October 21, 2016

Lighting up Your Patio

Upon completing your new outdoor living space, who wants to limit the time frame of when you can use it?  Why not add lighting and bring another element for your project?

Lighting can be a simple idea, but you can add many features to your backyard such as:
  • LED Lighting for long lasting and to save $$$
  • Timers help to keep the lights on only for a select period of time that can be easily adjusted
  • Low voltage lighting is safe to use outdoors
  • Illuminate a space to enjoy more of the summer
  • Social environment that makes your backyard the center of the neighborhood

By adding lights to your outdoor space, you can now sit back, enjoy a nice cold beverage and relax during the warm summer nights!

October 14, 2016

Geogrid is so Easy, Why Not Use it?

Segmental Retaining Walls (SRW) are very popular for residential, commercial and governmental projects.  When a designer combines the strength of an Allan Block SRW wall facing with layers of geogrid, there is virtually no height or project limitation. This is a simplistic statement because there are of course many other things to be considered when designing walls such as soils, compaction, surcharges and others.

But let’s discuss the wall at your house.  How do you know if your wall needs geogrid?  The Allan Block Residential Walls Guide covers everything you need to know about residential walls less than 6ft in height.  

The maximum wall height chart will tell you if your wall, based on its height, soil conditions and surcharge can be built without geogrid.  If your wall does not fit the parameters laid out in this chart, your wall is either too tall or has too much load to hold up, or both and will require layers of geogrid.  

Geogrid installation starts on page 22 and will describe in easy to use instructions on how to use it.  The Soil Reinforcement Chart will tell you how long and at what block course each layer should be placed.

Lastly, let's discuss what geogrid is.  Simply it is a polyester woven grid with a polymer coating that will protect it from deteriorating over time.  It is laid horizontally between every other block course, back into the soil.  When multiple layers of grid are used the wall facing, grid and compacted soils within the grid zone form what the industry calls a reinforced mass.  This reinforced mass now works together as a single unit to resist all the forces from the soil behind and surcharges above.

Geogrid is super easy to use and provided so much extra strength to your wall that using it on any wall make sense.  So why not use it!  It is readily available at your Allan Block dealers and is very inexpensive relative to the total cost of your project.  

October 7, 2016

Fire Pits - Bringing Your Childhood Into Your Future

 Remember sitting around a campfire as you told or heard many great stories (true……and some not so true)?  How about the simple smell of burning wood, the taste of hot dogs grilled over the open flame or maybe just a s’more made from a charred marshmallow roasting over that camp fire?  Ever thought about bringing those experiences to your backyard? 

Fire pits are a hot design point in new construction and are a simple add on to your existing back patio with the help of Allan Block Courtyard product.  Whether it is round, square or a custom shape built into a seat wall you can create the perfect natural gas or wood burning fire pit at home.  

Don’t wait any longer to relive those great memories every night – start your project now with Allan Block!

September 30, 2016

Stepping into Your Outdoor Space

 Do you have a new outdoor space to be enjoyed this summer, but the space isn’t accessible from all parts of your property?  Like my new project, there is enough grade change that requires steps in order to get from one side of the yard to the other.  Connecting the new deck to the new patio with stairs can raise the aesthetic appeal of your new outdoor living while making your new area the talking point of the neighborhood.

Steps can be created in multiple ways such as:

  •         Allan Block Retaining Wall Block with an AB Cap
  •          Allan Block Retaining Wall with double AB Caps
  •          Allan Block Retaining Wall with AB Cap and Pavers
  •          Allan Block Retaining Wall with Pavers
  •         Allan Block Retaining Wall with Poured/Stamped Concrete

An advantage to creating the outdoor steps
is that you already know the block height
(rise of each step), you just need to decide
on the run.  With such a versatile product, nearly any option is achievable!

September 23, 2016

Rooftop Patio Ideas

As building owners continue to look for ways to create usable and compelling space within their existing properties, rooftops are becoming more and more desirable for common areas of entertainment.  Pools, grilling stations, fire pits, sunbathing sections, bocce ball courts are just a few items we have recently seen from designers in an effort to differentiate buildings. 

 Allan Block products are a perfect option to build dimension on a flat roof and/or to give that roof a little more character – whether it is a planting bed, fire pit or a simple seat wall we have products that will allow for excellent entertaining in almost any area. 
These final two look like they are at grade, but they are actually on top of the parking deck for the multi-family complex.