Contact

Potted’s DIY Cinderblock Wall

A while back I had a discerning client who was also an interior designer. We got along great and she was easy going…all she asked for was something nobody else had or that she’d never seen before. Sure, no problem. I come up with those ideas 20 times a day (okay, that’s a total lie…I wish I came up with them 20 times a day). But I accepted the challenge and started looking for inspiration. And then I was struck…

While looking through a building material yard for another client, I came upon these cinderblocks. The ones with the circles were used for sewer lines and I thought they’d make amazing planters but then I saw the half emptied pallet of the other cinderblocks, ones that are usually used to build walls, and I knew I had it…something I’d never seen before!

And here is our cinderblock wall. A friend of the store, Laure Joliet, is an editor at Apartment Therapy and when I told her about the idea and how easy it would be for people to do themselves, she was excited and asked me to let her post it on the site. This blog post was reposted so many times it was incredible (and we were just a little bit proud.)

Here is a version in Texas from Pam Penick’s blog Digging.  In her wall she made it double sided which I thought was a great extra.  She also goes on to show how she did it which apparently involved chicken wire and landscape cloth.  I just filled mine with soil and it seemed to work just fine. Pam also used different cinderblock than I did which I think worked better for pulling them out without creating a void behind them. The larger blocks I used gave you more room for soil however which I think is a plus. I saw another reposting using these cinderblocks as well.

Here is Form LA’s booth at the recent Dwell on Design Show at the LA Convention Center and I was thrilled to see yet again the cinderblocks. I loved the addition of the bench and the black “grout” they used between the blocks (it was actually thin plywood painted black but I think for a permanent installation they would use actual grout…for our wall, we used liquid nails).

It’s a handsome planter. The possibilities are endless. If you’ve tried a version of the cinderblock wall, please send them to us. We’d love to see them all. And if you have any ideas for things no one has ever seen before, by all means please send those along too.

PS…as I was about to post this, the picture above came up on Urban Gardens Blog. Too funny.

PSS…If you are concerned about safety, you should reinforce any wall you build with rebar and mortar. The first one I did was only 4 blocks tall and stacked against another cinderblock wall. Use common sense…any freestanding wall should probably be reinforced.

Tags: , , , , , ,

21 Responses to “Potted’s DIY Cinderblock Wall”

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    You certainly came up with a brilliant idea, one that I was happy to copy and tweak to make my own. Hopefully your client doesn’t feel too bad about not having the only one now. :-) If anyone’s interested in seeing what mine looks like today, after several months’ growth (and a cleaner patio), here are recent pics: http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=12829

    Also, another Austin gardener has come up with her own variation, with openings for candles: http://www.jpetersongardendesign.com/2011/01/cinderblock-succulent-planter/

  2. Hey Annette! Ditto what Pam said–when I first saw your planter on Apartment Therapy, I bookmarked it and was after my boyfriend for months to build it with me! So creative and industrial–perfect for Austin! Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  3. [...] Just head on over to visit Potted and check out the story behind and tips on how to make this garden planter! [...]

  4. Harry Huffman says:

    What goes under the block sticking out to keep the dirt falling through.

  5. Michelle D. says:

    It’s more than common sense, it’s a legal, safety and code issue. Each municipality and state has set their own safety and building standards. In my area of California one cannot build a free standing wall any taller than 30 inches without a permit. The project also has to go through the planning and building department and will require a concrete footing with reinforcement bar and back filled mortared cells and block mortared.
    If a person uses your building instructions and the wall fails and hurts someone you can be held liable for damages because you provided the building instructions. It doesn’t matter if the wall you built was in your own back yard, for your own pleasure. You are publishing and providing building instructions that are not properly engineered and are in most case beyond your scope of profession, unless you are a structural engineer.
    As designers we have a responsibility to work within the laws of our practice. Providing structural information is beyond that scope.
    I’d consider the liability and would remove any construction information – for the safety of the public and for the safety of yourself. I’d also check your Errors and Omissions insurance, which I assume you carry because you are writing construction instructions. If you don’t have E+O – get it FAST.

  6. annette says:

    We cut backer board and used liquid nails to hold it in place. We drilled a drainage hole in the backer board as well.
    We would love to know how other DIYers handled this issue!

  7. Michelle D. says:

    Annette,
    The backer board was a good idea. It provided you with a fair mount of shear strength. But because you have cantilevered elements you still require compression strength. And because there is no internal tensile strength or a bonded footing, the project is still a safety hazard.
    Consider the scenario of a child doing what children do: they climb , they explore. With no secure footing and the shear wall intact, the entire wall could tilt over and potentially kill / injure a person or an animal.
    A footing or a means to secure the structure is required, as is shear, tensile and compression strengths. It doesn’t necessarily need to be engineered as load bearing, but it should be constructed safely enough so that it can handle lateral force without tipping over.
    It is an incredibly creative design and has spun off other similar designs, some which are terrible built very high and with no means of shear strength. These creatively built walls just need to be safely secured so that both the designer, builder and those that move around the structure are safe. As it is now, this is a slam dunk win for any Injury Attorney.

  8. annette says:

    Michelle makes an excellent point. We certainly encourage everyone from professionals to DIYers to
    make safety a priority.

  9. [...] on the internet…we found it on Inspiring Pretty but you can find the original instructions here and a tutorial here. It is a more substantial installation than the pallet planter we featured a [...]

  10. [...] this edible wall planted in artistically stacked concrete blocks—a riff, perhaps, on the succulent wall at Potted that inspired my own succulent [...]

  11. [...] 10. Cinder Block Garden Wall. The possibilities are endless with these planters. Cinder blocks come in a variety of sizes and shapes. So let your imagination go wild and create a one of a kind wall planter. To see more cinder block wall shapes visit Potted Store. [...]

  12. KARCHER PATIO WASHER…

    [...]Potted’s DIY Cinderblock Wall | Potted[...]…

  13. [...] Potted’s DIY Cinderblock Wall | Potted. Share this:ShareFacebookStumbleUponRedditDiggEmailPrint [...]

  14. [...] The DIY project below is one of the most unique uses of cinder blocks on record! Stacking these everyday items to create a wall of modern planters results in an architectural masterpiece. Filling the holes in the blocks with succulents is the icing on the cake! [from Potted] [...]

  15. [...] The DIY project below is one of the most unique uses of cinder blocks on record! Stacking these everyday items to create a wall of modern planters results in an architectural masterpiece. Filling the holes in the blocks with succulents is the icing on the cake! [from Potted] [...]

  16. Joni says:

    Hi~
    I saw this planter on Pinterest and LOVED it. We have some extra blocks sitting around from a remodel a few years ago and this is such a great idea!
    My question is how do u keep the soil from falling 1) out the bottom 2) down into the blocks they are stacked on? Is that why the chicken wire is mentioned? How do you keep the chicken wire in?

    Thank you so much
    Joni

  17. annette says:

    I would use Liquid Nails to glue the chicken wire in but really if you just double it over a few times it will just wedge in there. I didn’t use chicken wire on the wall at Julie Maigret’s house though. We cut pieces of cement board and glued them in with Liquid Nails. You can also use finer wire (like scene door mesh) so nothing much gets through). Good luck!

  18. [...] While looking through a building material yard for another client, I came upon these cinderblocks. The ones with the circles were used for sewer lines and I thought they’d make amazing planters but then I saw the half emptied pallet of the other cinderblocks, ones that are usually used to build walls, and I knew I had it…something I’d never seen before! And here is our cinderblock wall. Potted’s DIY Cinderblock Wall | Potted [...]

  19. [...] Check out a few arrangement ideas over at pottedstore.com [...]

  20. [...] potted brightminimalsummertiny [...]

  21. […] blocks left over after a home improvement, why not check out this great blog on turning them into a cinder block wall to fill with beautiful […]

Leave a Reply