Define a backyard space and add visual depth by constructing a raised planter bed in front of a back fence or boundary wall. Easy to maintain, raised beds are useful in gardens with poor soil or drainage.
This planter was built using three courses of Versawall split-faced concrete blocks and topped with matching capstones, from Adbri Masonry.
Building with these interlocking blocks is far simpler and quicker than using regular bricks, as there is no need for mortar to bind the layers.
The blocks are laid on a 100mm footing of compacted roadbase with a 30mm thick dry bed of sand and cement spread over it.
Blocks are positioned on the laying bed to a set stringline for precise alignment, just as in bricklaying.
Corner blocks allow for perfectly square angles and flush capping means the wall can double as a garden seat.
Cut blocks to fit as needed and mitre the corners of the capping using a wet bricksaw, available from equipment hire shops for about $110 a day.
Plant the bed
Fill the planter bed with quality soil mix as you build each layer.
Once construction is complete, choose a range of suitable plants, bearing in mind the amount of sun and shade the area receives.
Place your selection of plants on the soil and adjust their location until you’re happy with the arrangement.
Remove the plants from their pots and give them a new home in the garden bed, backfilling with soil then watering in well.
These hollow 400 x 200 x 215mm blocks stack together for easy DIY construction of retaining walls, garden steps and planter beds.
Versawall blocks can be built to a maximum unreinforced height of 800mm. They are available in three colours and fit together with tongue-and-groove joints.
As the wall is built, fill the hollow cores with gravel or recycled crushed concrete to add weight, strength and stability. Backfilling behind the wall with gravel to a width of about 200mm will add further support and increase solidity.
TIP Seek council approval and professional advice if you wish to build any higher than 800mm.
Set up a stringline with timber pegs in each corner to lay out the planter bed, then remove turf from the area. Dig a trench 300mm deep to allow for 100mm of roadbase plus 30mm of sand and cement mix while also ensuring the blocks are half buried
Spread 100mm of roadbase along the base of the trench using a square nose shovel. Tamp it down with a plate compactor at least twice or until the roadbase feels solid underfoot. TIP Plate compactors can be hired for about $65 a day.
Prepare a dry mix of six parts sand to one part cement then spread this over the roadbase. Spread the mix 30mm deep and level with a screed. Use a spirit level to check the mix is perfectly flat and level, front to back and left to right.
Position the first block at a corner on top of the screeded mix, using the stringline as a guide. Continue laying blocks until the first course is finished then fill the hollow cores with gravel and backfill behind the blocks to a width of at least 200mm.
Continue laying blocks on top of the course below, locking the end of each block into the end of the next. Start at a corner and maintain a brick bond pattern, filling the hollow cores with gravel and backfilling behind each course as it’s laid.
Apply construction adhesive to the underside of the capping and along the top course of the blocks. Add the capping and push down firmly to bed it. At the corners, measure and mark mitres on two capping pieces then cut with a wet bricksaw.