First of all, living in apartments for the last 5 years left us somewhat clueless of the awesome-ness that is Home Depot. I mean, you can buy cinder blocks for only $1.39...who knew?! So, I have become a junkie.
After perusing Pinterest on outdoor projects, I kept seeing all kinds of different cinder block ideas. You can see some of the one's that inspired me here. We decided we wanted to do a bar, so I read up for a few weeks on different ways to do it and decided on a wide bar that was tall enough for stools. Our back yard is long and rectangular so we decided on a L shape to take advantage of space and to be able to seat people on both sides.
This bar can seat about 8 people comfortably - 10-12 if we had to and we can easily add on later if needed!
- Looked at the yard to figure out where the holes were - we did this through the whole process. Used a shovel borrowed from Justin Siler - thanks, man!
- Started with the wall by the fence - two rows, long ways, holes facing up of 5 cinder blocks each. We used a tape measure and a board to level and line up the next wall.
- Set blocks and used adhesive between all blocks and alternated side wall (in middle) every other set of two.
- Placed one board at a time and used a finger to measure the spacing between. The width of my pinky finger was the guide. We aren't too picky.
- Once everything was placed we gooped up the cracks/crannies.
That is all - it was actually a really easy project...but there were a few things we learned along the way...
- Look at the ground first...our yard was way more lopsided than we anticipated. We have to shovel some and there's still a slight angle to one wall that only I can probably see but drives me nuts. So, level your ground first if you can.
- 6 blocks high is WAY to tall...at least for short people like me. We ended up going with 5 high because it fit better with bar stools and wasn't up to my nose.
- Cinder blocks are bigger and heavier than you realize. Measure them and do your math right - we did this part really well, even though we sounded like 8th graders doing equations on the lumber aisle. Wear gloves.
- We went with a 5' x 6.5' bar. We started out wanting to do 5'x7' but the lumber worked out a different way and we compromised on the long side by half a foot to save wood and some money.
- Mark your wood for Home Depot to cut for you - they cut precisely when you draw the line on the board for them. We did this great. We measured 44" for the short side and the remainder of the board was the long side. Everything came out all even! YAY!
- Check the wood for warping. Two of our boards were warped which created a tricky fix with extra concrete adhesive and come 4:00pm after you've been working all day this can make for crankiness.
- Don't just use the adhesive on the bottoms and tops - seal the middle wall for extra stability. We alternated every few blocks for the middle wall but used seal between each block (top and bottom). Once they are stuck...they are stuck so stack first to check levels, and that your wall doesn't lean. Go slow.
- On Wood Staining: Do this first. We stained the wood first and should have marked top vs bottom to make it easier to tell but we put an extra coat on the top for extra protection and color. The wood turned out BEAUTIFUL! We ate lunch while this was drying which worked out perfect.
- If you see a gap - glob some of the QuickCrete in there.
- Be nice to each other and say thank you. The blocks get heavy and it does take some precision so be patient with each other. We had fun and did disagree a few times but the whole project was a great one to do with Jordan. He thought of stuff I never had thought about!
- Don't be a perfectionist - it's a DIY project so give yourself some grace on the weird things that happen during the project.
- Finally, Dawn dish soap is the only thing that got the goop off our hands from the adhesive...don't use only cold water because it just makes the adhesive harder to wipe off your hands.