When I first became a homeowner I had a million ideas I wanted to apply to my yard concerning garden beds, decorative features, and basic maintenance. What I hadn’t first considered was the cost of it all as I drew up my plans and made lists of materials. My tight budget was hardly going to stretch as far as I needed it to, and DIY became my new favorite way to approach each project. If you have ideas that need to be brought to life, but the cost of having it done just isn’t feasible, then consider what you might be able to accomplish with a little of your own time and effort.
Concrete is inexpensive, easy to use, long lasting, and a perfect medium to work with to create a variety of garden projects. From walkways and stepping stones to decorative globes and whimsical features, concrete can provide the structure you need to create the vision you want. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite DIY concrete projects for the garden. These ideas should help get your creative juices flowing.
Paying a company to put in your walkway can get expensive pretty quickly. When you figure they are laying formed bricks and concrete into a pattern you picked out, you can’t help but wonder if you could do the same. If you have the patience to level your ground and provide the correct base, you can easily lay your own walk using forms of your own choosing.
Feel free to mix your textures when dreaming up the perfect walk through the garden. Rounded stepping stones are easy to create with a variety of forms, both premade and DIY’d. Plus, when you use your own design you can add your own personal touches- such as how far you want them spaced from one another, ground vegetation additions, specific mulch colors, etc.
Memorialize a Moment
If you have any special youngsters in your life or have worked collaboratively on a landscaping job, memorialize the moment with a handmade handprint stepping stone. Not only will they bring back the memories of the season for years to come but provide a personal touch to your gardens.
Leading to Zen
This Zen-inspired yard is minimalistic to help draw attention and focus on beauty and simplicity. Large boulders are actually quite costly unless you have your own source from which to get them from. Luckily, creating fake rocks is actually quite easy. Styrofoam, cardboard, newspaper, and chicken wire are all materials to help create forms over which you can harden concrete for your own garden boulder creations.
Square concrete stepping stones are all you need to create this side-by-side track through your property. Of course, you can always create your own style with different sizes and shapes, but there is no rule that says you have to follow a more traditional stepping stone pathway design. Plus, if you use stones upon your grass, they eventually settle in well and create a clean surface for lawn maintenance.
The thing about pouring your own concrete into forms for stepping stones is that you can customize it to fit into your landscape in any way you want. Add textures, mimic colors, highlight shapes…the sky’s the limit on what you can press into the surface of your stones to add interest to your garden.
Working with concrete is a great way to really bring to life the ideas you may have concerning walkways and stepping stones. Almost ANYTHING can become a mold from which to work to create the shapes you dream up, such as this simple idea that brings to mind an open flower.
As mentioned, concrete steps settle into grass quite well, creating a nice even surface. This is ideal for when you want to showcase a contrasting design, create an in-ground gaming area, or help lead the way through the yard. This short walkway provides a nice contrast in both color and texture to the surrounding hedges leading to the front porch of this home.
The last thing you want to deal with is any slip and falls along your concrete walkways during wet and icy conditions. Concrete is great in that it can be easily textured as these various designs show. Well-placed pebbles, cracks, and other various ways to make your concrete look more natural also provide a good foothold in adverse weather.
Concrete can be easily colored when mixed to create your own vision in the garden. Popular hues include natural stone whites and grays, reds and browns, as well as blues and greens. These provide a pop of color and contrast next to your groundcover and vegetation, and also give you a bit of interest through the colder, dormant months.
Including your children (or any child) in your gardening endeavors helps build creative skills and confidence. What better way to include them and their ideas than to provide fun stepping stone handprints that they can decorate? These also make excellent gifts to family members and loved ones and are inexpensive and easy to make.
Lay Your Pathway
Lay your own pathway with a little patience and ground prep. Your choices of bricks can be easily incorporated into designs, sitting areas, pathways, or patios to enjoy the entire year-round. You also can lay borders, provide garden bed definition, or anything else you can think up using your choice of brick colors and shapes.
If you truly are looking for something unique, there are a few ways you can a touch of the delicate and old-fashioned to your garden with simple steps. Smooth-surfaced concrete stepping stone is easily transformed with a bit of paint and sealing, whereas your own pours can be pressed to create a lace-like relief on the surface.
Sunny rays and alternating sizes of these concrete stepping stones provide a carefree path through the yard. This design incorporates specific ground cover amongst the stones to provide a differing contrast and color than the surrounding grassy lawn.
Have you ever glanced at the giant leaves of a rhubarb or hosta plant and pondered how to incorporate it into your landscape year round? If you haven’t, you should, as this is extremely easy to do with a bit of well-formed concrete. What this results in is wholly unique and surprising as you may not always know exactly how the cast will turn out!
Never underestimate the power of the pebble. Riverrock is an awesome choice to incorporate into your concrete stone use. This raised rock provides a concrete border and stepping stones with a perfect layout of well-placed contrasting stone. Although creating this would take time, it is certainly a one of a kind pathway.
Walk the path of the ancients by creating your own take on the past. With a bit of concrete, you can press your own ‘fossilized’ versions of the past to create a fun way to bring attention to your walkway. This is a great way to get your kids involved, or even send them on a scavenger hunt for specific fossil finds!
Concrete decorative garden spheres are incredibly easy to create with a little bit of work. It takes almost nothing to cast (or mold) your own and is much less expensive than the ones you might find at a local garden center. Plus, they are a great base from which to work to create even more interesting designs.
Concrete is often used as a great barrier for landscaping purposes. Although it may often be found within more urban areas due to the modernized look it provides, there is no reason to avoid using it in any landscaping design to bring an unexpected interest.
The smooth surfaces and clean edges concrete can create makes it a popular choice for contemporary plantings in suburban areas. They are sturdy, long lasting, and provide excellent cooling and moisture holding properties for the plants you choose to place within them.
These may look like well-placed logs, but due to how well concrete takes a stain and can be formed, this barrier is sturdier than it looks. Stained concrete is actually very popular, and the artist that created these was well aware of how easy a technique this really is.
If you want to take advantage of this idea without having to worry about a specialized concrete form to create this bench side- try stacking up concrete cinder blocks and using sanded and stained posts for the seating area. Not only will you have an inexpensive bench, but a fun, portable one as well.
Pretty Palm Planters
Again, the smooth sides and flat edges of planters are popular picks along roadways, driveways, parking lots, or other busy areas. Not only do they provide a bit of a barrier, but also an easy way to incorporate vegetation into an otherwise plant-free zone.
All it takes is an old towel, a bag of concrete, and a bucket to make this old bag looking planter. Each of these is going to be uniquely and entirely different from one another, and completely interesting. These awesome planters can be made in all sorts of sizes for both indoor and outdoor use.
Tiny Tea Lights
Concrete candle holders are incredibly easy to make with a little ingenuity. These tiny, star-shaped tea light holders make awesome centerpieces and can be customized even further for gifts. Plus, they are an excellent project for children to partake in.
These concrete boots don’t have any negative connotation. Rather, they are the perfectly whimsical planters for your front porch stoop. Old worn out rubber boots make a simple cast for boot top planters of various sizes. Just be sure to place a narrow planter into the tops after pouring the concrete to allow for a place to put your flowers.
The Gift of Giving
These concrete hand plant holders are an amazing way to add the unexpected to your garden. Simple materials and instructions are all it takes to create your very own garden of giving that makes an excellent place to grow shallow-rooted succulents- or even leave a gap between the hands to allow for roots to bury themselves below.
A Bowl of Cheer
Concrete bowls are excellent ways to create shallow concrete planters, unique centerpieces, and even functional decoration in the kitchen or dining room. You most likely already have everything you need to create your own around your house somewhere, and all you need to do it add concrete.
Coming up Mushrooms
Mushrooms are often found in the most unlikely of places and seem to pop up literally overnight. Depending on the variety, you may like having them around, but for the most part should probably be avoided unless you have a good idea about what you are dealing with. Their lifespan may be short and sweet, but these cute capped ‘shrooms are ones you can gaze upon all year round without any worries of what kind they might be.
‘Shrooms Take Two
If bright and colorful isn’t quite what you are looking for, then feast your eyes on these more natural mushroom creations that may have guests looking twice. The use of different shapes and sizes of your molds, plus a bit of the material found in your yard, provide the more natural look you may be looking for.
You can create your own sturdy concrete bench with just a bit of plywood and strong wire paneling. Some patience to set your concrete after you build the form is all you need to have a professional looking bench to set anywhere in your yard to sit and enjoy your landscaping
If you want your own inexpensive concrete box planters, a few cardboard boxes and other miscellaneous materials will help create the containers you need to show off your favorite summertime blooms. This is an easy project to create which allows for a lot of creativity, such adding materials that can be impressed into the side for unique designs and personalization.
A little ingenuity is all it takes to create this cool stool that can be used as a seat, a storage container, or a simple decorative planter in your garden. Although it does take a bit of care to make these, the idea is simple enough and creates a great looking end result.
Any sort of cylindrical cardboard or plastic can hide the many possible sizes to create your own concrete planter or candle holder. A few simple steps, a day or two to cure, a bit of sanding and sealant will produce a pretty cool concrete cylinder that you can do all sorts of stuff with.
These tiny planters can be used for so many different things. You can make a dozen or more with one bag of concrete. Plus, they are incredibly easy to make from basically any simple form. The size is perfect for little hands to decorate and have fun with for a personal touch.
DIY Fire Pit
If you’ve ever thought about making a proper fire pit, you’ve probably already researched the layers of material you should include to making a true breathing pit that is both functional and safe. Luckily, you can save yourself a bit of money if you are feeling handy and don’t mind creating your own concrete frame to build a sturdy, long lasting, solid concrete fire pit.
Now, this is a rather large scale, involved project that actually began as a competition. BUT that doesn’t mean that with a little ingenuity you wouldn’t be able to follow an idea along the same lines to create your own molds and come up with a concrete building block design for your own garden features!
Classic Gaming Frenzy
What do video games and concrete have in common? The fact that an old video game counsel actually creates an awesome mold to place some eclectic gaming designs in your yard! It’s been shown over and over that pretty much anything can become a concrete mold, and this idea ensures just that.
Feeling Like Fall
Leaf castings simply never get old. They are so easy to make if you have access to larger leaves and provide such variance in design that it’s not hard to see why they are such a favorite. These great tips and ideas, help make sure you get the perfect mold each and every time.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hop in the truck and go take a trip to the garden center for concrete and fun shapes I can use as concrete molds. This planter, stepping stone and casting ideas has me all excited to try out a new project (or two or three) and get my kids involved in decorating and designing for seasonal gifting!
We’d love to hear which DIY concrete garden projects you can’t wait to incorporate into your gardens and if you have any questions, leave them below so we can get them answered for you! If you loved this article, please share it and spread the knowledge!