Cinder blocks don’t have to just be boring building materials. You can use cinder blocks to make creative raised garden beds!
From eye-catching walls to extra seating and storage, cinder blocks are a great option for your next garden project.
Keep reading to find 13 creative ideas for cinder block raised garden beds.
1. Make A Vertical Cinder Block Wall
As a twist on the classic long raised garden bed, use vertical stacks of cinder blocks in your garden. This can be a great space saver for small gardens or just add a new level to the space.
Depending on the style you want, you may not even need mortar for this project. Layering the cinder blocks in different directions will allow their own weight to hold everything together.
Of course, you can always add extra support by adding mortar between the blocks. You won’t be able to change the design later, but it will make the wall extra secure.
2. Use A Raised Garden Bed As A Dividing Wall
Cinder blocks make great compact garden beds because they’re like pre-built boxes. All you need is to add a bottom or put them on a flat surface, so they retain soil.
But they’re still construction blocks, which means they can serve double duty. Do you want to split your garden into sections? Use cinder blocks as a dividing wall.
Stack them in rows as high as you need them, leaving the top row uncovered. Then, simply fill the sections of the cinder blocks with soil and voila! You have both a dividing wall and raised garden beds!
3. Build A Cinder Block Pyramid For Your Garden
Another fun layout for cinder blocks is a pyramid shape. You can lay out a row of foundation blocks, then place more on top perpendicular to the below row.
Be sure the bottoms of the perpendicular blocks are sealed so you can add soil to them. Wood is a good option because you can create holes for drainage if you need them.
Then lay another flat row to hold the perpendicular blocks in place. Keep going until the pyramid is the size and style you want. For more stability, you can use mortar to hold the blocks together.
But the weight of the blocks should be enough to hold them in place. Once the pyramid is built, add soil to the blocks with covered bottoms and start planting!
4. Create A Staircase Garden Bed
A staircase pattern is a clever way to use cinder blocks for your raised garden bed. Simply stack the cinder blocks in a staircase pattern and use caps or wood planks to seal up the gaps.
You can make each “step” a planter or spread them out. You can also place them next to actual stairs to create a matching wall.
5. Raised Garden Bed With Cinder Block Retaining Wall
One of the simplest ideas for cinder blocks is to create a retaining wall. They’re easier to put together than wood and cost less than many other building materials.
Simply stack the cinder blocks around the area where you want to retain soil. You can use mortar to ensure the blocks stay together and to prevent soil from escaping the cracks.
6. Add Wooden Planks To Your Cinder Blocks
If you do want a traditional raised garden bed, try adding some wooden planks on the top around the edges.
These can serve a dual purpose. First, it brings the whole garden bed together for a cohesive look. You can also paint the wood for an easily customizable look.
Second, the planks can be beneficial in areas where temperatures often fall below freezing. If water or even snow gets inside the holes of the cinder blocks, it will later freeze.
This can cause cracks and instability in the blocks. But placing wooden planks on top to cover the gaps prevents them from filling up in the first place.
You can also use concrete block caps, but wood planks offer a nice contrasting look, especially if you paint them.
7. Create A Seamless Cinder Block Raised Garden Bed With Quikwall®
Another way to create a seamless look is to cover the sides of your cinder blocks as well as the tops.
Layout your cinder blocks in the design you want for your raised garden bed. Lay concrete caps over top of the gaps in the blocks.
Then, use Quikwall® or a similar surface bonding cement to cover the entire surface of your garden bed. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear safety gloves while working.
The bonding cement will cover up the cracks between each cinderblock and any caps or planks on top. Once it’s dry, you can leave it as is or use outdoor paint to give it a different color.
8. Use A Painted Cinder Block As A Single Raised Planter
Cinder blocks don’t have to be used to build entire walls. Sometimes all you need is a small bed of soil to start growing.
This method uses two cinder blocks, but only uses one as the raised bed itself. First, place one block on its side so that it’s wider than it is tall. The gaps in the block should be visible when you look at it head-on.
Then, place the second block on top but with the gaps facing upwards. Now you have a single raised bed!
Painting the blocks before you place them can add some real pizazz to your garden. Be sure to use primer first, though, otherwise the rough surface won’t hold the paint very well.
Then, use latex-acrylic paint, preferably one good for outdoor use. Avoid painting the inside of the cinder block so it doesn’t alter or compromise the bed’s soil.
9. Stencil Your Cinder Block Raised Garden Bed
Whether you just want a single planter or a whole garden, stencils are an easy way to jazz up your cinder blocks. They come in a huge variety of designs, which you can always mix and match.
Your final product will also look much neater than if you paint by hand. Just as with painting your blocks a solid color, use a primer before you paint with stencils.
10. Add Mosaic Tile To Your Raised Cinder Block Bed
An alternative to painting that adds more texture and variety is tile mosaics. You can use small stones you find in nature or buy pre-cut glass tiles from a hardware or craft store.
Whichever method you choose, you can create a beautiful, textured design for your raised garden bed with a mosaic. It does require grout to adhere the tile or stone pieces to the cinder block and may take more time than just painting.
But the final result is beautiful and a good way to cover up the roughness of the cinder blocks.
11. Create Raised Garden Beds With Built-In Storage
Need some extra storage space in your garden? Try building a raised bed with room for storage underneath.
You’ll need wood for this raised bed, since it needs to be wider than most cinder blocks to be useful. But the cinder blocks are great to use as the base structure.
Build the supports for your raised garden bed with the cinder blocks. Make sure to leave enough space between each wall for storage.
Then, place wood planks or even a full box on top of the walls to finish the raised bed. If you don’t use a full wooden box, you can place individual cinder blocks on top for your plants.
Now you have a raised garden bed with room underneath to store boxes, tools, or even other plants.
12. Make A Raised Garden Bed With A Cinder Block Bench
Multi-functional seating is a great idea for any garden. You can easily build a bench out of cinder blocks and create a space for a raised garden bed.
One method is to build a wall with space for your plants in the open gaps at the top. Then, create a lower wall wide enough to sit on in front of the raised bed. Add some cushions and you have an easy bench!
Or, you can build just a bench out of cinder blocks and use the frame itself as the raised bed. Leave the tops of the arms open and fill them with soil. Now you can sit and be surrounded by your beautiful plants.
13. Use A Cinder Block Raised Bed As Garden Edging
Cinder blocks are a clever way to bring otherwise boring features of your garden to life. Take garden edging, for example.
Many people use small walls of brick, stone, or other materials to line the edges of their gardens. It’s especially useful around paths or small gardens in the middle of a yard.
But why not make your edges a living part of the garden itself? Since cinder blocks have built-in sections, you can use them as slightly raised garden beds as well as edging.
Simply line your chosen area with cinder blocks, making sure the hollow centers are pointing up. Then, fill the centers with soil and your favorite flowers.
Now you have easy garden edging that also serves as small raised garden beds.
Cinder blocks are inexpensive and easy to stack like a kid’s building blocks. This makes them perfect to use for raised garden beds.
Don’t like the gray look of a cinder block? No worries! Cinder blocks are also easy to paint and customize. If you want a creative raised garden bed for your next project, give cinder blocks a try.