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May 22, 2015

Simple Tools For Designing Your Patio

If you want to design a patio surround or seating walls and don’t know where to start then grab your smartphone or tablet!  Allan Block has a free app that lets you design and estimate your perfect patio surround.  Let your creativity shine and easily customize the size and style of your patio and seating walls with the flexible AB Courtyard Collection.  Take your simple backyard, and transform your space by adding walls with corners, posts, curves, and more.

Simply choose the size of your design area, add the walls to your project as well as any openings you need.  Then choose your elements, like corners, posts, or wall endings.  Decide on the heights of the walls and posts and you are done!

Get a rough estimate right on the screen or submit your project and receive a full estimate report with detailed drawings for Free in your inbox.  The report also includes a list of your local dealers where you can go and get your materials.


The Courtyard Estimating App is a FREE App from Allan Block is available for both Apple & Android devices.

May 15, 2015

Retaining Walls & Trees: A Delicate Friendship

You have a yard with beautiful mature trees. You also have a yard in need of a retaining wall. These two things often make poor bedfellows. In many cases the trees are simply ripped out to make way for other landscaping – but your story doesn't have to end this way!

Generally speaking any grade change (slope) and soil compaction around a tree will affect the health of its roots especially for those that like to grow their roots closer to the surface, but with some careful planning, your trees and walls can become fast friends.

Before You Begin:
Have an arborist or a tree expert evaluate whether preserving the tree(s) around the construction area is worth your time. They can tell you which trees deserve preservation and which ones you can do without. They can also give you tips for detecting signs of stress and how to deal with it.

The Protection Zone:
The area around the tree going out to the drip line needs to be preserved and protected if the tree is to survive construction.  The drip line is the perimeter of the tree canopy.

Under all circumstances you want to avoid any action that will cause soil compaction in the protected zone. Here are some things to avoid in the protected area:
  • Heavy traffic from equipment and vehicles.
  • Do not use that area for storing heavy equipment.
  • Piling construction materials such as rock, sand and chemicals. 



Designing Your Wall:
Design your walls with curves and serpentines to go around the trees. Terraced walls can be used to avoid grade changes within the drip line area.

Your concerns and intent to preserve your trees should be well communicated with all parties involved in the construction of your project. While working with your local tree expert, involve your construction crew to make sure all guidelines are reachable and will be respected during construction.

Maintaining balance can be difficult but if you plan ahead and seek professional advice, you should be able to complete your project without harming your trees.

May 8, 2015

Celebrate Your Mother Every Day - Dandelion Bouquets and Other Heartfelt Sentiments

Mother’s Day is something that is honored all around the world with special events and activities to make the day unforgettable no matter where you are.  Ideas abound from eating out to time at a spa, taking in a show or just giving her a day off - there is ALWAYS something that can be done to spoil your mom.  

Mother’s Day accounted for 25% of floral purchases for all of last year, with only Christmas coming in slightly above.  I know my kids when they get old enough will probably fall into that category as they are already bringing me bouquets of dandelions as early Mother’s Day gifts.  But Mother's Day isn't really about the flowers...

Being the mother of younger kids, the homemade cards and the IOU booklet of chores they promise to do when I redeem is something I always look forward to.  The incorrectly spelled words and the pictures of hearts, flowers and stick people that typically lead into "when can we eat the cake",  is now a fun tradition on all holidays not just Mother’s Day. The joy with small children is these letters and presents come every day for me; the daily reminders that I am appreciated and loved are truly appreciated. While the tokens  may dwindle as my kids get older, I hope they never stop.  

So in thinking of the special Mom's (or like moms) still in your life, remember show them how much you love and appreciate them. Do something nice more than once a year (On Mother's Day) since she probably deserves a little something extra to make up for that one time... a small something...that you are totally sorry for…     

Happy Mother’s Day to all
the Moms out there!


May 1, 2015

Backyard Design Ideas: Raised Patio Vs. Wood Deck

Need or want to update you back yard?  Build a raised patio over installing a wood deck for great long lasting appeal!  There are many benefits using the Allan Block products over a standard wooden deck.
  • No Maintenance
  • No Footings to dig
  • Versatile for any Design
        (
    looks great with curves)
  • No Under Deck Mess
  • Durable and Strong


By using the products from Allan Block you can create beautiful outdoor spaces that become an extension of your home with added value.  Designs can be as simple or as detailed as one can imagine.  Flowing curves can create visually stunning projects that a wood does not easily allow.  In place of the wood spindles around the deck, use the AB Courtyard product to create something that create the same effect but adds additional seating or places to decorate with plants or lighting.



Using the AB Install Manuals will make the job easy.  With detailed graphics and videos available along the way your new outdoor space should take shape quickly for years of enjoyment.

Learn more at allanblock.com

April 24, 2015

Deck Types: Pros & Cons

Do you want to add a deck to your backyard?  Or give your old deck a facelift?

I have been looking into the best options for a new deck in my backyard with the following 3 options:



Wood  Decking

Wood - Stained

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No "Hot Feet"
  • Very Strong

Cons

  • Maintenance
  • Insect Invasion


Composite Decking

Composite

Pros

  • Little to No Maintenance
  • No Splinters
  • Durability

Cons

  • $$
  • Uneven Fading
  • "Hot Feet"







Aluminum Decking

Aluminum

Pros

  • No Maintenance
  • Durability Through Climate Changes
  • Strength - Long Lasting

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Slippery
  • $$$$$




Hope this helps you choose your deck materials. Good luck on your own project!