Our entryway "garden" got some attention last year with the bicycle planter. This year I really wanted to redo the entire thing, so I dug out all of the lava rock mulch that was black and looking ratty.
We pass by this spot at least twice a day, every day of the year and it seemed to me that we could make it more inviting and interesting. The house faces south so we get blasted with 90-100 degree heat and full sun. We also plan to repaint the house a warmer brown-grey. The current color is what I refer to as gross light greenish grey. So with a warmer background, I thought some cooler colors would serve us well. In came pinterest- just look up "cinder block planter" or "concrete block planter". I know it's a bit of a fad, but it isn't permanent, but at least a few years should be nice as I regularly like to make changes. I don't think anyone has ever heard me say " that's perfect, I'm never going to change that".
This is a better overview of the whole thing:
Fortunately there was a good three inches of sand beneath. So I screened out the rocks and leveled the sand.
Our little evergreen is twice as big as last year.I left the run of the mill orange day lilies because I can't afford to replace everything all at once and they sure perform well in that spot. The little clump closer to the door is a Kniphofia or red hot poker plant. This area gets no water at all in the summer, so I need drought tolerant plants that I can hit with the hose one a week if needed.
Today I played around with the blocks and pavers, they were out of the standard 8x8x16 blocks at the home store and I knew I'd want some half ones so I bought these. I'll go back when they are re-stocked. Next, imagine the spaces between the pavers and blocks filled with Mexican beach pebbles.
The "planter" will be about three courses high at the top or higher if I build it two blocks deep instead of one. So there is at least one more trip to the home store and one to the rock quarry.