Inglewood Craftsman Home

Restoring our 1906 home in Inglewood CA on a budget

Backyard Photoshop: Trying out colors on a cinderblock wall

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blue black   olive redThis lovely cinderblock wall makes up a good portion of the divide between our property and our neighbors’. It isn’t the best workmanship we’ve seen, as the builder of the wall didn’t bother to smooth out the mortar on the parts that go onto our property.

For a while, we were discussing having something grow on the wall or covering it with some sort of nice finish. The problem with those types of solutions is the ownership of the wall- our neighbors paid to have it installed, and I believe it sits on their side of the property line, so it belongs to them. If they ever decided to raze the wall, our beautiful finish would go down with it. In a perfect world (where finances weren’t a concern), I’d cover the wall with a stone facing or veneer.

I’m also brainstorming longer-term and more elegant fixes here on my Pinterest board. However, in the meantime, we decided that even just painting the wall would make a huge difference. Originally, the landscape designer we consulted with, Melanie, suggested a brightly colored wall to add some visual interest. However, after seeing how uneven the mortar joints were in many places, we decided to try some more natural colors.

In order to find the color that would work best, I decided to try some mock-ups in Photoshop. Since masonry is normally quite porous, I made the layers of color somewhat translucent by lowering the opacity. After all these tests (including a few brighter colors), I decided to go with the brown.

First, I looked into staining the blocks, which is a beautiful effect but looks somewhat pricey. This tutorial made me think that spray paint would work, so I bought two colors to mix with each other for an even more stone-like look. After doing a mock-up on an extra cinderblock, I had lots of hope, but on the wall itself, it clearly looked like it was done with spray paint. Bummer. I used up the two cans, in some spots adding even more layers, but nothing good came of it.

Next up is using regular exterior paint, since we happen to have some reddish brown already made (it wasn’t quite right, so it’s unused) from the back door project. I’d prefer masonry paint, but we’ll start with the exterior paint and when we need to replenish use masonry paint. I’d considered using block filler primer to save paint, but it turns out block filler is just as expensive as paint. Oh well. And the reddish brown isn’t exactly the shade I’d used in the Photoshop mockups, but I actually think it will look better, since it will bring in some of the color of the house (that lovely pink I’m anxious to change sometime soon).

Can’t wait to see how this cinderblock wall ends up looking in real life!brownbrown2


Author: Morgan | Culture | Meredith

Morgan Meredith writes about mental health, travel, and tech, based on her own experiences. Morgan left her job at a tech startup in 2017 to travel the world, and hasn’t stopped! She’s passionate about making travel as accessible for people with mental health challenges as it is for those who are nerotypical. She is also an outspoken advocate for destigmatizing mental health. Morgan received an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BFA and BA at Bradley University. Hire Morgan for your project or speaking engagement at

One thought on “Backyard Photoshop: Trying out colors on a cinderblock wall

  1. Pingback: Cinderblock Wall Paint: Complete! | Inglewood Craftsman Home

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