Cinder Block Design-Off

Cinder Block Design-Off - SuzelleDIY vs Justina Blakeney

SuzelleDIY Versus Justina Blakeney: a DIY Face-off

A couple of months ago Justina Blakeney uploaded another one of her interesting DIY tutorials that forms part of the Eye on Design series hosted by the popular POPSUGAR Home channel.

While watching the Justina’s video I recalled that SuzelleDIY did a similar DIY last year. In fact, this particular DIY is Suzelle’s most watched video with over two million views. Both videos centre around cement cinder blocks and how you can use them to create quirky outdoor features that will spruce up your garden.

So let’s have a little DIY face-off shall we! Here are both Suzelle and Justina’s cinder block DIYs – you tell me which you prefer….

How to Make a Cinder Block Bench:

Suzelle used her cinder blocks to create an outdoor planter bench. She had the right idea by inviting Marianne to help the bench take shape as those big cement bricks can be quite heavy.

Suzelle taped off sections of each cement brick and applied colourful spray paint to the exposed sections.

Alternating the direction in which the blocks are stacked, Suzelle managed to create not only seating space with flower planters above but also handy little cubby holes to store gardening tools.

It is a good idea to use cement glue to fix the blocks together as Suzelle suggested. The last thing you want is your bench falling apart while someone is sitting on it. #safetyfirst

Lastly, Suzelle planted some happy flowers in the cinder block holes and added seat cushions and quirky scatters to her bench to jazz it up.

How to Make a 80s-Inspired Outdoor Planter:

In Justina’s DIY clip, which took inspiration from the style of the 80s, she creates a stacked cinder block planter.

Like Suzelle, Justina also opted to paint part of her cinder blocks in bright and bold colours. Both ladies chose a triangle shaped design which allows the rough cement texture and colourful paint to form a nice contrasting effect.

It looks like Justina did a proper job. She used three coats of outdoor paint on her bricks which is far brighter and more durable than Suzelle’s quick spray paint job.

Justina also took the time to create wire mesh “baskets” to insert into her cinder block that will ensure that the plants have sufficient support and drainage. However, the process of cutting the wire mesh to size sure seemed tedious and unnecessarily laborious. Can you imagine repeating that process half a dozen times?

What appeals to me about both Suzelle and Justina’s creations is that something as uninspiring as a heap of cinder blocks can be transformed, with minimal effort and money, into a quirky and happy garden feature.

Like Suzelle said: “D.I.Y? Because anybody can make outdoor furniture out with regular ugly (and disgusting) cinder blocks…”

Which is your favourite Cinder Block project? Who wins the DIY challenge, Suzelle or Justina?

Interior Greenery

By Marica

I while back I stumbled across a little decorating mantra that suggest you put something “living” in each room of your home – be that a vase of flowers, plant, or goldfish. I can understand this sentiment as plants do give an increased sense of well-being – probably their air-filtering, oxygen-emitting qualities!

I don’t know if you can recall but a decade or so ago somebody decided that interior plants are less than desirable. Why I do not know – maybe the greenery clashed with the chosen colour scheme, or the organic plants did not sit well with the harsh minimalist contemporary interiors that was so trendy at the time… Well, I just think that’s absolute poppycock!

The sad part is – I had not even notice this absence of  house plants until Rose mentioned it last week whilst we were discussing the current lovely hanging planter trend. Luckily, a couple of years ago, some nature-loving, green-fingered plant enthusiasts (like Rose and myself) insured the reintroduction of plants in the interior space. Seems it only takes a few individuals to fan the flames of a trend we were subconsciously craving for. Now? – plants everywhere – and I’m loving it!

What I most appreciate about this pot-plant revival is the unusual and interesting ways you can incorporate greenery into your home. The variety of indoor planters today is remarkable. They come in all shapes, sizes and styles – anything from recycled tins to beautifully painted ceramic pots.

Look up… no really, look up – the least used space in your home will inevitably be the ceiling. Wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted planters are both great quirky ways to add plant life into your home without having to sacrifice floor space – a rare commodity in today’s urban environment.

Need something low maintenance? Why not cultivate a terrarium or two – it looks amazing and if you select the correct plant and vessel it will pretty much take care of itself!

And then my absolute favourite, however very unconventional… using furniture to house you beloved plants! An old dresser with a plant sticking out of every other drawer, a glass-fronted armoire that serves as a mini greenhouse, or a rickety chair with orchids where the seat used to be – it’s ideas like these that really excites me! It is a guaranteed conversation starter.

{So, what do you think of this awesome and unusual planter revolution? Do you have plants in your space?}

Plants & Planters ǀ The Design Tabloid (9)

I simply adore how Grace Light of Poetic Home repurposed this vintage library card catalogue into botanical cabinet filled with a dozen of air plants!


Plants & Planters ǀ The Design Tabloid (8)

This stunning geodesic terrarium with its  triangular glass panes used to be an antique chandelier – lovingly transformed by Restoration Hardware.


Plants & Planters ǀ The Design Tabloid (6)

Glass bell jars can make for excellent terrariums! Don’t you just love this interesting vignette created when using glass vases of different shapes and sizes as planters?! Image: Better Homes and Gardens