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10 Genius Garden Hacks with Concrete

Is there a more versatile hardscaping material than humble concrete? In the garden, you can use concrete blocks (or board formed concrete) to make: a wall, a privacy screen, a breeze block window, a planter for succulents, a raised bed for your tomatoes, a carport, a front stoop, a path, a fence, a potting bench, shelves, a bench, or a wine rack. Plus about a million other things.

We admit that concrete is not always a good idea. Some concrete block structures look like Lego gone wrong. But when you get it right? Nothing looks better than concrete against a garden-green backdrop. The secret to success is proportion and context. To show you what we mean, we’ve rounded up 10 genius hacks with concrete–from humble DIY projects to architects’ designs–that can improve any outdoor space:

A Garden Screen

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Above: A concrete block wall in the garden of a beach house in Australia by Kennedy Nolan Architects. Photograph by Derek Swalwell.

Water Feature

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Above: A pair of poured-concrete fountains flanks a walkway in an LA garden designed by landscape architect Mark Tessier. Photograph by Art Gray. For more of this project, see Landscape Architect Visit: A Refined Family Garden in LA’s Pacific Palisades.

Indoor-Outdoor Dining

A cast concrete table extends from indoors to out in a minimalist hideaway constructed of concrete and parota wood. Photograph by Camila Cossio. For more of this project, see One Bedroom, Desert View: A Tiny Airbnb Casita in Mexico.
Above: A cast concrete table extends from indoors to out in a minimalist hideaway constructed of concrete and parota wood. Photograph by Camila Cossio. For more of this project, see One Bedroom, Desert View: A Tiny Airbnb Casita in Mexico.

Air Circulation

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Above: Breeze blocks create an impromptu window to allow air to circulate on a brick-walled patio created by Toronto-based Earth Inc. See more at Steal This Look: Cinderblock Chic on a Toronto Patio.

Garage Story

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Above: Board form concrete frames a garage on a house by San Francisco-based TD Architecture, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory.

Privacy Screen

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Above: A concrete block wall provides poolside privacy without blocking a panoramic views from a house by Sydney-based MCK Architects. Photograph courtesy of MCK Architects.

Paver Hack

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Above: As part of a $5,000 garden makeover, industrial designers Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming built a permeable path of concrete pavers (from Home Depot), set in gravel to aid drainage. For more of this garden, see Before & After: A $5,000 Garden Makeover in St. Augustine, Florida.

Building Blocks

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Above: At his home in Hancock Park, LA-based designer Kirill Bergart created an elegantly elevated plant stand with simple concrete blocks. For more, see Midcentury Modern Mashup: At Home with a Rising Design Star in LA on Remodelista.

Stepping Stone Planter

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Above: DIY concrete block planters fill a corner of a patio at garden designer Allison Bloom‘s house in Mill Valley. See more in DIY: Concrete Block Planters.

Plant Shelves

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Above: Concrete blocks hold redwood planks in place to create shelving in my next-door neighbor’s garden. For more, see Garden Visit: The Hobbit Land Next Door. Photograph by Tom Kubik for Gardenista.

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