10 Reasons You Don’t Need a Green Thumb to Have a Beautiful Garden

Even without the perfect growing conditions or abundant acreage, you can create a wow-worthy landscape. In fact, the surprising secret to success isn't actually green—it's gray. While keeping plants alive and forcing buds can take a lot of guesswork on correct placement, temperatures, sunlight, and water, concrete often offers much more control on the finished products you make for your lawn and garden. Scroll through to see no-fuss DIY planters, lawn decorations, furnishings, and hardscape features that all accentuate your yard's most positive qualities (and even downplay any imperfections) without testing your patience or gardening know-how. Once you see what concrete can accomplish outside your home, you'll want to grab a bag of Quikrete concrete mix and start pouring your own concrete creations.

This content has been brought to you by Quikrete. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

  1. Well-Placed Pavers

    Well-Placed Pavers

    While a lush and perfectly manicured lawn goes far in boosting curb appeal, a line of attractively spaced pavers can raise it even higher. A series of pavers both visually and physically guides visitors and passersby alike through your landscape and protects your carefully tended grass from foot traffic. Even better, a curved paver path like this one takes shape almost effortlessly: Simply pour Quikrete Concrete Mix into a square mold (plastic storage bins and even pizza boxes lined with duct tape work well), and pop the paver out once it has cured. One of the great benefits of this approach to a paver pathway is its ease of maintenance. Because each paver can be replaced individually, you can just lay down a new one if any get cracked or stained over time.


  2. New Heights

    New Heights

    Who said garden pavers are only for walkways? Stacked vertically on a footing of gravel, these concrete blocks can be used to construct everything from cube-shaped planters to garden edging. Here, several sizes of concrete pavers were assembled into deep planters and short retaining walls that add distinction (and height) to the rocky landscape while protecting against soil runoff and erosion. Concrete pavers take shape quickly with a bag of Quikrete Crack-Resistant Concrete Mix, so you can get to work re-creating this striking hardscape in no time.


  3. Fair and Square

    Fair and Square

    Adding a patio of any size creates the perfect place to pull up a chair and appreciate the beauty of your own backyard. (It's also a delightful way to replace any patch of grass that just can't stay green!) Even better, if you follow this detailed tutorial from the concrete pros at Quikrete, you can end up with something akin to an outdoor living room without having to fork over thousands to a landscaper. First, measure and excavate an area for the patio, build a form along the perimeter, pour mixed Quikrete Concrete Mix over a foundation of gravel and sod, smooth the surface, let the concrete cure, then finish it with Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal. If you construct the patio in a location that receives ample sunlight, you can even include a container garden to brighten your new outdoor space. 


  4. Gray Gardens

    Gray Gardens

    A more durable alternative to conventional terra-cotta containers, these industrial-chic concrete planters are easy to make using a bag of Quikrete Concrete Mix and any empty plastic recyclable, from a yogurt container to a butter tub. Mix up the concrete according to the instructions on the bag, and pour it into the container. Push a smaller container into the concrete to shape the inside of the pot, weight it down, and let the concrete cure. When it's dry, remove the smaller container and cut away the outside form. Fill your masonry masterpiece with air plants or succulents, and park it on a table or windowsill—these planters are elegant enough to draw the eye but subtle enough to let home-grown greenery steal the show.


  5. Gnome, Sweet Gnome

    Gnome, Sweet Gnome

    There's no need to grieve when a garden gnome, duck, flamingo, gazing globe, or other prized lawn ornament goes missing. With just one spare ornament, you can create a veritable battalion of gnomes from concrete! So, before you place a new decoration in your garden, make a custom silicone mold of the ornament using Mold Star 30 and this video tutorial. Remove the ornament from the silicone mold once it cures, then pour prepared Quikrete Countertop Mix in its place. Let the concrete cure, pop it free from the mold, and repeat with fresh mix to create as many lawn ornaments as you want, at a bargain price.


  6. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

    Easy as 1, 2, 3!

    If you already have a patio in your yard, you're only three steps away from a ruggedly beautiful addition to your outdoor area: a space-smart concrete creation that merges a patio bench, planter, and garden wall. Start by stacking concrete blocks over the foundation to create one long solid wall, building in openings at the top of either end to serve as planters. Use bricks to build a shorter wall in the front for the bench, and flank it with two shallow walls. Finally, cover the entire structure with Quikwall Surface Bonding Cement infused with Quikrete Stucco & Mortar Color for a pleasant tint. (See how it all comes together in this video!) Fill the openings at either end with plants, top the middle with a cushion, and your backyard oasis awaits!


  7. Flyaway Success

    Flyaway Success

    This whimsical outdoor accent proves that one man's trash can become another man's birdbath. To create this shallow watering hole for feathered friends, you'll need a narrow plastic wastebasket (or a Quik-Tube Building Form) and two large, rounded trashcan lids. Form the pedestal of the birdbath by filling the empty wastebasket to the brim with prepared Quikrete Concrete Mix. Then, pour the remainder into one lid, and press the second lid into the fresh bed of concrete to form a shallow bowl. After the concrete cures, gently tap the molds with a hammer to release both components. Assemble the pieces and fill the basin with water, and prepare to welcome neighborhood songbirds to your peaceful garden.


  8. A Walk Down Memory Lane

    A Walk Down Memory Lane

    Sometimes, all your garden needs to prevent visitors from heedlessly trampling your favorite blooms or shrubs is a little path to guide them. Yet even a small walkway can pack in a lot of personality when you opt for the Quikrete WalkMaker in the Country Stone pattern, which resembles a quaint cobblestone path. This simple yet elegant hardscape form lets you leverage the low cost and durability of concrete to obtain the natural look of a far pricier brick or stone walkway. Just whip up some Quikrete Concrete Mix, position the reusable plastic form, fill the form with concrete, smooth it out, and then lift up the form—no need to wait for the concrete to set. Then, just repeat the process as many times as needed to complete your rustic pathway. Watch the process unfold in this video tutorial.


  9. Bright Idea

    Bright Idea

    Draw attention to your favorite front yard feature at all hours of the day—and improve safety—by installing a sturdy, all-weather, LED-lit lamppost. An adequate foundation is key to the stability of such a tall fixture, and this is where Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix comes into play. The beauty of this product is that it requires zero mixing: Just moisten the concrete with water, then "set and forget." See how little effort it takes to install a feature that's sure to enhance your property.


  10. Splash of Style

    Splash of Style

    Increase the peace and tranquility of your garden with a waterscape you'll positively gush over. This outdoor fountain, which took third place in Quikrete's One-Bag Wonder Contest, is illuminated by LED lights and equipped with a motion setting that produces gentle waves. The crafty DIYer behind this garden feature employed a combination of rustic and modern materials to bring it to life: Wood forms the sturdy base of the fountain, while the cool table-topper (a basin and globe around which water flows) was made using a homemade melamine mold and Quikrete Concrete Mix. The fountain serves as a hazard-free stand-in for a backyard fire pit, but one that sets the patio aglow with warmth and cheer.


  11. Don't Miss!


    With a pinch of effort and almost no upkeep, you can have the lush, beautiful garden of your dreams. The secret is to choose plant varieties that enjoy a little hardship. We’ve compiled the essential list of hardy flora, with tips for care and maintenance. Go now!