July 15, 2016

Gardening Above Ground

 Raised gardens can soften the feel of your outdoor space and create an enjoyable and inviting area in your landscaping. They are great for growing plants, flowers or even vegetables and herbs. 

Building a raised garden helps bring the ground to up a more comfortable working area, reducing time spent bending down when weeding or when maintenance is needed. 

Incorporating irrigation in the planters is very helpful and brings even more maintenance free to the design.  With the planter open to the ground below, overwatering is unlikely which allows the healthy plant roots to grow further down into the soil.

Raised planters can be built as standalone applications, or be incorporated within our retaining walls to soften the feel of the landscaping.  

Filling with a good planting soil will benefit your plants and allow them to thrive, which limits weeds and offers a rewarding planter to use and enjoy all season.

July 8, 2016

4 Ways to Manage Water on a Sloping Yard

 Manage water runoff and turn your sloping hillside into usable space with the help retaining walls.  By adding a retaining wall, water runoff and drainage around your home can be controlled to protect from erosion or water damage to the buildings at the same time incorporating more space. 

When considering a change to the landscaping a thorough understanding of the site to determine where water will come from and how it will be managed should be completed.  Here are three options.

  1. Water can be routed using swales.  A swale is a small ditch that creates a path for water to be directed to an outlet.
  2. Adding a berm above a retaining wall in another one way to manage water runoff.  A berm is a mounded area where grass or plantings can divert the water.  The pre-existing slope perhaps.
  3. Incorporating more than one retaining wall when trying to manage large slopes allows the creation of a terracing effect.  This will add additional landscaping areas or gardens creating a natural looking environment.
  4. Creating a dry well to divert and collect the water giving it time to penetrate the soil.
There are other solutions when working with slopes and managing water runoff.  Visit allanblock.com for installation information and details on designing for slopes and managing water when incorporating retaining walls into your landscaping.

July 2, 2016

Fourth of July, Why We Celebrate

July 4th is the most important day for all American citizens; it is Independence Day. A holiday celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the anniversary of the day United States officially becoming its own sovereign country. We celebrate the fourth enjoying the outdoors: Barbecue with family and friends, out on the lake, go to parades, and closing the day with a spectacular fireworks show.
While celebrating our freedoms and enjoying outdoor activities savoring various patriotic themed sweets and snacks, we must not forget that this day is also about celebrating the values our country was founded upon. The Declaration of Independence was written based on the principle that every individual has inherent rights:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Life: Gifted to each individual by its Creator.
Liberty: The power of choice to act, speak, think, believe in ways we grow and shape the life we were given.

Pursuit of Happiness: Finding peace within ourselves and with others.

In other countries, they may celebrate their “freedom” with military parades and test-launch missiles. We celebrate our independence day with passion and joy, thankful for the Life we have, the liberty to make choices and the opportunities to find happiness. Simple rights, denied to many people around the world.  We celebrate and humbly thank our founding fathers and all those who believed our lives, our freedom and future are worth the price they paid for it.

We, at Allan Block, wish you a Happy and Safe Fourth of July weekend.    

July 1, 2016

Commercial Construction on the Rise!

Did you know Allan Block is heavily involved with residential, commercial, industrial, municipal and virtually all of the categories of construction?  We are always excited to see positive trends in construction and the commercial market is providing us with many positives as we enter into the heavy construction season of 2016.  As indicated by the Dodge Momentum Index and US Building Permits pulled, we are slowly moving out of the Great Recession and into a nice steady cycle of commercial opportunities. 

When you find the need for a retaining wall or sound/sight walls for your development, we have just the answer.  In addition to the product, Allan Block also has many tools to assist designers when tackling retaining walls such as our AB Walls Design Software or any one of our IACET educational lunch and learn opportunities.  We also provide valuable training and programs for contractors such as our Allan Block Certification Program to assist the industry in finding qualified contractors to build these projects.

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!