocks: Raised Beds, Planters, Tables, and Benches Oh My!




Concrete bench from Better Home and Gardens for less than $30
 Now that our garden is winding down I can start to dream about next years garden.  My latest obsession so far for next year is all things cinder blocks.  I never thought of using cement blocks before.  I love it because it's cheap ($1-1.50 each), quick to make things with, and weather proof.  Why have I not thought of this before!  Think of all the possibilities.  My imagination is going crazy.


 I am have been pondering a bench/raised bed as walls idea for our patio around a fire, for awhile.  Could this be it?  I have also been planning on adding raised beds to our driveway.  I had planned on making wood raised boxes that I could easily put away for winter but if the cinder blocks could hold up to snow banks this could be a good option too....You could paint or stain the blocks too....hhhmmm...I most likely will ponder this all winter.

  Uses For Concrete Blocks
  • Benches and bases for outdoor tables
  • Planters
  • Stairs
  • BBQ pits
  • Raised Beds
  • Vertical Gardening Structures
Here are some of the pics that have started me drooling...   
Concrete Block Raised Bed Tutorials at Wild Ginger Farm

Check out how we made our raised bed on our driveway (we now have our blocks staggered)
Raised Cinder Block Veggie Garden Tutorial From SHTF
Outdoor table Breuer designed in the fifties: a rectangular slab of stone propped on a column of mortared concrete blocks.
Outdoor kitchen made from cinder blocks and reclaimed wood from Better Home and Garden
Kayla from The Basement created this concrete block bench after being inspired by the BHG bench pictured in this post above, with 12 concrete blocks, a store bought cushion, some wood, and concrete adhesive.
How cute would this be as an outdoor room divider?  from Apartment Therapy

Update:  Our reader Tamara Tahir was inspired by this post to make the coolest bench (pictured below).  It turned out so good, I must admit I'm jealous.  She was gracious enough to send me pictures and allow me to add them in this post.  I love how it looks really sleek and modern but also has the added bonus of added storage (cause who doesn't need extra storage right?  I forgot to ask her what type of wood she used, but I would use cedar to ensure a long life (I'm a no maintenance kind of girl), with waterproof varnish or paint.   It looks like she used mortar to join the blocks together.  I can only imagine that it's really solid which is an added bonus. Tamara plans to add pillows which I think would be a nice touch as well as a stone fire pit with a remove able table top.  I think her future plans sound equally brilliant and I can't wait to see how the rest of her plans turn out if they look as great as her bench!

 Our fellow blogger Amy at Get Busy Gardening also completed her own concrete project inspired by this post (featured below). Her concrete planter turned out great! I love how she added the rocks around it to create a zen vibe.  It will look so cool when her plants start to grow more. She gives a very good step by step tutorial that you should definitely check out if your interested in building anything similar.  If anyone else has done an outdoor concrete project I loved to here about it.  I love seeing what our readers our doing!  

Another creative way to use concrete blocks in your garden and yard is to use them to make steps or stairs, like Step by Step DIY in Tuscon did in the picture below.  Fellow MN and gardening blogger Amy from Get Busy Gardening also created stairs from concrete blocks and planted thyme in hers in hopes it will spill out.  I think this is a great ideal!

concrete block stairs, you could cap the with stone or fill with ground cover plants check out how Step by Step DIY in Tucson created these steps.

You can also paint the blocks and use them as a room divider like in the picture below from Amy Renea's Hozz page.  I am guessing that they used some kind of plaster to hold the blocks together.  Wouldn't that look so pretty with cascading plants instead?  I like the use of the more open blocks on the bottom.


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7 comments:

  1. WOW!! LOVE these ideas!! Please share more when you find them this winter while you're drooling! I have already thought of where I'm going to put one of those planters, perfect!! I'm also thinking about where I could put a bench like that.

    Who knew the same material we used for college furniture would end up being so beautiful in our gardens!?!? I can't wait to show this to my husband. LOL!

    (P.S. I am going to share this on my Get Busy Gardening Facebook page!)

    Amy

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  2. Thanks for the share Amy. I'm glad this post inspired you. I think my favorite season for gardening is the off season because I dream of what to do next year. Of course I'll post my uses for cinder blocks in our garden next spring. I would love to see what you come up with as well!

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  3. Hi Julie,
    Thought you'd like to know that I built a cinder block planter a few weeks ago! It turned out amazing. And, of course, I wrote a blog post about it (and linked back to this post) here... http://www.getbusygardening.com/2012/06/building-cinder-block-planter.html

    Check it out if you're still thinking about building one, I definitely ran into a few challenges. But it looks great and I love it!

    Amy

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    1. Hey Amy, It looks great. Thanks for letting me know and for the shout out. I'll have to add you post (with a link back of course) soon. I'm sure my readers would love to see your detailed how to.

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  4. Thanks for posting this! I have so many ideas for my backyard and garden. Now I just need to figure out where to buy concrete blocks in Phoenix, AZ. Any suggestions?

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    1. Well I've never been to Phoenix Az, so I can't say for sure, but I'd assume you would have access to a big box hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes. They have it year round since they are used in building. Make sure to get some 1/2 blocks so that you can stagger them. Hope this helps Samwise!

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  5. Please, please, please remove that horrific photo of the poor murdered creature splayed out on a grill! It looks like a dog to me. How people can think of food when they see something like that is beyond me. I will probably have nightmares about it when all I really wanted to do was look at ideas for using cinder blocks!

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