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Cinderblock, improved

Black wall behind fringe-myrtle

Every little job adds up to create an improved whole, but this particular fix went a long way to burnish curb appeal: refreshing the crummy cinderblock wall at the front of our property. It only took two afternoons and a tin of paint but the result is loads better, almost modern even.

White cinderblock wall, before

The wall looked like this beforehand and let’s be real, it was an eyesore. Low block walls like this are common on our street; most people have hedges growing above them. (That’s my eventual goal, as well.) But the paint was flaking off and some of the mortared joins had worn away, leaving large cracks. It was not flattering.

(Just so we’re clear: I’ve heard them variously described as concrete blocks, besser blocks, and breeze blocks. “Cinderblocks” is what I’m going with.)

White wall, before

To prepare for a fresh paint job, Jamie sprayed it down with a pressure washer. I knew it’d take off the dirt, but I hadn’t expected large chips of paint of come along with it. Jamie’s legs were covered in grime and paint flecks. It was pretty gross, and it definitely underscored the need for new paint.

After the wall dried, I filled in the cracks with a flexible gap filler meant for masonry, shown here un-filled. It’s paintable, but more flexible than mortar, so here’s hoping it lasts a while.

We applied a coat of water-based primer (Zinsser 123) and two topcoats, using Taubmans exterior paint in Colorbond Monument. Two afternoons later, and we had our finished wall.

Painted wall (+Mishka)
Cinderblock improved!

This was the result! The dark grey helps disguise the cracks and overall cinderblock profile. Good.

I couldn’t bring myself to go for pure black, so, charcoal grey it is. The answer to all colour dilemmas. Imagine it with navy weatherboards and white trim in the background, it’ll be awesome.

Block wall and natives

These beds out front are looking great, if you don’t mind me saying so. Got our paver edging done and now this. Those ‘Limelight’ acacias by the steps are LIME GREEN.

(In this photo, from furthest to nearest, you’re looking at an Aulax cancellata, two ‘Dark Delight’ flax, a baby woolly-bush, a ‘Fireworks’ grevillea and a Melaleuca gibbosa. That’s a bottlebrush above, with a few red brushes beginning to pop.)

Cinderblock wall - before

Painted fence

Gratuitous before and after shots, just because they’re so satisfying. You can also see our bottlebrush bed in progress! More on that later.

Melaleuca gibbosa budsfringe myrtle 1

These guys also look extra photogenic against the dark cinderblock wall. The melaleuca is thisclose to blooming, if those pink raisin clusters are any indication, and my fringe-myrtle (Calytrix tetragona) is covered in tiny starry flowers. It’s such a pretty shrub at this time of year, and as far as natives go I couldn’t ask for anything more low-maintenance. More of that, please.

Cinderblock, improved | Saltbush Avenue

To our great surprise, the new paint job changed our minds about wanting to smash out the block wall posthaste. It’s not the most stylish thing, but it doesn’t look decrepit and sad anymore, which makes all the difference. CURB APPEAL, Y’ALL.

PS: I know it’s spelled ‘kerb’ not ‘curb’ here, sorry not sorry.

12 thoughts on “Cinderblock, improved”

    1. Thanks Vanessa! I use Australian spelling on my blog for professional reasons/most-people-reading-are-not-American reasons, which can feel like a no-win situation sometimes. “Kerb” looks so ugly to me though!!

  1. I just looove the Calytrix, such spectacularly pretty flower! Your repainted cinderblock wall looks great – perfect colour choice to highlight the plants. Also, your kangaroo paws are still going great guns by the looks of things. I love that deep red colour and the monument wall really makes them shine now. Looking forward to seeing the front part of your house painted.

    1. I just looked up Calytrix that are native to WA and once again I’m jealous of WA flora. (Purple, yellow, and pink calytrix! Eeeep!) And I’m still surprised that the kangaroo paws have done so well! I’m counting on 2-3 years out of these little guys, max, but WOW were they ever value for money. Next time I might plant all-pink kangaroo paws. 🙂

    1. Hi Loree, thanks so much for stopping by! I just planted two smaller Callistemons next to the photo-bomber that will grow to a similar size (and provide screening), but they have pale pink and maroon flowers to contrast with the red. My yard is no Danger Garden but I love watching plants grow and provide colour 🙂

    1. Thanks Jo! Looking forward to seeing how that goes. I need more dark paint (and more large plants) to block out some of the neighbouring structures…

  2. Hi Steph,
    I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog! having a reading session now (while the kids watch Pingu 🙂 I’m also renovating, so it’s nice to connect with someone who’s also going through the woes of renovating. I love the idea of your house tour – gets people up to speed with where you’re at and still working on – I might have to borrow this idea. 🙂 I’ve found it hard to organise my reno progress stuff into a cohesive story, so thanks for your help on this.
    I think the charcoal was a perfect colour! it really contrasts with green making the plants stand out 🙂

    1. Hi Melinda, it’s nice to meet you! 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing more from your blog! My ‘house tour’ page really needs an update, as well as further organisation for sub-categories. Basically I need to work on framing my blog as a resource that people can get something out of. 😉 Again, I’m keen to see to see how your renos go, I’ve wanted to use that white geo Academy Tile in our bathroom for ages.

  3. The wall looks great! I like the gray color, nice backdrop for the flowers and I think it goes well with the current trim color on the windows. It’ll still look good when you finish painting the front of the house.

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