June 24, 2016

Grilled to Perfection...DIY Grill Station

didn’t want to have a grilling station that with a built-in grill.  Obviously, there are so many different types of grills that simply roll into place and I didn’t want to limit myself.  However, I wanted to create a grilling station that offered additional counter space and screen off the air conditioner from the backyard sitting area. 

First I created a small area that was about 7-ft by 7-ft with some concrete pavers.  I was tucking this into a corner created by the existing concrete pool deck so I simply had to dig out the area and get the base rock in.  If you have ever installed pavers it is all about the base and leveling sand.  I took my time and then started laying the pavers.  Since all my pavers were the same size I decided to put a single row around the outside all in the same direction.  Then I started creating a pattern at about a 45-degree angle.  This meant more cutting, but I knew I wanted to start my grill area on the right foot.

Now that the pavers were down I selected the AB Courtyard Collection because it was like building with concrete Legos.  A few simple cuts to create an “L” shape, accomplished the goal of screening off the air conditioning area while starting the counter top.  I made it tall enough that I could roll any grill under the countertop to keep all my options open.  With a 4.5-ft by 2-ft limestone countertop in place, I was ready to start grilling! 

June 17, 2016

To the Moon....Allan Block!

With Allan Block doing business around the world, you can image the travel times our team has logged in promoting Allan Block products and services.

 From all the training courses we teach to manufacturers, engineers, contractors and dealers, to the time spent in production plants across the globe, helping to ensure Allan Block products are being produced with the highest quality, our dedication to supporting our partners is unmatched in the industry. 

In our effort to be "Always Better” and to add a fun spin to this otherwise hectic effort, we have decided to compare our collective traveled Allan Block business miles to trips around the world and trips into space.  While we may still be a long way from a trip to Mars, we are making the effort!

So far we have:

We Have Circled the Earth 193 Times

We Have Made 10 Round Trips to the Moon


We are 1/10th of the way to Mars

Help us get closer to Mars, by attending a Contractor Certification, Technical Presentation  or Local Dealer Event!

June 10, 2016

Should We or Shouldn’t We Create that Backyard Oasis?

Most research today indicates that outdoor rooms are among the hottest growing requests of new home buyers. Fixing up your backyard with a patio, fire pit, custom kitchen, water feature, etc. will provide self-enjoyment and may prove to be the thing that separates your home from others when it is time to put it on the market.

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals Harris Poll, 75% of Americans feel that it is important to spend time outside in their yard. 

Realtor.com’s Home Crush survey shows 54% of women, and 46% of men say “outdoor living spaces make them fall in love with real estate” (the most popular feature by both sexes) and 63% of American Institute of Architects members cite “outdoor living spaces as the most popular special function room.”

It is no wonder why we continue to see a rise in residential construction projects utilizing Allan Block products. Check out some ideas from our photo gallery or give us a call to discuss your backyard project.

June 3, 2016

How to Spice Up your BBQ Grilling Space

 Times have changed over the years when it comes to backyard barbecuing.  The old round black Coleman grill is typically no longer the norm.  Depending on the space you may now find a fancy gas grill.

In place of just having this new grill just sitting on your patio with a black cover over it when it's not in use, take it to the next level.  The AB Courtyard Collection offers an easy way to expand it into an outstanding grilling station in any size that works with your space.

By creating a grilling station you now can expand the area for prepping, utensils, ingredients and more.  This added space which will now give you a great place to entertaining outdoors.  

Now you can turn up the heat and invite your friends and neighbors for some great times in your backyard patio space. 

May 27, 2016

Running Bond and Retaining Walls Are Vertical Lines Required?

Running Bond
We here at Allan Block often get installation questions.  The one that always is interesting is when the installer is trying to keep the blocks in a perfect running bond pattern.  You will notice a running bond pattern because most brick and block walls that use concrete and mortar are evenly spaced to have the edges of the following course is directly in the middle of the block below it.  Because of this familiarity with the look and aesthetics associated with these walls, there are many installers that believe that all block walls should have a true running bond. 

You can certainly install Allan Block in this manner and this is very to achieve if your wall is straight.  However, when your project has curves and corners the running bond installation gets to be more complicated.  The beautiful thing with Allan Block is that it is not required.  Let me explain:

  •          The structural integrity of your wall is maintained as long as the blocks are overlapped by at least ¼ of a block.  The front lip provides the connection between the units and this overlap is all that is required.
  • The vertical seams or running bond is difficult in curves because the setback of the wall actually changes the length of each course.  That is why the vertical seams appear to change as you stack the courses around a curve.
  • Think about the pattern walls.  Vertical and horizontal seams can be part of the wall face and not impact the stability.
  • The set back of a wall creates the strong horizontal lines within the wall’s appearance which means the smaller vertical lines are not as noticeable.  If you don’t believe me, start looking close at all of the Allan Block pictures on our website and literature.

So our answer when installers ask us about the running bond requirements…just make sure you have a few inches of overlap and that is all you need.