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 do you make a cinder block wall look nice? ›

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.

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 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.

What are the benefits of cinder blocks? ›

Concrete block homes are more healthy than wooden structures, as they emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Concrete block structures can also have exceptional sound insulation and thermal insulation. Concrete blocks are also great for areas that are prone to extreme weather.

Is it good to paint cinder block walls? ›

Concrete blocks are long-lasting, cost-effective, strong, fire-resistant, and low maintenance. They do, however, begin to deteriorate primarily from moisture (either natural or by irrigation). Like most other building materials, concrete block walls require paint for protection against the elements.

What do you fill a cinder block wall with? ›

Once your wall is erect, you can fill the blocks with sand to stabilize the structure. Filling cinder blocks with poured concrete is not recommended, as this will create moisture pockets within the wall, leading to wet concrete.

How do you insulate block walls cheaply? ›

Insulating Concrete Block Walls

While spray foam and injection foam creates the continuous insulation that will create an air seal, it also tends to be more expensive. Mineral wool, polystyrene beads, and foam boards are a less expensive option, these materials still allow for some air movement.

How many cinder blocks for 500 sq ft? ›

With these dimensions, it will cover 10 × 50 = 500 square feet. If you use a standard 16" x 8" block, the area of a single block is 128 square inches, and you will need 563 concrete blocks, as 500 ft² / 128 in² = 72,000 in² / 128 in² = 562.5 (rounding up to the nearest whole number).

Can you paint cinder blocks? ›

After priming, you can use ordinary acrylic-latex paint tinted to the color of your choice. Use interior paint on interior cinder blocks and exterior-grade paint on outdoor surfaces. For highly moist surfaces like basem*nt cinder blocks, purchase elastomeric paint.

How long do cinder block garden beds last? ›

Also, the wood will eventually rot while cinder block will last essentially forever. I know I could just lay the blocks on the surface and let them be, but I want them to be at least a little aesthetically pleasing.

Can you use cinder blocks for a garden? ›

Fill the vertical holes of the cinder blocks with soil or drive a wood stake or a piece of rebar in the corners of your wall to secure the next level of blocks. An added bonus of filling your cinder blocks with soil is you create small, individual gardens.

What do you put under landscape blocks? ›

Use dense graded base gravel that compacts well, typically with stones between half an inch and 1 inch in diameter. Larger gravel won't be compact enough to use. Granite screenings or crushed stone also work well.

Can you build a garden with cinder blocks? ›

You can grow just about anything you want to in a cinder block garden, provided you've got the right amount of sun exposure. That said, you will want to consider the overall aesthetic of your garden, including how tall your plants will grow.

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.

Why did they stop making cinder blocks? ›

Eventually coal combustion became more efficient, and cinder blocks were no longer made. The term stuck though, so today people still refer to concrete blocks as cinder blocks. Today the fly ash from coal combustion is used as a pozzolanic material in concrete, creating a higher strength concrete.

Is cinder block good for a house? ›

Concrete block houses are energy-efficient, fire-resistant, noise-reducing, pest-resistant, low-maintenance, and healthy. Concrete homes are also a good investment.


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