Cinderfella’s Vertical Garden Planter

July 15, 2011 by

Zac Benson’s got a bad succulent collecting habit. The San Diego-based photographer says his girlfriend, who shares his love of  these “fat plants,” would for Valentine’s Day “way rather have nice a Kalanchoe Beharensis a.k.a. Felt Plant” than a dozen roses.

A Home for Succulents
To find a way to show off the ever growing collection of succulents taking over his front and backyard, Benson built a cinder block planter wall to contain them. Since he’d seen cinder blocks used as planters, he thought with a little glue (block adhesive) he’d go vertical to house as many succulent as possible.

Cinder blocks appealed to Benson because they are inexpensive (total cost was under $60) and simple to make. He also loved the great modern feel of the cinder block’s simple square lines.

Don’t Forget the Drainage
After a few trips to Home Depot for the blocks, he stacked them without using any glue–but just played with the blocks until he found the perfect shape. After a few variations, Benson settled on the final layout pictured here. “I carefully took it apart and glued metal screens to the bottom of the blocks that would be holding dirt,” the photographer explained. “Once the screens had bonded to the blocks I started to rebuild the wall, gluing all the blocks together.”

Variations on the Idea
In small spaces, it’s always great to give an piece dual functionality. Benson placed his cinder block garden by a fence, but consider using yours as a privacy screen to block out from view those overly friendly neighbors. You might want to use the block wall planter as a space divider–separating even a small dining area from a lounging area. By using the solid sides of the blocks, you could extend some of them to create a ledge that functions as a table, giving yourself extra serving area when entertaining. The same concept can be extended to create additional seating: build out the blocks in one area of the wall to create a seat, then place an inexpensive loveseat or bench cushion on top.

Photos by Zac Benson

47 Comments »

  1. Potted’s DIY Cinderblock Wall | Potted Pingback said:

    […] I was about to post this, the picture above came up on Urban Gardens Blog. Too […]

    — July 16, 2011 @ 12:00

  2. Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said:

    Love the creative use of Cinder Block for a Vertical Garden great share

    — July 16, 2011 @ 12:39

  3. DanEastSide said:

    That is amazing that I came across this blog. I have a pile of cinder blocks in my backyard from when they raised my wall. Wasn’t sure what to do with them until now 🙂

    Great idea, thanks.

    — July 17, 2011 @ 12:16

  4. A Green Thumb | "Everything Agriculture" Pingback said:

    […] article on Urban Gardens (http://www.urbangardensweb.com/2011/07/15/cinderfellas-vertical-garden-planter/) went onto say that the designer used metal screens glued to the bottom of the blocks to keep in […]

    — July 18, 2011 @ 11:16

  5. Suzy said:

    We too have large a collection of gorgeous succulents which always look a bit scrubby in lots of pots so I will definitely use some Cinder blocks we have lying around.

    — July 22, 2011 @ 01:10

  6. Divya Tomar said:

    Zack, that is so super. I am from India, and we are graduating to a apartment community really fast. Do you think hollow styrofoam bricks would also work – and for other plants too?

    — August 9, 2011 @ 02:39

  7. GO HERE to check it out! | Question and Planter Pingback said:

    […] week, on Urban Gardens, a website for limited-space gardening, we saw how photographer Zac Benson built a vertical […]

    — September 30, 2011 @ 06:40

  8. Mary Fisler said:

    I am so very glad that I found this article. I have been looking for an inexpensive way to make a garden with very little space. This Article gave me ideas that I never would have thought of on my own.

    — November 28, 2011 @ 17:13

  9. Greenamic said:

    Great idea in using those building materials!

    — November 28, 2011 @ 22:24

  10. Lorraine said:

    What a great idea if someone doesn’t have much of a budget! It’s so stylish and colorful, too.

    — January 31, 2012 @ 16:18

  11. H2O My Goodness! Beautiful Designs for Outdoor Spaces | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] to come soon about this company’s vertical garden system…. AKPC_IDS += […]

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  12. paulvs said:

    Great but have you seen the dutch invention;
    EdibleWall or Eetbare Wand. An complete vertical system with intergrated micro drip irrigation system.
    Easy to use and easy to order.

    — February 7, 2012 @ 03:20

  13. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    No, I haven’t seen these, but thank you for bringing them to my attention.

    — February 24, 2012 @ 18:58

  14. tui xach thoi trang said:

    The cool new Living Wall Planter lets you grow plants, flowers or fresh herbs vertically in your kitchen, entryway, balcony, deck or anywhere space is tight and receives direct sunlight. This unique indoor/outdoor planter features a solid cedar frame, two vertical planting panels – each panel accommodates 22 quarts of soil so there are 90 total planting cells, a built in water reservoir tray and a water collection tray. It truly is a living, oxygenating work of art.

    — March 10, 2012 @ 00:57

  15. Noreen said:

    Hello,
    Me and my husband fell in love with this idea! We just bought a home late last year and were looking into vertical type planters and your idea is perfect!! If you don’t mind sharing, what exactly is a metal screen and what type of bonding agent did you use to adhere the concrete and metal?

    — April 5, 2012 @ 18:47

  16. Below Ground Garden Box « A Common Life Pingback said:

    […] out these ideas with cinder blocks-Studio BlogRaised Cinder Block BedsAnother verticle wall ideaShows using the holes for a raised […]

    — April 19, 2012 @ 19:50

  17. Vegetable Container Gardening Ideas: How To Get Started …And Get Free Seeds! - The Fun Times Guide to Food and Cooking Pingback said:

    […] DIY Cinder Block Vertical Garden Planter […]

    — June 22, 2012 @ 15:27

  18. Marti Stupka said:

    I have a serious succulent “habit.” I can’t help myself. I love new suggestions of ways to display my plants. I live in Southwest Florida and the monsoon season has proved to be challenging with me moving all succulents so they don’t get too much water, but at the same time trying to maintain the light requirements. Was thrilled to find this article and other sites that have given me some ideas. Thanks to all.

    — July 19, 2012 @ 17:29

  19. Things I Heart: Outdoor Spacesduhmesticdiva.com Pingback said:

    […] (I’ve got to do this!) is a Cinderblock Succulent Garden. I stumbled on this idea through Urban Gardens’ site. It’s absolutely to die for. I borrowed their photo to show you. I hope they don’t […]

    — September 3, 2012 @ 11:09

  20. anthony said:

    My wife called me at work, when she found this post. What a simple but effective way to make a planter. She plans to use cinder block to put horsetail out front of her skin center. Thank you for the wonderful and inexpensive idea.

    — October 31, 2012 @ 23:33

  21. scott said:

    cool idea, should spray it with some concrete stain & sealer…and try to grout in the joints. Maybe hit the joints with a 4″ grinder w/ diamond wheel to make a small reveal for the grout to stick in

    — April 9, 2013 @ 11:58

  22. Container Garden Inspiratin | Excellence at Home Pingback said:

    […] cinderblock garden walls have certainly made the rounds on home and garden blogs, and for good reason.  Cinder blocks are […]

    — April 10, 2013 @ 07:05

  23. Fun DIY Raised Bed Gardens From Interlocking Blocks - Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] for those who like things neutral, and blue, orange, and green for gardeners wanting to use the blocks as a design element in their outdoor design […]

    — October 29, 2013 @ 17:00

  24. Vertical Succulent Garden With Integrated Outdoor Shower Pingback said:

    […] I visited Spain last summer, Marc shared with me his work in progress on a lush vertical succulent garden with an integrated outdoor shower. Designed for a client’s seaside residence on the Costa […]

    — December 19, 2013 @ 11:34

  25. Cinder Block: Meet The Material - Home Improvement Blog – The Apron by The Home Depot Pingback said:

    […] feeders, platforms for beds and jewelry. Above, we see how photographer Zack Benson came up with a way to turn cinder blocks into a planter for succulents. The Urban Gardens website has more photos, and a description of how Zack did […]

    — March 24, 2014 @ 09:32

  26. Heather_7 said:

    is wondering what type of glue was used to adhere the screens to the bottom of the cement?

    — April 9, 2014 @ 12:56

  27. DA BLOCCO DI CEMENTO... AD ARREDAMENTO! Pingback said:

    […] via: 1 – […]

    — January 12, 2015 @ 07:24

  28. 10 Creative DIY Vertical Gardens For Your Home - DIY - All in One! Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (Photos and Tutorial via Apartment Therapy, Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — March 8, 2015 @ 14:07

  29. Graham said:

    Doesn’t look safe for high seismic regions without being mortared in place, and metal rods down the middle.

    — April 11, 2015 @ 22:47

  30. Cinder Block: Meet The Material Pingback said:

    […] feeders, platforms for beds and jewelry. Above, we see how photographer Zack Benson came up with a way to turn cinder blocks into a planter for succulents. The Urban Gardens website has more photos, and a description of how Zack did […]

    — June 15, 2015 @ 12:09

  31. 8 Ideas Que No Imaginarías Utilizando Bloques De Hormigón Pingback said:

    […] Urban gardens […]

    — September 3, 2015 @ 13:08

  32. Awesome Home Projects Created From Concrete Cinder Blocks | Architecture & Design Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (photo credits: Apartment Therapy,Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — December 6, 2015 @ 02:51

  33. 25+ Creative DIY Vertical Gardens For Your Home | Architecture & Design Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (Photos and Tutorial via Apartment Therapy, Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — December 13, 2015 @ 05:43

  34. 20+ Creative DIY Vertical Gardens For Your Home - Natural Living Hub Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (Photos and Tutorial via Apartment Therapy, Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — December 20, 2015 @ 03:13

  35. Awesome Home Projects Created From Concrete Cinder Blocks | Architecture & Interior Design Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (photo credits: Apartment Therapy,Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — January 12, 2016 @ 09:05

  36. 20+ CREATIVE DIY VERTICAL GARDENS FOR YOUR HOME | Handmade Daily Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (Photos and Tutorial via Apartment Therapy, Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — April 12, 2016 @ 17:03

  37. 20 Creative Ways to Use Cinder Blocks in Your Home and Garden Pingback said:

    […] This is a great way to add an inexpensive wall planter feature to your backyard. the great thing about this is you can set the wall up to how you like so many designs are possible. Get the details: urbangardensweb.com […]

    — April 17, 2016 @ 04:57

  38. 16 stunning vertical gardens that will fill you with envy Pingback said:

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  39. Awesome Home Projects Created From Concrete Cinder Blocks | Home Design Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (photo credits: Apartment Therapy,Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — October 30, 2016 @ 00:56

  40. Awesome Home Projects Created From Concrete Cinder Blocks | Trisanmobile -VIRAL Today Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (photo credits: Apartment Therapy,Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — November 13, 2016 @ 07:05

  41. Awesome Home Projects Created From Concrete Cinder Blocks - Daily Article Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (photo credits: Apartment Therapy,Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — December 16, 2016 @ 07:09

  42. Awesome Home Projects Created From Concrete Cinder Blocks | Homes Garden Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (photo credits: Apartment Therapy,Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — March 11, 2017 @ 02:50

  43. Décorer son jardin avec des parpaings (blocs de béton creux) - Déconome Pingback said:

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  44. 20+ Creative DIY Vertical Gardens For Your Home - DIY Pingback said:

    […] This is a smart and inexpensive way to add wall planter feature to your backyard. I like the different varieties of succulents. (Photos and Tutorial via Apartment Therapy, Apartment Therapy, Urban Gardens) […]

    — June 27, 2018 @ 13:32

  45. 22 super pomys?y na wykorzystanie betonowych pustaków | F7dobry Pingback said:

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  46. Design, Recycling and Inexpensive Cross Paths At This Living Wall - The Sustain Blog Pingback said:

    […] found this Vertical Wall on Urban Garden‘s site and chose it for the first Once a Week post because, well, not only do I love it, but […]

    — April 2, 2019 @ 13:18

  47. Outdoor Uses for Cinder Blocks – Pickled Barrel Pingback said:

    […] would have thought you could build an amazing vertical planter out of some cinder blocks? It’s perfect for a succulent […]

    — September 22, 2019 @ 22:36

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