August 29, 2014

Good landscaping doesn't create water problems - IT SOLVES THEM.

Landscaping Tips: Water Management

When planning a new landscape, there are many things that need to be considered, like location, budget, overall design  - the planning can go on and on depending on the detail of the overall design.  One thing that is often overlooked and can have a significant effect on the success of the project is water management.
Here are a few things to consider when managing water in your landscape.

Site Grading - Prior to construction of a retaining wall, evaluate that it is properly graded by directing water away from the walls to help manage surface drainage.

Concentrated Water Sources - Identify any concentrated water sources and take them into account during the design of the wall. Examples include:
    • Slopes above the wall
    • Driveways that slope towards the wall
    • Roof downspouts
    • Lawn, landscape irrigation systems and outdoor faucets

Ground Water - Identify the ground water elevation, meaning where the water occurs within the soil. Ground water must be prevented from coming into contact with any wall structures you may have in your plan. If you do find ground water on your project, contact a local engineer to help with your overall design.

Irrigation Systems - When irrigation systems are used they should be designed and installed to perform irrigation in a controlled and reasonable manner.  Even an outdoor faucet can cause problems if it leaks or is accidentally left on, creating a water build-up behind or above the wall.

FACT: 90% of Wall Failures Are Caused By Improper Water Management

By taking the time to plan for the water on your project, you will not be “washed” away by disasters or pitfalls during or after construction – so PLAN AHEAD.

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!