From benches to fire pits: 15 Unique ways to use cinder blocks
10/14/2019 / By Zoey Sky / Comments
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From benches to fire pits: 15 Unique ways to use cinder blocks

Preppers value different skills that can help them survive when SHTF, such as carpentry. If you’re a beginner, you can start with simpler DIY projects for your homestead like building flower pots or planters out of cinder blocks. (h/t to

Cinder or concrete blocks are versatile products and are available in different shapes. The blocks are usually secured with steel rebar before mortar is used to bind and seal the gaps in the blocks.

Individually, cinder blocks are light and portable yet they can support large weights, making them a popular construction material. Cinder blocks have hollow centers that can be used to store items or to fit boards in.

Sourcing free cinder blocks

You can purchase cinder blocks at hardware stores, but if you need a lot of blocks for a complicated project, you may have to shell out more money. Fortunately, you can get them for free if you search online classified advertisement websites (e.g., Craigslist).

Another option is to get in touch with other homesteaders with leftover cinder blocks from a construction or demolition project. Offer to haul off these cinder blocks, and they might even sell them to you cheap or let you keep them for free.

Here are 15 unique ways to use cinder blocks for DIY homesteading projects.

1. Firewood rack

This project only requires two cinder blocks and four boards.

First, put the two cinder blocks side by side with the hollow centers facing up, then place a board in each of the four holes. The end product should form a triangle-shaped construction where you can stack firewood.

This firewood rack is an effective way of organizing and keeping firewood dry by keeping it off of the ground.

2. Bench

Use cinder blocks as the base for a unique outdoor bench. Try using sturdy 4 x 4 wooden posts inserted into the cinder block cores to secure the bench. Once the base is done, add wood and cushions to make the bench comfortable.

3. Cinder block steps

Cinder blocks are often used to build steps because they’re affordable to make, easy to build, and practical. Check construction guides online, draw up a plan, and design the steps to give your homestead a unique look.

4. Rocket stove

When SHTF, you can use cinder blocks to make a DIY outdoor stove on your backyard.


  • 3 concrete blocks
  • 1 H-shaped block or 2 8-inch by 16-inch pavers
  • 1 brick
  • 8-inch by 16-inch pavers (optional and as needed for a base)
  • A grill or old burner
  • Concrete pavers in the ground


  1. If you don’t have a flat cement surface to build a rocket stove on, use several pavers as a base for the concrete blocks.
  2. Place one concrete block horizontally, then another one vertically in front of it. Alternatively, you can put the horizontal block rotated in the other direction with the holes going from side to side to get a deeper fire box.
  3. Place the H-block on top of the horizontal concrete block. If you can’t find one, use two pavers and a brick.
  4. Put the last concrete block on top of the H-block. After lighting the rocket stove, place your grill, grate, or old burner on top of the stove then start cooking.

5. Grill

With cinder blocks, you can upgrade a stove to a grill with metal grating and space underneath the structure to build a fire.

6. Fire pit

Use cinder blocks to design your fire pit for a fraction of the cost. Check guides and how-to videos online, or create your own.

7. Smoker

Store-bought smokers are rather very expensive, but you can make DIY smoker using cinder blocks and basic building materials. The video tutorial below shows how to do this with 24 cinder blocks, a 1/4-inch steel plate, and rebar.

8. Decorative fence

Stack cinder blocks to create simple fence posts for decorative fences. Stack the blocks with the cores facing outward, then place 4 x 4s in the slots.

9. Root cellar shelves

Add cinder block shelves in your root cellar to organize your food supplies and maximize storage space. Stack cinder blocks on top of each other to form support columns for the shelving and use wooden boards for the actual shelves. You can use steel rebar and mortar to secure the blocks.

10. Flower pots

Get a cinder block then cover one end of the block with wire mesh and landscape fabric. Secure the mesh and fabric to prevent the soil from spilling out of the block.

Fill the cores with topsoil, then add a plant to make a DIY flower pot. You can even design a cinder block flower pot wall by stacking blocks on one side of your garden.

11. Planters

This is an upgrade of the cinder block flower pots. Decorate your front or back porch with planters full of decorative plants or succulents.

12. Raised garden bed

Certain plants thrive in raised garden beds, which you can set up using cinder blocks. Use the right soil and enough cinder blocks to build a raised bed garden in your homestead.

13. Garden border

Put up a border of cinder blocks one block high around your garden to keep out small creatures like rabbits from your crops. (Related: A how-to guide for building an off-grid well on your homestead.)

14. Compost heap storage

Stack cinder blocks into a square-shaped container bound with mortar to build a DIY storage area for your compost heap.

15. Storage shed

This final cinder block project is the most ambitious one, but if you plan and design the project well, you’ll have a durable storage shed.

Keep your hands busy by purchasing cinder blocks and try some of these DIY projects for your homestead.

Sources include:

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