August 15, 2014

Light up your Life – Adding Lighting to your Retaining Wall

Lighting provides a great many things to your landscape.  It can add more security by illuminating entry areas and pathways.  Add functionality by making entertainment or cooking areas more accessible at night. 

A raised patio, retaining walls, or stairway areas are great places to add lighting right into the structures, which keeps the lighting as more of a backdrop and not center stage. It’s a snap to shine a little light on the subject!
Learn more...

July 1, 2014

Don’t Come to the Party without All the Right Tools – Building Your Own Retaining Wall

tools for building retaining walls
So you have decided to build a retaining wall and want to do it yourself?  Fantastic!  Building your own retaining walls can be easy and with just a few simple steps and some careful planning your yard will have a whole new landscape.  One thing you may want to think about before you begin is whether or not you have all the tools you need to complete the job.  There is nothing worse than being knee-deep into a project and having to stop, run to the store and buy something or rent some equipment you did have or budget for.

Hand Tools
Safety glasses, gloves, dust mask, ear protection, knee pads, 4’ level, torpedo level, tape measure, string line, chisel, hand tamper, dead blow hammer, shims, broom, round and square shovel.

Power Tools
Plate compactor, concrete saw with diamond blade, skid loader, transit/site level.

Rental Equipment
Plate compactors, concrete saws, skid loaders and transit levels are very useful when building retaining walls. These are available at most equipment rental centers.

And Don’t Leave Home Without These
Design/Estimating AppsInstallation Guides  to help design and build your brand new landscape.  Now you can go to your own wall building party with all the tools you need to get the job done right!

June 4, 2014

Dirt Makes a Difference When Building a Retaining Wall

Want to build a retaining wall that looks good and will last a lifetime?  

There are some simple things you can do when building your project that will ensure your wall stands tall and straight and beautiful for years to come.  One commonly overlooked factor is the soil you are building on and trying to retain.   So it’s all in the dirt…

Look around your neighborhood…you will probably notice some of the existing walls are bulging, cracking, leaning or are simply uneven.  This is because many of these walls aren’t built to handle the weight of the hillside they are supposed to be holding back.

Even a small retaining wall needs to contain heavy loads.  Remarkably, soil weighs a lot and the type of soil you have can really change the way your wall is built.  Soil types can range from clay to gravel to organic types.  First you need to figure out the type of soil you have. 

Check out the information on soil types that Allan Block has to see what type of soil you have.  And then get building on the right kind of soil, and your wall can be the one in the neighborhood that stands straight and tall…the envy of the neighborhood!

May 9, 2014

Flowers For Mom Top 5 Perfect Blooms

What says “I Love You Mom” better than a bouquet of flowers? How about plantable flowers that will keep giving and giving – telling Mom that out of all her kids, YOU love her most. So what flowers do you choose? Here is a list of plants that are perfect to plant in her raised planter or container garden.

Johnny Jump-up
Great for small areas and full of color; the Johnny Jump-up is a perfectly cheerful addition.

Black-eyed Susan
A ray of sunshine that always brings a smile to your face; these flowers come in a few varieties so you will be sure to find just the right one for mom.

A great pop of color these bloom in just about every color except true blue and are well suited to growing in raised planters.
These dragons may not breathe fire – but the sure heat up the space with style and color.

Gerbera Daisy
Last but not least these flowers are one of my favorites – the are so colorful and perfect they hardly look real. With so many colors to choose from Mom’s favorite color is sure to be among them.

What if Mom doesn't have a raised planter?
Not to worry, you can buy some planters or hanging post to put them in, OR you can build her one and secure your place as the best kid EVER. Learn more about raised planters with Allan Block.Whatever you choose, it’s the thought that counts and Mom loves you just the same!

April 18, 2014

Landscaping: Don’t Put all Your Eggs in One Basket

With the Easter Bunny on his way this weekend, it got me thinking about landscaping ideas for spring. I realized we focus so much on backyard spaces and outdoor living; the front of the house is being neglected! That age-old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” can happen when talking about landscaping.

So what kinds of things can you do to add style to your front yard?

Paint Your Front Door – a new coat of paint can add an instant face lift to the front of your house for very little time and money spent.

Plant Something New – Whether it is some colorful annuals or a new set of bushes, new plants can change the whole feel to your front yard space.

Add Some Lighting – get a new porch light or add a light post to your pathway to bring a more secure and inviting feel to your neighborhood.

Add a Courtyard – Using a patio wall system like AB Courtyard, you can create a simple entry courtyard to separate your front yard space into an inviting place to welcome guests.

Whatever you choose – changes big or small the Easter Bunny will be proud of you for not putting all your efforts in the back yard so he can hide those eggs!