Palm Springs Style Breeze Block Wall
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Breeze blocks are not weight-bearing, and are not meant for structural walls. We are not professional masons, and are not experts in building walls. If you build a breeze block wall, your exact structure, process, and materials will depend on your unique situation. If in doubt, contact a professional.
We replaced a wood fence that was in rough shape with breeze blocks and we are so excited. I unfortunately didn’t get any good pictures of the fence, but just image an old wood fence and you’re probably pretty close.
I love the Palm Springs-esque blocks and gradients of bright color, so we painted the insides ranging from a punchy pink to a sunny yellow.
Breeze blocks were popular in the 1950s and 1960s in Midcentury architecture ranging from everyday suburban houses (like our rambler!) to more modern houses and commercial buildings. We took our inspiration from the many Palm Springs houses sporting these blocks:
Getting the Blocks
We had a hard time tracking down a place that sells breeze blocks near us. They seem to be everywhere in California and Florida, but it was a challenge finding them in Ohio. We ended up calling a local place (Snyder Brick and Block) and they had the flower shape, so we quickly ordered a pallet.
Where to find breeze blocks
Retro Renovation keeps an updated list of where to find breeze blocks , sorted by state. This is a great place to start to see if there are any sellers near you.
Lowes and Home Depot both have them listed on their sites. In my area they have been listed as unavailable every time I have checked, even during summer landscaping season. They may only be available in certain areas, or may be discontinued.
Online retailers, like Tesselle. These look like good quality (very smooth cement surface) from the pictures, but they are significantly more expensive than other sources.
Check local concrete fabricators, and it is worth a call even if you don’t see breeze blocks on their site. The first place I called had them, which was either good luck or they are more commonly stocked than I thought! They also go by other names, like screen blocks or decorative blocks.
We used mortar to make a level base for the blocks since our concrete has a bit of a slope. We then set up a wood and string guide and assembled the wall with the strongest Loctite masonry adhesive we could find. It feels sturdy in our non-professional opinion, but for this height mortar would likely be strongest. Definitely consult a pro for your exact situation.
We forgot to add drainage and had to drill into the mortar after the fact to ensure water wouldn’t pool around the base.
We painted the inside of the blocks with Valspar Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint in flat finish (see below for colors), not worrying too much about getting paint on the front, since we rolled over that later. This destroyed about 10 paintbrushes and took a ton of time. I think a paint sprayer would have helped speed this up, but I am not sure if this texture and type of paint works well in a sprayer. I will definitely look into that if we do something like this again, because the painting was very tedious.
We’re loving this wall and plan to do something similar on the side of our house to hide our trashcans and air conditioner (update: we did it!)
Valspar Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint, in flat finish
We used about 1 gallon of each color
– White exterior: Night Light 7002-19
– Top row: Pumpkin Butter 2007-1B
– Second row: Tangerine 2004-1B
– Third row: Coral Passion 2001-1B
– Bottom row: Passion Pink 1006-1B
Cheap paintbrushes (or maybe a paint sprayer!)