Using Cinder Blocks In Garden Design - Gardening Channel (2024)

Using Cinder Blocks In Garden Design - Gardening Channel (1)

by Matt Gibson

Cinder blocks, on their own, are not an objectthat most people would consider beautiful, or even aesthetically pleasing,however, there is a hot new trend of people using cinder blocks in gardendesign, and the results are surprisingly beautiful. Anyone can turn a cinderblock into a planter with very little effort, but a simple cinder block planterisn’t going to turn any heads. The ingenious ways in which modern landscapershave been incorporating cinder blocks into garden designs are simply incredible.

Using Cinder Blocks In Garden Design - Gardening Channel (2)

Using cinder blocks to create your own uniquegarden features is fun, cheap, and easy. When making a raised bed, you get toselect your own height. If you want your bed close to the ground, you can usejust one layer of cinder blocks. If you want to raise your beds up high to takesome of the pressure off of your back, simply add a few more layers of cinderblocks to the foundation.

Stack the blocks on the outer walls of yourbeds with the holes facing upwards, so that you can fill them with soil too andget even more planting space out of your beds. If you are using your beds togrow large flowers, you can use the holes on the outer wall to plant smallerflowers to create a nice frame for the centerpiece.

Cinder block-based garden features, when constructedthoughtfully, can be elegant, clever, and even futuristic. The following 15cinder block garden ideas are great examples of how you can repurpose cheapbuilding materials to spruce up your garden space.

The Cinder Block Staircase


Homestead and prepper featured this simplestaircase design. While it’s not extravagant or futuristic, the cinder blockpotted staircase is a space saving idea that looks sharp, especially when usedto display bright, colorful flowers with attractive foliage.

For the staircase design, simply createseveral walls made of cinder blocks, using each top block to hold soil andmature flowers or herbs, making each wall taller than the one before. This easydesign allows for plenty of planting room behind each row as well.

Make Raised Bed for Salad Greens


To make the perfect salad green bed, usecinder blocks to raise the bed up several layers. Don’t fill the center withsoil to the top, but leave a full block of space to protect your young pantsfrom harsh winds. Use the holes of the cinder blocks on the outer walls to growonions or micro greens while using the main beds for your most prized saladgreens, like romaine. This way, you get a good variety of options to add toyour salad, while the strong cinder block borders keep the onions from jumpingover the fence and invading the salad green sections.

Another ingenious way to modify your raisedsalad green beds is to install an irrigation system into the design, like howthey did in the picture shown.

Install Multiple Beds withVarying Heights

This may seem like a no-brainer of an idea,but a simple way to set off each of your homemade raised beds is to have themall clock in at different heights. If you have plants that you want to protectfrom the wind, raise the bed structures up high, but don’t put as much soil inthe beds so that there is plenty of room for wind protection.

If you are growing large vertical plants, itmight be a good idea to leave those beds low to the ground, as the plants willrise up to you so that you can keep them pruned and deadheaded accordingly.Meanwhile, low-growing plants might be well suited to tall raised beds. Whybend down low and put additional stress on your back and knees when you canraise the work up to you and get it done while standing up.

Build Strong, Lasting Structures

Just because cinder blocks are big and strong,doesn’t mean that they don’t benefit from good design techniques andreinforcement when it’s called for. If you are making raised beds that arehigher than one layer, be sure to stack the blocks so that the joints from thefirst layer are placed in the center of the blocks in the next layer. If youare stacking your cinder block beds up pretty high, you may want to reinforcethe structure by pushing a length of rebar down into each corner of the bedthrough the holes on the very edges of the beds, Use a sledgehammer to poundthe rebar into the ground and add a layer of stability to your project.

Don’t Believe the Hype!

As soon as you start thinking outside the boxand repurposing cinder blocks in your garden, some nosy neighbor will let youknow that they seem to recall an article that they read somewhere about cinderblocks being made with chemicals that could be toxic to garden plants, andcould even contaminate your vegetables and lead you to eat poisoned gardengoods. This is nothing to worry about and hasn’t been an issue in quite sometime.

Though this may have been at some point in ourhistory, cinder blocks are about as safe as they come these days, and perfectlysuitable for using in the garden. The contaminate that was once a danger, flyash, a byproduct of burning coal, hasn’t been used to manufacture cinder blocksin the US for over 50 years. So tell Gertrude to stop spreading thoserumors!

Aside From Raised Beds And UniquePlanters, Check Out These Inventive Ways To Use Cinder Blocks To Make YourGarden Shine

Cinder Block Bench – This bench issimply genius [;center,top&resize=980:*]. Get the tutorial on how to build your own here:

Cinder Block Fire Pit – This simple fire pit design we found on Instagram [] may not be the most elegant fire pit you could make, but it servesits intended purpose with no complaints or misgivings from the blockswhatsoever.

Cinder Block Fireplace – This cinderblock fireplace on the other hand [], is so well-crafted, it is hard to believe that it’s made out ofcinder blocks, but believe it or not, that’s all it took.

Cinder Block BBQ Pit – For those of us who would gladly dedicate a large area of theirgarden getaway to the art of smoking meat, this massive cinder block fashioned BBQ pit [] is a mouthwatering way to make the most out of your backyard, and theresult of this undertaking, is downright delicious.

Now That You’ve Got Cinder BlocksIn Your Garden, Here’s A Few Tips To Make Them Stand Out

Stenciled Cinder Blocks – Just a few stencil cut-outs and some spray paint and you can turnany boring cinder block into a colorfully designed brick planter []. Just ask Instagram user CraftBoxGirls [].

Create A Rustic Border WithShale or Metal Flats – Instead of using the innerhollows of the cinder blocks to plant additional plants on the outskirts ofyour beds, lay in some decorative flats, such as shale tiles or corrugatedmetal flats. Picture Link:

Throw In A Few Mosaics – Though the link to her blog, “Grow and Resist,” seems to be broken, this picture should giveyou a good idea of the many different ways you could approach turning yourcinder blocks into works of mosaic art to make your garden shine! Picture Link:

Make Raised Beds With CinderBlocks and Pressure Treated Logs –

Cinder Block Structures Are NotLimited To Just Beds, Check Out These Inventive Planters and Other Cool IdeasThat Really Stand-Out!

The Vertical Cinder BlockPlanter Wall – Picture Link: Thevertical wall is a way to use cinder blocks to save space in your garden whileadding a neat modern flare.

Cinder Block Steps – Follow this link to StepByStep’s DIY tutorial []to make your own cinder block garden steps. All you need is some cinder blocksand a good bit of loose gravel.

Living Wall Designs – Not allcinder block plant walls need to be boring and straight. Have a little fun withan odd design like thisone, from Instagram user Nancy Dunnell []

Don’t Let These Ideas Put You InA Box!

If you come up with ways to incorporate cinder blocks into your garden that we missed, leave us a comment or share pictures on our facebook page []

Want to learn more about using cinder blocks in garden design?

Garden Lovers Club covers 15 Creative Cinder Block Gardens

Country Living covers Cinder Block Garden Ideas

Gardening Know How covers Cinder Block Garden Beds

Off Grid World covers 12 Amazing Cinder Block Raised Gardens

The Garden Glove covers 5 Ways to Use Cinder Blocks in the Garden


Using Cinder Blocks In Garden Design - Gardening Channel (2024)
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