Reader Redesign: Best On The Block

When Christy sent her amazing curb appeal makeover our way we couldn’t wait to share the eye candy. Here’s her letter:

First, love the bathroom stripes! I was amping up to stripe my laundry nook and I am even more excited about it now! But the reason I’m writing is to share our new and improved retaining wall in our front yard. When Erik and I moved into our townhouse our property line on the unattached side was marked with a DISGUSTING retaining wall. It was raw cinder block, 2 rows too short and just plain u-g-l-y. Of course our builder said he would complete it with stucco to match the foundation but I, thank goodness, didn’t hold my breath because as he ran from finishing our development, our retaining wall hopes ran with him. Needless to say, we had to pick up his pieces and finish it on our own. So our plan was this: 1. Add more rows of block to raise the wall. 2. Finish the exterior of the wall with paint. 3. Add a decorative planter box to cover the top of the stone. 4. Do it all affordably!!! We just finished it the other day and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s our price breakdown: cinder blocks: free (found them), mortar mix: $5, paint: $15 (Walmart baby), wood: $30, potting mix: $16, five begonias: $25… GRAND TOTAL: $91! We hope you guys like it! – Christy (& Erik)

Here’s the icky before:

And the lush and lovely after:

Isn’t this a great example of using your wits and not your wallet to transform something less than appealing into a functional feature that actually contributes to curb appeal? We love the planter box they built right on the top of the retailing wall. And of course prepping and painting those cinderbloks definitely took them from raw and wrong to oh so right (on a major budget). Thanks so much for sending the delicious before and after photos our way Erik and Christy (check out their blog here)! The neighbors must be green with envy.


  1. Laura in LA says

    Ooh, great job! I love how well it matches your home!

    Hey Sherry, do I remember seeing something about you being in an upcoming HGTV show? Maybe Bang For Your Buck?

    • says

      Hey Laura,

      Maybe our Rate My Space episode is repeating? Other than that we don’t know of any upcoming HGTV appearances. Yet…

      Hope it helps. Glad you’re loving Christy and Erik’s awesome curb appeal quick-change.


    • says

      Hey Laura in LA,

      We figured out the HGTV rumor! We actually retweeted that Baltimore Rowhouse will be on Bang For Your Buck tonight at 9:30, so people thought we were talking about ourselves! Hope that clears it up. We’ll definitely be tuning in to check them out!


  2. says

    I’m in LOOOOVE with the paint colors Christy used on her house!!! If you hear from her, can you ask for the exterior color, trim color and stain color? And maybe a source on the wooden blinds??

    • says

      Hey guys,

      So glad you’re loving Christy and Erik’s awesome retaining wall makeover! We’ve emailed her to let her know that her Reader Redesign is up, so here’s hoping she stops in to answer your questions soon.


  3. Wehaf says

    That looks great! I wonder how much soil they removed to paint the wall, and then put back, so if the soil level shifts you won’t see the paintline. That would be my big concern!

  4. says

    Hey everyone! Wow I’m so excited that you dig our re-do. I hope I can answer some questions here but please feel free to visit me at to see more of my home and all the projects in it.

    Our stain color is Behr’s Semi-transparent Oxford Brown. The planter box was really easy, my husband used 2- 2x10x16″ boards for the sides and 1-2x8x16 for the base of the planter, then he just finished the ends with scraps from the sides. It straddles the top of the cinder block and the weight of the potting soil holds it down. As far as our house colors go, we didn’t pick them out so I have no clue what they are, sorry!

    Thanks again for all the nice comments!

    • says

      Thanks for dropping by with that info Christy! And so sorry that the link to your blog somehow dropped out of the post, but it’s back in there now and we hope to send lots of people your way (to check out your lovely house and blog).


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