Masonry blocks have never been so popular for backyard builds thanks to their bold look, structural heft and useful versatility.
Certain building materials have always been at the heart of one construction trend or another, whether bricks, timber or tiles. But masonry blocks? Not so much. At least, not until now.
Thick, outsized and formed from concrete, masonry blocks (also known as cinder blocks) have traditionally been valued for their structural durability, fire resistance and relatively low cost, and have most often been used in large-scale builds.
But thanks to their ease of use and bold, raw aesthetic, these building blocks have become a go-to material for a range of garden projects in recent years, from solid partition walls to striking water features.
Austral Masonry offers blocks in a variety of sizes, styles and finishes, organised across the GB Masonry, Architec, Solitary and Australite ranges. These include polished, smooth and textured blocks in colours such as Pebble, Porcelain and Limestone, which are perfect for exterior walls, flower beds, outdoor seating and more.
Breeze blocks, also available in a host of hues, designs and sizes, have likewise become a popular choice for creating planters, garden borders and walls.
Here, three outdoor features built using masonry blocks that will take your garden to the next level.
A simple and effective way of creating stepped sections of lawn, retaining walls add depth and height to an outdoor space while subtly dividing the garden into distinct areas.
If you have the capacity to create a terraced lawn in your garden, try using the GB Sandstone Rock Face range for a series of retaining walls that will offer a lively, almost stately look. These blocks are low maintenance and weather- and termite-resistant, meaning they’ll remain in place – and in good shape – for years.
Relatively simple to design and build no matter the size or shape of your outdoor plot, a fire pit will provide an interesting and attractive focal point that will stand the test of time. Masonry blocks are the perfect material for the build, being fire resistant and basic to lay.
For a quick, custom fire pit, simply measure out the space you want to use for the build, then dig a shallow pit and layer it with base sand. To finish, lay your masonry blocks horizontally into a circular structure around the outside of the pit, about three blocks high.
Raised garden bed
As with retaining walls, raised garden beds add a degree of visual depth to an outdoor space while providing a defined area for establishing plants, flowers or vegetables.
Masonry blocks are a good choice for use in larger yards, where, for instance, timber-fronted beds can get a little lost among the greenery. Instead, they guarantee a strong contrasting look between the sturdy, utilitarian aspect of the blocks and the organic nature of the soil beds.
One of the main advantages of using concrete blocks for a project like this is how versatile they are, whether you’re looking to build a garden bed two or three layers high in a corner of your yard, or a shallow bed with a single layer of blocks directly onto the grass.