Lately, weekends have been full of yard work. Though our backyard is small, it be but mighty in terms of work needed. Last weekend we planted grass seed so we’ll see (and hope) that it starts growing so the pups aren’t just rolling around in dirt all day and bringing it into the house. I’ll be so happy when the floor doesn’t have to be swept constantly only to be ruined in a minute by one filthy fur baby.
The backyard is an L shape with a nice big corner on one side. Since we moved in, I’ve always known I wanted to make it a fire pit area with bench type seating. In this case, I thought it made the most since to have a bench that would fit the corner, going across the fence on both sides with a fire pit in the middle. I also wanted to have a built in planter because I like green stuff because it’s prettyWhen I was looking around for outdoor furniture, I quickly realized that for what I wanted it was going to cost hundreds (if not a thousand) of dollars, something that I did not want to spend (hello, i’m on a budget — just bought my first house and have a mortgage and a million other remodeling jobs to complete ??).
(The top of that picture is what my backyard looked like a few months ago *shudders* The bottom is now with the new Cinder Block Bench.)
I kept looking around, scanning Pinterest and the internet for benches on a budget or DIY variations and finally came across the idea of cinder block planters and cinder block benches. I saw no reason why the two could not be combined. Plus I actually like the way they look — clean lines, simple, nice colors.
I didn’t find many corner cinder block benches that were what I wanted except for this one from Zest It Up that I drew most of my inspiration from. I loved theirs and mine is built similarly.
Our patio doesn’t extend all the way to the fence so I had to lay a few extra pavers down to sit the cinderblocks on. I wanted the bench to be close to the fence to use it like a back rest. Alternatively, a back rest could be built using the cinder blocks but I opted not to, preferring the way it looked without it (plus I just didn’t want to buy more materials). Once the patio and the pavers were set up, it was relatively quick and easy to put everything together. It took me a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.
On each side, I used 5 double cinderblocks and 3 singles, then I added one extra single cinder block in front to just act as an extra planter. You can see in the picture. In the second row, I turned one of the single cinderblocks to point facing forward so I could add an LED candle.
For the middle where the two sides meet, I used 12 doubles and 2 singles. You could use more singles but this method allows for a sort of shelf/table area in the back that can be used for drinks or whatever else you may want.
For the cinderblocks that became little planters, I lined the bottoms with hardware cloth that I used pliers to shape so I could fit them inside then I covered that with some fabric I cut off an extra smart pot I had lying around. My main concern was simply dirt falling out and I didn’t want to leave it open for it to just sit on the patio. After I lined the planters, I just filled each of the holes with different succulents. Succulents don’t require too much water which is good because 1) we’re in a drought and 2) the cinderblocks won’t hold a ton of water anyway.
For the wood, I used 4 x 4 x 8’s of pressure treated lumber. You could definitely stain the wood but I liked the existing color of what I got so left it as is. The cinderblocks can be painted too and I’ve seen some really cool designs but I liked the plain gray color.
The bench can be used without cushions but I thought it was more comfortable with them and it’s dog approved as well. ??
Super happy with the final product and for much less than it would’ve cost to buy. Can’t wait for the first bonfire this summer!