Cinder Block Entryway Planter

6 Materials
$80
3 Days
Easy

Large cement planters make for great, modern outdoor style. However, as a DIY option, they take a lot of cement, and building the forms is no small task. When I saw these smaller, solid cinder blocks available at Menards for only $1.09, I decided to give this simple technique a shot. We're thrilled with the results.

Front Stoop

This is the area we wanted to upgrade. We'd recently added an awning to our front stoop and pulled out our old, wood planter. The 4x4 awning supports left a bit of an eyesore we'll be building the planter around.


Tools and Materials

  • pea gravel
  • cinder blocks
  • mason chisel
  • landscape adhesive
  • concrete polyurethane sealant
  • 2x4s
  • paint
  • rail planters

Create a Base

Pea Gravel

I started by digging out a flat area 20'' wide by 3-5" deep. I spread paver base and pea gravel to level the area out.

Cinder Blocks

I used solid blocks that were 3 1/2" x 15 1/2" x 7 1/2". They only cost $1.09 each at Menards.

Stack the Blocks

Stack the Blocks

I stacked the blocks in a basic pattern, overlapping the edges in each corner except for where I hit the pole I referenced earlier.

Cut if Needed

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Cut Cinder Blocks

Because of the two 4x4 poles I was building around, I had to cut a few of the blocks. I'd never done this before, and it was far easier than I imagined it would be. I just scored the block on all 4 sides and hit it with a mason chisel.

Stick Together

Stick Together

I used landscape adhesive between blocks to secure them. It's really easy to work with and, because it comes in a tube and you can use a calk gun, it's not messy at all.

DIY Planter

This is the planter, blocks fully stacked, from another angle, before any of the finishing work.

Caulk

Caulk

Once the planter was built, I caulked all the cracks with concrete polyurethane sealant. We wanted it to look as much like a solid concrete planter as possible.

Build the Rail

Build the Rail

I wanted the caulk to fully dry before painting. So, the next step was to build a rail that fit inside the planter to hold the plastic rail planters. I repurposed 2x4s that I had used to frame the old wood planter box we ripped out. These were previously sealed. As you can see, it's nothing pretty - just sturdy enough to get the job done.

Rail Planters

These are the rail planters I used inside the concrete planter. It was quite a bit more efficient (and cheap) to build a rail to mount these planters inside than it would have been to fill the entire large planter with dirt.

Paint

Paint

We painted the planter (and the front facing portion of the steps) black.

Painted Cinder Block Planter

Just like any wall, I did the edges with a brush and rolled the majority. The can of black concrete paint was $21 at Home Depot.

DIY Cinder Block Planter

Finished product!

Homemade Cinder Block Planter

I used leftover black spray paint to cover the edges of the plastic rail planters and built the rail so the plastic planters sit about an inch below the top of the concrete. It looks great, and they blend together well.

Easy DIY Cinder Block Planter

Even with the caulk and paint, you can still notice the cracks, but we're very pleased with the overall look. If you noticed... yes, those are fake plants. It's October in Minnesota, so I didn't want to put in real plants just to watch them die. That will have to wait until spring. Follow me on Instagram at  @woodyworking for more simple woodworking DIY or home improvement projects.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 21 questions
  • Susan Doxtater
    on Feb 16, 2020

    This is outstanding. Could we see the whole porch in one picture . We love what you did with the post and rail. Please if possible can we see it all . You inspired us ♥️

  • Lisa
    on Feb 16, 2020

    How did you secure the rails? Thank you.

  • Alexander Breaux
    on May 15, 2020

    How well does this hold up over time? I’ve heard from some people that I’d need to do some basing to make sure the ground doesn’t shift and cause cracking down the road.

    • Hi Alexander! We've been through a winter with it now, and it held up well. We did put down gravel and sand and tamped down the ground before starting with the blocks.

Join the conversation

2 of 180 comments
  • Barb
    on May 17, 2020

    This is a beautiful curb appeal and I love that you paintEd the cinderblocks planter black and what’s really eye catching is that you used the grey and black on the porch stairs. Wow have that wow factor. Love it💕👏🏼👊🏼💡

  • Krafty Mrs.K
    on May 20, 2020

    What's brilliant is the inside rail and planter boxes instead tons of dirt. It would a great idea for gardening for my wheel chair student.

    If you really wants a seamless solid surface, you could trowel a thin coat of cement or Quickcrete on it. But I think the black paint is dramatic and beautiful.

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