August 18, 2017

Building Corners with AB Fence

Written by Chad Julius
As with any project there is usually and easy way or a hard way.  I often overlook the easy way and go right to the more difficult application because I don’t take the time to consider my options.  There is a reason why sayings like, “Shoot first and ask questions later” or “Ready, Fire, Aim” exist.  However, when it comes to turning a corner with the AB Fence I hope you do a little research first.

Most of our licensed producing partners have the AB Fence Corner Block.  Obviously, this block was created to make turning corners easy.  It creates a 90-degree corner without cutting. There are things to consider during the construction process and these are covered in the Corner section of the AB Fence Installation Manual or in AB Fence Tech Sheet #2005.  

The hard way for turning corners is also covered in the AB Fence Tech Sheet #2005.  If the Corner Block is not available or you are trying to turn a corner that is not 90-degrees, you will need to miter cut two AB Fence Post Blocks.  

mitred corner

Anytime you are using a mitered corner you need to be very careful to make sure they don’t separate when you are filling them with concrete.  Typically, we are seeing them glued together as they are being stacked up, but also placing a temporary band around the courses as the concrete is being poured. 

August 11, 2017

Can I add lighting to my patio wall?

Written by: Danelle DeMartini
The simple answer to "Can I add lighting to my wall?" is...yes. Now the type of lighting and how it can be done depending on the type of wall you have is another matter. If you are adding lighting after the wall is built, you may have some limitations to the types of lighting you can add without having to deconstruct parts of the wall. So planning for lighting before you build, will save you a lot of time and effort in the end. 

If you are building a freestanding patio wall with AB Courtyard, you have the extra benefit of the hollow cores for placement of wiring.  But rather than tell you how this can be done, let me show you with this simple video:

You can learn more about building with AB Courtyard and other useful videos at our website -

August 4, 2017

Building a Patterned Fence Panel

 Written by: Chad Julius
Each year we continue to see the AB Fence used in residential applications and more and more they are looking for that Ashlar Pattern for ultimate aesthetics.  What is unique about the AB Fence is that each block in modular with dimensional sizes that are full, half length, half high and quarter size.  Therefore, they can be stacked in random patterns.  What makes it even better is that the blocks have different finishes on the front and backs so they can be flipped to create not only random patterns, but also random textures.  

Now let’s face it.  When you are talking random construction that will slow down construction times and increase the expense of the project.  That is why we have created patterns that can be used as guides to increase efficiency.  There are patterns that range in height from 1 course to all the way up to a 4 course pattern.  These patterns can be found in the installation manual or the Pattern Brochure from Allan Block.
The main thing to consider is that we still need to create the structure for the AB Fence for the stability.  Let’s take the example of an 8-ft (2.4 m) fence, which will typically require a bond beam at the top and bottom of the panel.  The full panel height will be 12 courses, but we use multiple pattern options to construct it.

We want to use full panel blocks as the bottom course to speed up installation.  Then a single course pattern is used above that to complete the bond beam structure for blocks.  The top two course are also single course patterns that will be used to construct the top bond beam.  However, the middle is dry-stacked block that needs to be a total of 8 courses in height.  Therefore, we are using one 2-course pattern followed by two 3-course patterns.  The beautiful thing is that the next panel could change up the middle patterns to keep each panel looking random and unique. 

July 28, 2017

Are There any Easy Design Ideas for My Patio Wall?

Written by: Souraya Farhat
Outdoor living has taken a completely different meaning today now days. It is no longer setting up a tent in the backyard, or throwing a blanket on the lawn or even some lawn chairs. Today outdoor living is adding usable space where one can relax and entertain while enjoying the outdoors. Outdoor patios will vary in functionality to match a specific lifestyle: There are patios dedicated for outdoor cooking, pool surround, relaxation and gatherings and there are those that are a combination of all.

Some patio designs can be overwhelming and certainly very costly. What you don’t have a lot of space to work with and money is a concern, but still want an outdoor space to accommodate your lifestyle? Here are some examples of patio designs that are average in size (approximately 140 sqft), simple in style and designed with the ambitious homeowner in mind. With these designs the price tag of the patio project suddenly become very affordable while serving its purpose and still adding value to the home.

Each of the patios in the picture serves a specific purpose and are simple to build. By simple we mean following the detailed instructions provided for each patio that comes with a list of products needed to build the project of choice. In many cases one can start with seating wall and add other outdoor elements as budget or time permits. You can find detailed instructions and link to how to videos for the each of these designs on

Should these ideas not give you the design you are looking for, you can always use them as a starter and modify to achieve the look and functionality desired. You can do that very easily using this patio design app.

July 21, 2017

Are Concrete Footing Required for Retaining Walls?

Written by: Laura Horstmann
For Allan Block retaining walls we prefer that you DO NOT use a concrete footing. In our Best Practices Document we strongly suggest the use of a leveling base made up of compactible gravel ranging in size from 0.25 inches to 1.5 inches.  For more information on base material and preparation visit our website or watch our YouTube video. 

For our AB Courtyard the blocks will need a level base be it paver patio, compacted gravel, or a concrete patio. If you already have a patio the blocks can be placed right on top. But if you are installing your own patio the AB Courtyard blocks can be placed at the edge on a level compacted gravel base.