We've started construction on a number of cinder block raised beds for herbs and crops like strawberries and asparagus.
For us, this is a complicated process, because Ben doesn't like loading more than ten or so at a time in the car. I'm going to be looking in to having them delivered en masse to see if that's more affordable. But, for now, whenever we're in town, we stop and load up some blocks to haul home.
This bed is the first I've put together out of the blocks so far. You can see my high class weed barrier there around the bottom. We hope that eventually, we'll have the whole area of the herb beds mulched and have stepping stone walkways.
The plant in the photo is comfrey. I expect that it'll eventually get big enough to fill out the whole bed on it's own. Comfrey is a good first aid herb since it promotes healing, so it's excellent as a poultice. It also is a good plant for fertilizing other plants, as it's leaves break down into a very high nutrient sludge. So letting it rot in a bucket of water results in a good liquid fertilizer.
I think that we'll end up planting something like creeping thyme in the holes of the blocks, so it can hang down and soften the look of the gray bricks a bit. I probably wouldn't bother for my own sake, but I do try to keep the resalability of the place in mind when I'm doing crazy things to the yard. We're definately not moving in the foreseeable future, but neither are we going to live here forever, so I want to be sure there's some generic attractivness possible as I turn the place into a homestead.