Your front yard is the warm, welcoming hug your home offers to the world. If you’re looking to improve your curb appeal and spread some outdoor charm, these DIY Planters are your ticket to a garden transformation that’s as much fun as it is fabulous. Now, I won’t sugarcoat it – this project might take a bit. But here is the best part: you can totally skip your gym session today because, believe me, all that hammering, digging, and moving cinderblocks will give your muscles so more action than any gym workout ever could. So by building these DIY Planters, you really are saving yourself time. It’s both a curb appeal boost and a workout shortcut. You are welcome! 🙂
- Disposable gloves
- Pea gravel
- Masonry Piping Bag
- Solid Cinderblock
- Waterproofing Sealant
First things first… GLOVES. When working with cinderblocks, mortar, shovels, dirt, all that, just use gloves. I promise you will thank me! Get these gloves. They have the rubber on them so it is easier to pick up and move the blocks. Get these gloves for when spreading the mortar.
Work smarter, not harder tip: Get your cinderblocks delivered to your house, so you do not have to load them up OR unload them. Sure, you may need to pay a delivery fee and possibly a tip, but think of the time and energy you will save!
Step 1: Key to great curb appeal, the first layer.
First layer of bricks is the most important. It takes the longest and makes you question your life choices. BUT, it gets better. I swear! Your body may hurt, and it may feel like a you got beat with a ton of bricks, and you kinda did, but it is so so worth it!
It is so important that you make sure they are perfectly level. This is your foundation to the entire box and if its lop sided or not stable, the rest will look off, slanted and may fall over. So take the extra time to make sure they are level.
Once the first layer of blocks are set and level, place a piece of rebar in each hole of the cinderblocks. Hammer it down to be slightly lower than what the height of your planter will be. Again, this is the foundation we are building, so it is a step that you do not want to skip.
We are almost finished with the foundation and first layer. Finally, fill each hole on the cinderblock with pea gravel or concrete. I choose pea gravel.
Step 2 – Start Cruising with the second layer
Ok, now that you are done with the first layer. The second and any other layers you do should go much quicker. If you have been here for a while, you know I choose to work smarter, not harder, to connect the cinderblocks, I am using pre-mixed mortar. But you can mix your own mortar if you want to.
Any time I do brick work, I using these “piping bags”. Think decorating a cupcake, but with cinderblocks not cake. It is so much easier and cleaner to pipe the mortar on the block. Pipe around the top of the base block, place the next one on and mortar will probably ooze out the side. Simply spread it along the seam to seal it up. Don’t worry, it does not need to be perfectly sealed.
Once the second layer is all set, fill the holes with pea gravel again.
If you need to add another layer on your planter, repeat step 2 until your planter is the desired height. Once it is high enough, move on to step 3.
Step 3 – Close it up!
Now that is the desired height, we are going to close up the top. Get this kind of cinderblock. Pipe more mortar on the top cinderblock and place the “lid” on. Spread any extra mortar along the seam and you are done with build portion of the planter!
Step 4 – Stucco
In this step, we will seal all the cracks. So if the mortar did not cover every crack, its ok, we are closing it all up now! Mix up your stucco according to the package, but only mix as much as you are going to use. You cannot save stucco until tomorrow… I learned that the hard way.
The best way to mix the stucco is with your drill and this attachment. It works just like a hand mixer that you use to beat your cake mix… (I think I should go make a cake:) )Anyway, you will for sure want that attachment to mix your stucco, mortar or concrete.
Once it is all mixed, it is time to apply it to the planter. Using a spatula, spread the stucco all over the outside, top and inside of the planters, the same way you would spread frosting on a cake 🙂 . Make sure its fully covering the cinderblocks. Heads up, it’s a little tricky getting the stucco to stay on the corners.
I also added the stucco on the inside top half of the planter.
Step 5 – Sand the stucco
Once the stucco was dry, I sanded it down to smooth it out. Stucco is really rough and has a lot of sharp uneven edges and texture. I did not like the look of that, so I sanded it down, and it looked so much cleaner. If you do not mind that look you can skip this step, but I am glad I did it. After you are done sanding, wipe the stucco off to get all the dust off. You can even spray it off with the hose if you want, but make sure it is completely dry before you move on to the next step.
Step 6 – Paint to improve curb appeal
Time to paint it! I did 2 coats of Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams. It may not have needed 2 coats, but I wanted to make sure it was completely covered, and I had the paint so I just did it. You decide what your project needs.
I also painted the inside top half, where I stuccoed so once the dirt and plants were in, it looked nice and finished.
Step 7 – Waterproofing my foundation
My planters are right up against the foundation of my house, so I decided to apply this waterproofing sealant to the foundation. I painted it on the bottom portion of my foundation where I planned to have dirt. I did 2 coats of this as well, just for extra measure.
Let it dry and you are ALOMST DONE!!
Step 8 – Finishing Touches to level up your curb appeal
You are so close… just a few finishing touches to complete your curb appeal glow up! I chose to add cardboard to the bottom of the planters. This made it so I did not have to use as much dirt, but also helped with weed control. I then added the dirt, which was so many bags, I lost count! We installed a drip system, which is totally optional, but will be super nice! Then I planted my plants, cleaned up my yard a bit and I now have these amazing planters in my front yard!
I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! They are perfect for the space, instantly improved my curb appeal and they will be super low maintenance! What do you think? Are you going to build some?
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