A Backyard Hangout Wish Comes True

Anchor Block Company was proud to participate in a recent Make-A-Wish® foundation project for Minnesota teen Drew Macke, whose wish was simple but lasting: a backyard hangout for him and his family.

“A vacation comes and goes,” Drew told the Woodbury Bulletin, “but that stays.”

Construction of the outdoor living area, which includes and Anchor™ paver patio as well as a pergola and fireplace, began in July 2014 and included the help of more than a dozen Twin Cities businesses.

Friends, family and project partners celebrated the backyard’s completion at a bonfire on September 10th. (Read the full story of Drew’s backyard wish come true here.)

Thanks to Ispiri Design-Build, Root Stock Landscape Design and the Make-A-Wish foundation for letting us be a part of this wish-come-true!

Why Choose Permeable Pavers?

Have you moved from having a green thumb to embracing a green approach to landscaping? Using permeable pavers is a great choice if you’re committed to improving and protecting your environment.

What’s a permeable paver?

The technical term is permeable interlocking concrete pavement and, simply stated, permeable pavers are concrete paving units that are installed with stone aggregates between and underneath so any type of storm water (such as rain or melting snow) filters into the ground. To learn about the benefits of managing storm water and the value of permeable pavers, check out this video from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute:

 

Where can I use permeable pavers?

Permeable pavers can be used on driveways, patios and walkways. They can transform muddy backyards into functional patio space (click here for the full story) and bring style to once-flooded front yards, as shown below.

RINN™ Hydropor Laziano® Paving System

RINN™ Hydropor Laziano® Paving System

If you’re designing a landscape with sustainability in mind, permeable pavers are an excellent choice. Anchor Block Company offers several styles of permeable pavers to suit your project regardless of style or budget.

Contact us if you’d like to receive more information on how permeable paving systems can transform your home’s landscape.

 

10 Weekend Hardscapes Projects

Maybe your dream backyard design needs to be done in small pieces due to time, budget or other constraints. Or perhaps you just want to add a finishing touch to your existing landscape.

Here are ten do-it-yourself project plans that are small enough to tackle in a weekend – yet are guaranteed to make a big impact on your landscape. These projects incorporate the Fresco™ wall system, which features versatile components that can be oriented in any manner to create many outdoor living projects.

Build a Bar

Everyone gathers in the kitchen, or the outside bar when it’s a warm summer night. Create a space to serve your crowd, large or small.

Help the Bees: Build a Flower Planter

If you’ve heard the buzz (pardon us) about the declining bee population and are thinking about adding perennials to your yard, build a planter and stock it full of flowering native plants.

Fresco™ Wall System, Slaton Plus™ Tumbled Paving System

Fresco™ Wall System, Slaton Plus™ Tumbled Paving System

Warm Up with a Fire Pit

We offer designs for fire pits in various sizes and shapes using the Fresco wall system. Choose the design that fits your space or use one of our handy fire pit kits. Don’t forget to check local ordinances about open fires before installation begins.

Fresco Square Fire Pit Kit

Fresco™ square fire pit kit

The Fresco wall system offers many ways to enjoy your outdoor living area. Find more project inspiration in our Project Ideas book or on our Facebook page.

What’s Your Paver Style?

Thinking about adding concrete pavers to your home this year? Not only are pavers a strong and durable choice for driveways, patios and walkways — they also come in a variety of shapes and sizes to match any landscape or architectural style. Our in-house paver expert, Gene Karjala, shares his advice on choosing a paver to fit your personal style.

Clean and Contemporary

Sleek and modern pavers like the Rinn™ Padio™ 14 paving system feature long, rectangular units — often called “planks.” This look is ideal for contemporary architecture or mid-century homes. Bonus tip from Gene: If you like a modern look with added style, check out other Rinn paving systems, which feature multiple sizes.

RINN™ Padio 14 paving system

RINN™ Padio™ 14 paving system

 

Traditional

If you love to stroll through charming towns with cobblestone streets lined with Tudor and Victorian houses, Gene recommends a traditional choice such as the Kingston Plus™ or Kingston™ paving systems, which offer multiple sizes and a classic cobblestone appearance.

Kingston Plus paving system

Kingston Plus™ paving system

Holland pavers are rectangular and are also traditional in appearance, but can be installed in many patterns for different looks.

Holland paving system

Holland paving system

 

Rustic and Natural

The process of tumbling pavers gives the product a time-worn appearance but without losing any durability. A perfect choice for a rustic, natural look is the tumbled Charleston™ paving system.

Charleston paving system

Charleston™ paving system

Slaton Plus™ Tumbled paving system

Slaton Plus™ Tumbled paving system

For the look of quarried stone, Gene recommends the Slaton Plus™ or Slaton Plus™ tumbled paving systems. These are a lovely choice for natural landscapes featuring grasses, boulders and native plants.

 

Eco-Smart

If you’re designing a landscape with sustainability in mind, permeable pavers are an excellent choice. Anchor Block Company offers several styles of permeable pavers, which reduce storm water run-off by allowing the water to gradually filter back into the soil and control and stabilize soil erosion.

Holland Permeable paving system

 

Once you’ve found a style of pavers to enhance your landscape, check out our What’s Your Retaining Wall Style? post to find an Anchor™ wall system that completes your plan.

From Flat to Fantastic: 3 Steps to A Beautiful Backyard

Transforming a large, flat yard is easy when you focus on building a beautiful foundation and adding vertical elements to give the space definition. Here are tips on how to bring your outdoor space from boring to beautiful.

 

Step 1: Work from the Ground Up

Transform a large flat space by installing concrete pavers to create a patio for relaxing or entertaining. Paver patios can be installed at grade or atop a slope. A raised patio like the one shown below will work in either of these conditions, and is a perfect way to replace an old wooden deck while adding height to flat ground.

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Highland Stone® wall system; Slaton Plus™ tumbled paving system

 

Step 2: Add Interest with Accessories

A paver patio will quickly become a gathering place because of its functionality and low maintenance. To add creative flair to the flat space, consider these accents:

  • Freestanding walls provide instant height, beauty and seating.
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Highland Stone® wall system

 

  • Built-in planters filled with flowers and grasses soften a paver patio.
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Fresco™ wall system; Slaton Plus™ paving system with Charleston™ paving system border

 

  • Columns act as stylish spots for light fixtures or plant pots.
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Brisa® wall system; Rinn™ Medino® paving system with Slaton Plus™ paving system border

 

Step 3: Build a Structure

Built structures are popular design elements for flat landscapes. Arbors and pergolas can define spaces and help make an outdoor area truly feel like an extension of your home.

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Diamond Stone Cut® wall system

 

With the right elements, a flat yard can be taken to new heights. Find more hardscapes inspiration by downloading our 2014 Landscape Collection catalog or visiting the Anchor Block Company Facebook page.

Landscape Inspiration for Small Spaces

Don’t let a small space hamper your plans for a dream landscape. The secret, according to Anchor Block Company product specialist Gene Karjala, a landscape pro with more than 20 years of experience, is to think big – regardless of your lot size. Here are Gene’s favorite tips for small yards.

Maximize Space

This small urban backyard was a shady area where grass wouldn’t grow and rain water created a muddy mess.

Holland-Permeable-Before

Holland Permeable paving system

Holland Permeable paving system

The contractor maximized the space with a plan that incorporated permeable pavers in most of the yard. While some homeowners might be reluctant to transform so much of their space into a hard surface, the contractor’s plan cleverly terraced the slopes into planters that provided the homeowners with more planting space than they had before. Read the full story here.

 

Create Intimacy

Gene likes to use creative touches to create an intimate setting. His favorite tricks are using columns to define the space, planting a hedge that grows into a wall and makes the area its own room, and using small-scale furniture that fits the space. Better yet, says Gene, “Install a freestanding wall, which doubles as seating and space for food and drinks and you don’t have to store extra patio furniture during cooler months.”

Brisa® wall system and Slaton Plus™ paving system

Brisa® wall system and Slaton Plus™ paving system

 

Add Style with Lighting

Lighting transforms a space because it not only extends the use of the space into the evening but adds a professional touch. Gene likes to install lighting to emphasize columns, flower beds, statuary or special plants. “Just because a space is small doesn’t mean it can’t have some drama and a big creative impact,” said Gene.

Highland Stone® wall system

Highland Stone® wall system

 

How will you add impact to your small outdoor space? Tell us about it in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Is It Your Year for a New Yard?

The start of a new year always brings a bevy of resolutions – and according to the Home Projects Council,  a top priority among do-it-yourself homeowners in 2014 is landscaping their front or backyard.

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Landscaping is the top project for homeowners in 2014

If you’re one of the many handy homeowners thinking of taking on an outdoor overhaul this spring or summer, here are some helpful resources to get you started:

Home Landscape Inspiration:

Landscaping How-Tos:

  • How to Plan a Landscape Renovation
  • How To Install Patios/Walkways and Retaining Wall systems

Be sure to let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments section below which landscaping project you have planned for 2014!