Bench For Your Backyard

Zest it Up
by Zest it Up
9 Materials
4 Hours


Thank you so much for the kind compliments! Some of you brought up some good questions and concerns...

1- we have never had an issue with the cinder blocks moving. Not to say it wouldn't happen, but just know that we have had countless parties and kids over and never had any issues with blocks shifting but if you want to play it safe you can definitely use an adhesive. What I kind of liked though was that this wasn't a permanent project so I can change my mind one day if we want to re-arrange the yard.

2- love the ideas to add some extra color by painting or staining the concrete cinder blocks, super tempted to even do tiles! great ideas and excited to inspire some backyard projects to you all!!

3- sadly Franklin is still gone roaming the wild! (at least one could hope! ha)




Billy and I love to have people over and host, so with that we are constantly looking for ways to improve our yard and "hosting" space. We were super excited about our recent backyard transformation, we took out grass and installed some fake grass, plantings, decomposed granite and even poured some concrete. Amongst all these improvements we still wanted to create a fire pit area, but let's face it things can get pricey when it all adds up!! To save some bucks we were able to come up with a great alternative for our new and improved fire pit seating area. Rather than building some large wall with seating we were able to make our own and what's kind of nice is that it's not permanent so we can still have some flexibility with changing the yard up as our lifestyle changes.

Original Blog Post

Here's our blank canvas :)

But there is one sad part about this blog post, remember Franklin- oh good old Frankie. In case you have no clue who I am talking about, Meet Franklin. My 50 lb 6 year old Sulcata Tortoise who recently ran away. Yep, he managed to escape his cinder clock cage while Billy and I were out of town, so saddddddd. But with that said, it's been quite some time now since Frankie escaped and Billy and I were ready to move on and make use of his cage. Heck now we can think of him when we sit on our bench right? haha

Supplies: (for my exact bench, feel free to altar to your area)

  • cinder blocks (22 doubles, 8 singles)
  • 6 - 4x4 wooden planks
  • wood stain
  • polyurethane
  • paint brush
  • sander
  • soil/plantings

Did I mention we were able to get some of our husbands to join in the zest?!?!? Oh heck yes!! Billy started with some sanding....

Next Josh and Cooper tag teamed staining the wood

There might have been a few beers involved as every good man project should....

After the stain is dry go ahead and add a coat of polyurethane for extra protection in the weather

Now it's time to play tetris!!

First off you will want to wear gloves when you move the cinder blocks to avoid them tearing up your hands.

So you can see the formula that worked for me here....mixing in those doubles and singles to create the pyramid look for plantings

Now to plant! I am going to do some native grasses and succulents since the cinder blocks are not too big and won't hold too much water for long- gotta think of what will actually live!!

Fill the blocks with soil and get to planting....

Managed to find a little friend in the process!! ah!! {i LOVE weird}

Yay! LOVE the color and can't wait until these start to grow and really hang over the blocks and fill in!!

Billy managed to sneak in one more coat of poly while I planted...

And there you have it!! So excited for our next bonfire!!



Resources for this project:
Cinder blocks
6 - 4x4 wooden planks
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Zest it Up
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3 of 49 questions
  • Donna Glenn Donna Glenn on Jun 02, 2021

    So sorry to hear about your tortoise,certainly,someone had to have seen him,it's hard to miss a 60 pound turtle,are you sure he wasnt stolen?just hope he's ok


    Love your seating idea. Was Frankie ever found, I think a 50lb turtle wouldn't be hard to hide, and they can't move that fast can they? Hope Frankie's ok wherever he turns up.

  • Chynna Chynna on Jun 03, 2021

    How do you keep the stringers for the seat from sliding around They look quite loose.

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  • Janette Lilley Janette Lilley on Jun 04, 2021

    Hey! You are not weird! I love frogs too. Love your seating project too.

  • Angel Baker Angel Baker on Jun 06, 2021

    Sorry to hear about Franklin. I have a neighbor about five houses down. They have two. From time to time they manage to get out & will play in the front yard. I have a close friend who I helped out & we built a bench almost identical to yours. We wondered about the boards sliding so we just had an extra outside row of blocks with the holes facing up & did mini planters like you. That way the boards couldn't move because they were up against the solid side of the blocks.