14 Cinder Block Ideas for Your Backyard - The Backyard Pros (2024)

Your backyard is supposed to be a space where you can relax and enjoy yourself. However, sometimes your backyard can be a bit boring and bland, and just uninspired. You might want to do a little makeover, spruce things up a bit, and create a more enjoyable space for yourself, friends, and family.

However, the fact is of course that in today’s economy, doing any kind of renovations or makeovers can be really expensive, which probably leaves you looking for a more cost-effective way to transform your backyard into a place worth being in. This is where cinder blocks come into play.

Cinder blocks are simple concrete blocks, and although they may not look like anything special on their own, you can use them to transform any backyard space into an awesome place to relax in and get a break from the world around you. Today, we’re looking at 14 great cinder block ideas for your backyard, 14 different things that you can build with cinder blocks to enhance the visual and functional appeal of your yard.

Table of contents

1. Raised Planters

If you’re into gardening, and you don’t want to pay for expensive planters, you can always elevate your gardening game by constructing raised planters out of cinder blocks.

You can paint the cinder block planters any way you see fit, they’re super durable, and they even help with soil drainage.

Make a level foundation, stack up the cinder blocks according to your desired size and shape, make sure they’re stable, and then fill them with soil and plants. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.

2. Cinder Block Chairs

Cinder blocks aren’t just good for building walls and structures, but for sitting on as well. Yes, of course you can just stack up a bunch of cinder blocks and sit on them, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here.

Instead, stack cinder blocks on top of each other, and then insert wooden posts into them, which effectively creates some chair legs.

You can then build a backrest and seat out of some plywood or other materials, while ensuring that everything is safe and secure. If you want these chairs to be super comfortable, add some cushions to the equation.

3. Cinder Block Fire Pit

One of the best parts of having a backyard in most places is that you can create your own fire pit. Sometimes there’s just nothing like roasting some hot dogs and marshmallows in the cool autumn air.

That said, buying an actual fire pit can be really expensive, but making one out of cinder blocks is much more cost-effective. All you have to do is choose a safe location to create a fire pit, level the ground, and then create a square or circle pattern out of the cinder blocks.

You can then layer them two or three high for stability and height, and to provide you with a bit of a shield from the fire. Just remember to leave some gaps in between some of the cinder blocks, as this will help to supply oxygen to the fire, thus keeping it going.

4. Fire Pit Seating

Talking about that fire pit, something else you can do with cinder blocks is to make some seats for your fire pit. Now,unlike above where we were talking about building chairs out of cinder blocks, here we’re talking about building some benches.

Benches are always nice to have around the fire pit, because they can fit a lot of people. All you have to do is stack up some cinder blocks two or three high, reinforce them a little bit, and then add some wood and cushions to the top for seating. It really doesn’t get much easier or simpler than that.

5. Outdoor Cinder Block Table

If you want to step things up a bit, and you need some kind of table for outdoor eating, then cinder blocks work really well too. Take blocks and stack them up as a base, making sure that they are stable and level.

You can choose to create four legs using cinder blocks and some wooden posts, and then place something like a piece of plywood over top for a table top. You can then even paint the legs and the table top, add a tablecloth, and decorate it any way you see fit.

If you have enough cinder blocks, you could just create one large and solid block, although this isn’t best in terms of seating, because you can’t actually put your legs underneath. However, it does make for a good surface to rest things on as you grill and play with your new fire pit.

6. Cinder Block Birdhouse

Although a cinder block may not seem like the best choice to make a birdhouse out of, it actually works quite well. One of the reasons for this is because cinder blocks are sturdy and durable, so they should withstand the test of time and Mother Nature. All you need to do is place this cinder block on its side, so that openings space both upward and outward.

If you want these nests to be a bit safer and more inviting, creating some wooden plank roofs over the openings might be beneficial. You could also use some non-toxic paint to paint the cinder blocks and make them look more appealing to the birds. You could even add some small perches so the birds can stand.

7. Vertical Gardens

Going back to the gardening theme, a great way to grow your own crops and safe space at the same time is to create a vertical garden.

As the name implies, vertical gardens are designed so that you can grow plants in a vertical manner, as opposed to using up too much horizontal space. You can use cinder blocks to grow a variety of flowers, succulents, and herbs, with the blocks being stacked on top of each other.

All you need to do is to choose a sunny spot, and then arrange the cinder blocks in a way so that they create a stair step pattern. You want to ensure that the blocks aren’t directly on top of each other, because each plant needs its own space and access to the sun.

8. Edging Beds

If you are redoing your garden, and you need to make a new edge for it, using cinder blocks is the way to go. All you need to do is gather as many cinder blocks as you need, lay the blocks along the perimeter of your garden beds, and create a nice border.

Of course, you can arrange the center blocks in such a way so that the opening faces upward, therefore effectively allowing you to put plants in the edge of your garden bed. To make it look nicer, you can also paint this in your blogs anyway you see fit. Just make sure that you create a level edge for a visually appealing garden bed.

9. Garden Stairs

If you have a garden that is on a hill, or a raised garden bed, you could always use cinder blocks to create garden stairs. Yes, you do need to put a good deal of effort and planning into this, because the garden stairs need to be both durable and attractive, although it is a good project for a weekend.

Figure out how many steps you need, level the dirt or soil accordingly, and then lay down the blocks as a base for each step. Now, if you are going for maximum stability, you’ll want to fill each cinder block with concrete. You can then paint them as you see fit.

10. Retaining Walls

14 Cinder Block Ideas for Your Backyard - The Backyard Pros (1)

Although you will need a whole lot of cinder blocks for this, you can use them to create retaining walls. Of course, cinder blocks are used for major construction purposes, so building walls out of them is not uncommon. That said, this is a very big project that you’ll likely need help for at home.

However, cinder block walls are great for creating level areas in sloped yards, for managing soil erosion, and more.

All you need to do is dig a trench for a foundation, use mortar to layer the cinder blocks, make sure they are level, and then continue until the retaining wall is complete. You may also want to incorporate some drainage behind the wall to prevent water from building up, which will allow your cinder block wall to last for much longer.

11. Cinder Block Grill

One of the more innovative ideas on the list today, you can always use cinder blocks to make your own grill. What’s really cool is that you can use cinder blocks to make a base and then three walls, while leaving the front open for access.

To secure the block to each other, you will need to use fire resistant mortar. With a bit of ingenuity, you can then insert metal grates at the desired height so you can actually cook on your grill.

You can then add additional layers with cinder blocks and extra grates for prep space and storage. Yes, this will require a bit of ingenuity and skill, but it’s definitely one of the better cinder block backyard projects.

12. Privacy Walls

14 Cinder Block Ideas for Your Backyard - The Backyard Pros (2)

If you’re just sick and tired of your neighbors constantly spying on you and complaining about what you’re doing in your yard, a great idea is to create a privacy wall. Yes, as mentioned before, cinder blocks are ideal for creating walls and actual structures.

Before you start building, make sure to look up local regulations, because there might be some local building codes that you need to follow, especially in terms of height, and structural soundness.

That said, all you need to do is lay down a sturdy foundation, stack up the blocks, and mortar them together to ensure that they are smooth. If you want them to be aesthetically appealing, you could then always render them down or paint them for a more polished appearance. It’s always possible to add a variety of decorative elements as well.

13. Potting Station

With just a few cinder blocks and wooden planks, you can create a functional and durable potting station for your garden. Yes, cinder blocks appear to be ideal for all sorts of gardening purposes.

You can arrange the cinder blocks in such a way to form a base and the size of the station, and make sure that everything’s level.

You can then put some wooden planks on top of the cinder blocks to create a flat surface that you can then work on. You can add hooks for hanging tools, spaces for organizing soil bags and pots, and so much more.

14. Painted Blocks

If you don’t really want to build anything or do any hard work, and you’d rather just be a bit artistic and creative, a great idea is to make some painted blocks.

Get your favorite oil paints and paint the blocks any way you see fit, and then use them to decorate your garden or backyard. Just make sure that you use waterproof paint, or else it will wash off the very next time it rains.

14 Cinder Block Ideas for Your Backyard - The Backyard Pros (3)


Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.


14 Cinder Block Ideas for Your Backyard - The Backyard Pros (2024)


What are the cons of cinder block? ›

The Cons of Cinder Block (CMU) Foundation

Concrete masonry units are heavy to handle. 8-in blocks weigh 36lbs, 10-in blocks weigh 42lbs. A CMU block wall often requires installing an air and moisture barrier, which adds another trade and more labor to the foundation project.

How many cinder blocks do I need for a 4x8 garden bed? ›

20 blocks will give an interior bed area of 4′ x 8′. Leave a side open to bring in the soil until the new bed is filled. No mortar or special installation is necessary unless you desire a bed which is higher than 8″ raised over the surrounding area. Just set them on the ground!

How to make cinder blocks look nice? ›

Fortunately, you have many options for improving a cinder block wall. Concrete is an inexpensive way to create a strong cover. Stucco is similar to concrete but more decorative. Vinyl panels and stone veneers are alternative decorations that match with many homes.

How do you landscape with cinder blocks? ›

Create a Tiered Cinder Block Garden

Use several different sizes of blocks. stack them into a tier or pyramid formation, and fill them with your favorite selection of ornamental grasses, trailing vines, and flowering plants.

How long do cinder blocks last? ›

Block doesn't rot, warp or grow mold, and it stands up remarkably well to even the most extreme weather. Even with a lifespan of up to 100 years, you can be sure the building's structural integrity isn't compromised over the years like it can be with wood.

Why did they stop making cinder blocks? ›

After WWII, better technology and production habits put an end to the production of cinder. Now, manufactures use the byproducts called fly ash and slag made from coal and steel to make these blocks. These are much safer than cinder and incorporating them in to block minimizes the carbon impact today.

Is cinder block cheap to build with? ›

Cinder block walls cost about $10 to $30 per square foot for the materials, like blocks and mortar, plus professional installation. The materials cost about $3 to $6 per square foot. A professionally installed 8-by-15-foot cinder block wall may cost $1,200 to $3,600, while a DIY wall may cost around $360 to $720.

Is cinder block safe for a garden? ›

Cinder blocks haven't been mass produced with fly ash in the U.S. for 50 years, though. The cinder blocks that you buy in the store today are actually concrete blocks and totally safe. Unless you're using antique cinder blocks, there should be no reason to worry, especially when cinder block gardening for vegetables.

How do you make a cinder block wall more attractive? ›

If you're tired of looking at that plain cinder block wall on your property, you have plenty of options for giving it a facelift. For a quick and simple cover-up, try concrete or stucco. To give the wall a more unique character, consider stone wall veneer or climbing plants.

What do you fill cinder blocks with? ›

For masonry cores over 4 inches wide, QUIKRETE Core Fill Grout – Coarse should be poured around the rebar; for masonry cores under 4 inches wide, QUIKRETE Core Fill Grout-Fine should be used.

Do you need special paint for cinder blocks? ›

High-quality acrylic cinder block paint is essential for this project. You want to ensure the longevity of the paint job. Low-quality paints can fade and peel quickly, in addition to looking chalky. Acrylic latex paint will provide the best smoothness and coverage for the job.

What do you put under landscape blocks? ›

Add a layer of gravel on top of the landscape fabric to provide a sturdy foundation and to help ensure the ground beneath the ties doesn't become waterlogged. Tamp down the gravel and check your work with a level as you go. Once you have a gravel foundation, lay the first row of railroad ties.

Can you paint cinder blocks? ›

Most cinder blocks come in a gray color, but you can paint cinder blocks to match the color scheme of your home. The process of painting can be broken into 3 simple parts, including cleaning, priming, and painting.

Are cinder block homes good or bad? ›

Healthy Homes

A concrete wall system limits the infiltration of outside allergens to the inside of the house. Concrete resists mold and mildew more than wood. Mold can cause headaches, severe respiratory infections, and immune system disorders. Concrete emits less volatile organic compounds (VOC) than wood.

Is it good to build a house with cinder blocks? ›

Advantages of cinder block construction

Concrete blocks are durable and strong enough to maintain structural integrity. Houses constructed of concrete blocks are relatively fire-resistant and soundproof.

Are cinder blocks hard to break? ›

Breaking an actual thick block would be much, much harder and is rarely, if ever, done. Add even a tiny amount of steel rebar reinforcing to the block and it will be utterly impossible to break by hand.

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