The house we live in has a cement patio. It is surrounded by some patchy, decorative grass in some places and erosion in other places. I really wanted to fix it up a bit without spending too much money and time.
I saw a link to a container garden made of cement blocks a while back and thought it might help. I've had good luck so far growing things in raised a raised garden bed at this house, so I decided to edge the patio on two sides with cement blocks and eventually plant some native grasses and other plants that enjoy shade. I really like Bristle Leaf Sedge - looks like a porcupine.
It takes 9 cement blocks to line one edge of the patio. At $1.39 each, that was 18 containers for $12.51 +tax. Not bad.
The first step is to weather them. Cement blocks are pretty conspicuous on their own, but with a technique from P. Allen Smith's website, they are starting to look a little better. I used a color called Sandwashed Driftwood. Basically, it is the color of mud.
Part II: Lining them up and filling them with dirt.