March 16, 2018

How is AB Fence effective as a sound barrier?

Written by: Rich Lovdal

The AB Fence product is the perfect product for all your fencing needs such as screening, privacy, security and sound abatement.  AB Fence has been used for short 3ft dividing walls to 34 ft tall sound walls around industry and along miles of interstate roadways and every height in between for every conceivable need.   AB Fence is a fully engineered product with reinforced masonry posts and panels made up of 8 inch tall courses of masonry block.  The structural element of the panel is the 2-course bond beams that are cast solid with horizontal rebar and vertical stirrups.  One of the unique features of the AB Fence panel is the dry-stacked courses in between the structural bond beams.  All courses have a ball and socket configuration which lock each course together. 

When using AB Fence for your sound wall needs you can find all our independent sound testing on our website.  Both reflective and absorptive testing was conducted and both were perfectly aligned to grouted masonry walls as expected.  The interesting thing about the results said the researcher was that they expected that a dry-stack system, without mortared joints, would have performed much worse than a typical mortared masonry wall.  But they were wrong.  The unique configuration of the panel units, with the ball and socket bottom and top and the interlocking joints on each end blocks all sound attempting to travel through the joints. 

AB Fence is the right product for your sound wall needs.  Not only providing the highest levels of sound reduction but all the proven strength of a tried and true fully engineered and tested structural system.

March 9, 2018

How do you attach a fence rail or gate to an AB Fence?

Written by: Chad Julius

There are many beautification applications where metal panels are attached between the posts:

Ab Fence with RailingAb Fence with Railing
And even more containment applications where a gate is attached:

Whatever your need is the thing to remember is that the AB Fence is just concrete blocks stacked together.  However, we want to make sure these gates and panels are attached to the posts since they are the structural backbone of the system.  Since they are just concrete blocks the easiest way to attach them is with a typical concrete expansion anchor.  Just keep in mind how heavy the gate or panels are and size the anchor appropriately.   To learn more about attaching gates to AB Fence visit our website 

February 23, 2018

How do I build retaining wall corners?

Written by: Ryan Miller

Corners are almost always more time consuming, typically cost more money and are generally more difficult to build.  We always recommend incorporating a radius whenever possible, but when you must install a corner, here are a few general recommendations to follow.

Inside corners are easily constructed using standard Allan Block units. By removing part of the lip with a chisel or saw, the blocks can be overlapped for a strong interlock. If your retaining wall needs reinforcement, follow the instructions for adding grid to corners.

  • Using your saw or chisel, remove the raised lip from one block, and 1/3 from the left side of another. Set them in place at the beginning of the base course.

  • Locate the adjoining retaining wall so that the raised lip on the modified block is lined up with the raised lips on the opposite retaining wall. Finish installing the entire base course in both directions.

  • Modify two more blocks, this time remove the raised lip from one block, and the right third from another. Use these blocks to start the second course.

  • Continue the process to the top of the retaining wall, alternating as you go.

Outside corners take more time and skill, but AB Corner Blocks are all you need to make an outside corner. Always build your retaining walls by starting at the corners and working out. AB Corner Blocks are manufactured with a 12° (Ref) setback. With some minor adjustments, the blocks can work with any setback. See AB Tech Sheet #298 (Using the One Piece AB Corner Block) for more details.

  • Set the first corner block in place and install the two perpendicular base courses. Level, backfill and compact.

  • Place an alternating corner block on the second course and set the entire second course of block in both directions. Level, backfill and compact again.

  • Repeat as often as needed to the top of the retaining wall.
When you are done with the inside and/or outside corner, place your caps on:

    •   Cut caps at 45 degree angles to complete the inside corner and give the retaining wall a custom finished look.

    February 16, 2018

    How to Determine the Slope of my Yard?

    Written by: Jeff Gunderson
    Before doing any landscaping or hardcaping in your yard, you will want to figure out how much slope you have across the area. Knowing how your yard slopes will allow you to  determine what you steps may need to be taken before any construction takes place.

    First drive a stake at the top of a consistent sloped area.  Measure from that stake in the direction of the slope 100 inches.  Place a second stake in this location.  From the first stake tie a string next to the grade at the bottom of the stake.  Then stretch it between the stakes as level as possible.  Use a string line level or other level to adjust the string on the second stake so that the string is level.  Finally measure the distance from the string to the ground at the second stake.  If the distance is 9 inches your slope is 9%.

    Slope = Rise / Run  or as per this Slope = 9 / 100 Slope = 9

    Need a little more help? check out this video here:

    Once you have your slope worked out, you can get to work on the fun part - picking out the plants, paving stones and Allan Block walls for your project. For more information on slopes or to get our estimating tools and product information visit

    February 9, 2018

    How do I choose the right Allan Block product for my project?

    AB Collection
    Written by: Kyle Huerd
    Although you may get overwhelmed with looking through all the products on the market, it is very simple to select an appropriate Allan Block product depending on what you are doing on your project.  First thing is to establish are you retaining more than 12 inches of soil?  If you are, then you are looking for a retaining wall product which we can now narrow down to either the AB Collection, AB Europa, AB Fieldstone, or AB Aztec collections.  All these products are made to retain soil and have all different shapes and sizes.  Aesthetics now play the main role as all the retaining wall products work the same way, you just select your favorite look and color!

    AB Courtyard Collection
    Or maybe you want a two-sided free standing wall?  If this is your case, then you now have to make a decision if you are going for a short seating wall or a privacy/sound wall?  If you plan on enhancing your patio by placing a seating wall around the outside, then the product that best fits you is the AB Courtyard Collection.  AB Courtyard is used for patio surrounds, elements, and short fence/walls to enhance your backyard to an outdoor living space. 

    AB Fence System
    Lastly, if you are going for more of a sound or privacy fence, which typically results in walls 6 feet or taller, then the product you would want to look at is the AB Fence system.  Although there is cross over from each of the products, they have their main functions which guide our users down a path for success.

    No matter what you are looking for in your backyard or on your property, you will be astounded at the level of quality and enhancement you can bring by selecting the Allan Block product that is just right for you!