Each year, we try expand the garden somewhere.  Goal being less lawn, more edibles.

This week, we finally got around to creating two new raised beds using cement blocks.

love.

Love.

LOVE them.

They blend right in with the cement block patio furniture we built last year, and I’m excited about the extra planting room you get around the edge…..It’s like having 52 additional containers to plant in!

I remember my grandparents having these types of beds and I recall them always being filled with tomatoes.  I vividly remember the moments when my Grandpa was teaching me about ‘suckers’ and how the stems have all these feelers that root out when planted deeply…and then of course….nibbling away at the cherry tomatoes every time I passed by.

As a kid, they just seemed like big grey concrete thingies….when I look at the ones we recently built in the yard, I see something completely different.

I see long-lasting.

Cement block is very durable and these beds should be around for a very long time.

I see ‘contemporary’.

They’re very neat and tidy looking — clean lines and a bit ‘modern’, ironically enough.

I see  affordable.

Each block cost $.88 cents at Lowe’s.  The first bed used 26 blocks — $22.88 ….not a bad price for this size of garden bed (roughly 5 feet by 14 feet).  You then need to factor in the price of dirt/compost/sand to fill it…which when you buy in bulk is more cost effective and added about another $35 to the final cost of each bed.

The second bed needed to go up another layer so it used 52 blocks.  

They were also easy to install….most of the work was spent in ground prep…..our entire yard seems like one big ‘hill’,  so we did have to do some leveling by moving dirt and using a layer of sand.  I hope to keep adding to this concrete jungle each year.

Now for the fun part….planting.

Cheers to growing your own edibles….how have you expanded your gardening efforts this year?

michele.

  1. john says:

    i dont see any mortar between the blocks for the furniture. what did you do to secure the blocks without mortar? my concern would be someone leaning back and knocking the top layer off

  2. r adkins says:

    I use concrete blocks for plant beds, too. Here is a hit: If you have abad back like me, try using two or three courses of block, it does take a lot more to fill the beds, but you can sit on the raised block walls to work on your plants.

    Also, Baby sitting in the planter “very cute” should make a card and sel it.

    Rick

  3. susan dallas says:

    We had wanted to do this also but were concerned if any chemicals from the concrete blocks would leach into the dirt. would this happen or am I worried about nothing?

  4. Jeanine says:

    My husband went to our local dump to get rid of our recycle items one day and came home with an SUV full of free concrete blocks and asked if I could use them. We had already had a wooden raised bed garden for our vegetables so we made a raised bed out of these blocks for my sunflowers and pansies. It looks awesome and the best things is it costs us nothing and we recycled.

  5. Nicole Wingate says:

    To pin it, just copy the http address at the top of the screen. Highlight the address, and copy. When you go into your Pinterest account you can add pins, and theres a place to paste the address into a field for pinning.

  6. Nicole Wingate says:

    I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while. It’s a great idea, and very economical. I see cinder blocks listed on craigslist.org/freecycle all the time, so you can even get them for free. And if you don’t like the grey color, you can always paint the cinder block facing outward. That way you can spice it up a little bit. I’ve also got an area in front of our house that needed some garden trim to improve curb appeal, so I think I might try this method for that project as well. And, the cinder block furniture is great. Again, you can change it up, and soften the look with concrete paint. With some outdoor seat padding, you’ll have a comfortable and inviting outdoor seating area. :)

  7. Kyle says:

    Great idea..one question: How do you keep the critters out with no fencing/chicken wire? I built raised beds out of cedar and put up about a foot and a half mesh wire netting to keep out the not insignificant number of rabbits in our yard. I hate the way it looks and am game for some other ideas….I’ve heard hair clippings work; any experience with this?

  8. Lori says:

    I love this idea. :) I have been trying to figure out how to do a raised bed, but I thought the wood might get expensive. I could see maybe painting the outside edge to add some color to the yard or to blend into the landscape. Is there any concern about leaching? I truly have no idea if concrete would do that. This project excites me-thank you for posting.

  9. karlyne says:

    I love this whole article and I’d like to “pin” it at Pinterest, but I don’t know how! Being techno-challenged, I need a “pin at Pinterest” button. Have you thought about adding one?

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