Cinder block gardens are a great way to grow fresh vegetables and flowers in a small space. These blocks are inexpensive and can be used to create many different styles and patterns. We will show you how they can be used to create garden beds, planters, retaining walls, outdoor decorative accents, and more below.
Cinder blocks are made from cement and coal ash. Concrete blocks are made of a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and cinders. Cinder blocks are on average 10 pounds lighter than concrete blocks, so keep that in mind when planning your next DIY project. These two types of blocks come in a standard rectangular shape.
These garden and patio designs are sure to inspire. Just look at the pictures!
1. Build a DIY Concrete Block Garden Bed
Image credit: Delia Creates
This raised bed uses concrete blocks covered in surface bonding cement and then painted with black patio paint. This inexpensively creates a high-end look without a high-end cost.
We like this option because the blocks will never have to be replaced due to rot; they will likely last decades. The paint can be done in any color that matches the patio decor, which is a nice bonus. Plus, having a flat-edged border provides a great place to sit and drink a cup of tea or plant vegetable seedlings.
2. Create a Cinder Block Garden Wall
Image credit: Dennis Yang via Creative Commons
A vertical garden is an excellent design idea. This one is so well done it looks like a work of art. The real beauty of DIY projects like this is their versatility and ease. The blocks are simply stacked in any eye-pleasing pattern and held there by their own weight, no mortar needed.
Here is a smaller-scale version of the vertical garden wall. This one is freestanding and planted in a stair-step design along a border. A well-done and functional piece of art!
3. Paint Square Blocks to Make Colorful Flower Pots
Image credit: Projects with Kids
This is a great DIY project to complete with the kids. Many different designs can be created with some bright acrylic paint and a little imagination. These blocks were striped with painter’s tape and then painted, but they could be drawn with pictures, animals, or flowers to spruce up the patio.
4. Use Stencils to Make Beautiful Cement Planters
This idea looks like so much fun. The cement blocks are first painted white. Afterward, a bright color is applied with a stencil and a flat stencil brush. We like the idea of using a different pattern and color on each side of the block. Grouped together, these make a picture-perfect border or focal point for the patio.
5. Encrust Cinder Blocks with Tile Mosaic
This DIY project takes a little bit more patience and skill, but it will be well worth it. Look at the beautiful work of art it creates! This look is created by nestling two rectangular cinder blocks side by side to form a square, then carefully adhering mosaic tiles in a unique pattern.
6. Create Garden Edging
The idea of creating a garden wall or edge with cinder blocks is not new, but this colorful take on the old theme is fresh and beautiful. We especially love the idea of placing the blocks hole-side up and using them as small flower pots. A long edge of bright flowers creates a tidy border without the weeds.
7. Design a Garden Bed with Unique Shape or Style
This DIY project creates a deep garden bed with three layers of blocks stacked in a unique design. Using flexible PVC pipe to create a pyramid-shaped trellis is a wonderful way to get pole beans, sweet peas, or clematis vines the room they need to grow vertically. When the vegetables or flowers fill in, this will create an eye-catching show.
Topping plain cinder blocks with fancy slate tiles is an affordable way to create a stylish raised bed. This will make for a comfortable seat, a surface to place tools, and look beautiful from any angle. A great way to take a simple vegetable garden up a notch!
Images credit: Growing Fruit
This simple wooden design helps keep water from filling the cinderblocks, a concern in areas with freezing winter temperatures. Pressure-treated lumber adds longevity to the wood and a quick-finished look to the vegetable garden or flower border.
8. Fill Upcycled Cinder Blocks with Succulents
These cinder blocks are painted orange to resemble terracotta, filled with lightweight potting soil, and planted with an assortment of lovely succulent plants. This is a great idea for areas with lots of hot summer sun!
9. Establish Property Boundry
This lovely concrete block border can be used for a flower or vegetable garden and does an excellent job marking the property line. We love the idea of an easy edge to mow against and a simple way to keep weeds out of the picture.
10. Setup Foundation for a Greenhouse or a Shed
Using concrete blocks as a foundation is a common practice, but placing them under a simple plastic greenhouse is a new idea. We love that the sun warms the blocks and releases heat to the tender vegetables during chilly weather. A great way to get a jump start on starting seedlings in the early spring!
11. Construct Steps Down a Slope in Your Garden
Concrete blocks look like they were born to be stair steps, don’t they? This project uses blocks as a staircase down a steep hill and then tops them with indestructible composite decking boards. These stairs won’t be going anywhere!
12. Decorate a Boring Garden Corner
One of our favorite ideas is using full-size and half-size cinderblocks to create a lovely pyramid-shaped corner feature. The white painted blocks and simple backlighting create a vertical garden, and an art piece all rolled into one.
These decorative planters use mosaic tiles and blocks stacked in a corner pyramid to create a miniature garden.
13. Build a Pyramid Planter
It’s hard to believe that this fancy design requires no tools. Only forty 16x8x6 cinder blocks and paint. Well, and 75 pounds of topsoil!
Stacking them in a vertical pyramid takes advantage of space well; many vegetables or flowers can be grown in only a tiny space. This DIY project can be done in one afternoon and creates a garden feature like a work of art.
14. Build a Garden Retaining Wall
Cinderblocks are the perfect material for retaining walls. This project requires mortar and a 4-6 inch layer of base material underneath for support. This project will take skill and patience but will be well worth the time and effort.
15. Use Cinder Block Caps as Pavers
This project uses cinder block caps, which are solid blocks, to create a mini garden bed around a tree or bush. Four are used here to match the size of the stepping stones in this lovely patio design.
Cinder and cement blocks are versatile tools that can be used in various ways around the garden and patio. Due to their indestructible material, they are an excellent choice for long-lasting installations. The symmetrical and uniform shape lends itself to easy stacking and nice clean edges with straight lines. The absorbent surface holds paint well and creates lovely colorful art.