ISSUE 38  |  Fall Forecast

10 Genius Garden Hacks with Poured Concrete

October 26, 2016 4:00 AM

BY Alexa Hotz

An encore to the usefulness of concrete in the garden! (Our previous post on the subject focused on genius ideas for Hardscaping 101: Poured-in-Place Concrete.) Today’s installment looks at custom concrete hacks, from weekend DIYs to landscape architects’ own designs.

These one-of-a-kind projects have been formed, poured, and finished to fit a particular garden’s specs. And we hope our list of 10 genius poured-concrete hacks will provide inspiration for your own garden:

Water Feature


Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista. At landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck’s home in Austin, Texas, a simple trough cast in board formed concrete allows water to spill over the sides, into an aluminum grate hidden beneath pea gravel, to be recycled. For more of this garden, see our book, Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces.

Squared Off


Above: A concrete Buckshot Firepit is available in five sizes and four finishes at prices from $2,450 to $3,495 depending on size and finish from Concrete Wave.

Custom Stairwell


Above: Planters and a stairway to the basement are built of concrete layers by Scott Lewis, as seen in Landscape Architect Visit: Scott Lewis Turns A Small SF Backyard Into an Urban Oasis.

Perfect Proportions


Above: Poured-in-place concrete creates built-in seating in a California garden. Photograph by Michele Lee Willson courtesy of Arterra Landscape Architects.

Luxe Look on a Budget


Above: Dalilah shows the steps of making your own concrete planter in our post DIY on a Budget: $30 Mini Concrete Planters.

Optical Illusion


Above: The illusion of tile is created with a grid of concrete pavers edged with an existing poured-concrete path in a Brooklyn garden by Ishka Designs. See more in Before & After: A Modern Brooklyn Backyard on a Budget. Photograph by Niya Bascom Photography.

Made to Order


Above: Photograph by Joe Fletcher courtesy of Fougeron Architecture.

A poured-concrete retaining wall and built-in bench border a terrace in Big Sur, California. See more in Architect Visit: The Medieval Mist and Mystery of Big Sur.


Above: Photograph by Jennifer Roper courtesy of Naomi Sanders. for more, see Before & After: A Grande Dame in LA’s Hancock Park.

In LA’s Hancock Park neighborhood, garden designer Naomi Sanders matched the color of an existing concrete stoop with cast concrete pavers to make the hardscape feel more connected to the house.

Tailor Made


Above: Built from pre-poured concrete pavers, a DIY Concrete Planter also could be adapted to any dimension if you pour custom slabs yourself. See the paver planter project on Home Depot.

Steep Learning Curve


Above:  Photograph by Nancy Neil. For more of this garden, see Landscape Designer Visit: Malibu Makeover by Matthew Brown.

Performing triage on a Malibu property after designer Lauren Soloff gave the interiors a tasteful update, Matthew Brown created a garden with a poured concrete staircase to open up an existing retaining wall, and covered the wall with painted stucco.

For more on concrete, see our posts:

N.B.: This is an update of a post published on September 22, 2015.