5 Do-It-Yourself Projects to Transform Your Landscape

Updating your outdoor space has never been easier! The unique shape of the Tango™ lawn-and-garden project block allows you to create columns, seat and freestanding walls, battered or vertical retaining walls, planters, edging and more!

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Tango™ lawn-and-garden project block

Here are 5 DIY landscape projects — all installed with the project block and the accent products of your choice — to transform your home’s landscape.

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Columns

1. Columns. Columns can be used as standalone home exterior features or as a finishing touch to seat walls and garden walls. They’re a great place to showcase potted plants or house numbers, or to wire light fixtures.

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Retaining walls

2. Retaining walls. A retaining wall is built to retain soil — and is a wise solution for any homeowner looking to add usable space to a sloped yard. Plants, flowers and rocks can help unify the wall with its natural surroundings; caps and other accents offer a custom look.

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Privacy screening

3. Privacy screening. Freestanding walls are an inviting feature that can easily be added onto existing paver patios. Bonus: The wall’s top surface can also act as a place to rest refreshments, games and other fare and ware during outdoor gatherings.

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Planters

4. Planters. Whether to add vertical interest to a lawn or to help keep rabbits and other garden invaders away, the Tango project block can be used to make a beautiful and lasting home for herb, flower or vegetable gardens.

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Landscape edging

5. Landscape edging. The versatile Tango project block can also be used as an edger, which means it can accent any of the features above or be used alone to define flower beds, walkways and patios.

Which of these projects would you use to transform your backyard? Tell us about it in the comments below, or visit our Where to Buy tool to find the Tango project block retailer near you.

Workshops for Do-It-Yourself Homeowners

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoors do-it-yourselfer or digging into landscaping for the first time (pun intended), there are plenty of opportunities around the Twin Cities and beyond to help you brush up on your skills for the 2015 season — or even learn a new one.

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Tango™ Lawn-and-Garden Project Block Installation Demonstrations

At: Select Mills Fleet Farm locations.

About: Learn how to build a variety of hardscape elements, including columns, seat walls and retaining walls, using the Tango project block. Contact store location for more details.

Mills Fleet Farm, Appleton, WI

  • Thursday, April 9th – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday, April 10th – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mills Fleet Farm, Mankato, MN

  • Saturday, May 30th – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mills Fleet Farm, Lakeville, MN

  • Friday, May 29th – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 30th – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mills Fleet Farm, Fergus Falls, MN

  • Friday, June 12th – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

       Mills Fleet Farm, Fargo, ND

  • Saturday, June 13th – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mills Fleet Farm, Waupaca, WI

  • Friday, June 12th – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

       Mills Fleet Farm, Menomonie, WI

  • Saturday, June 13th – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Installing Concrete Retaining Walls Workshop

At: Hedberg Landscape and Masonry Supplies, Farmington, MN.

About: Click here for event details and registration.

  • Wednesday, April 29th – 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 27th – 5 to 7 p.m.

Installing an Outdoor Fire Pit

At: Gertens, Inver Grove Heights, MN.

About: Click here for event details and registration.

  • Saturday, April 11th – 11 a.m.

Other Events

For budding (and veteran) green thumbs, Northern Gardener magazine has a calendar of this season’s plant shows and sales and educational events.

Like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on the latest homeowner events and other Anchor news.

Anchor Block Company’s Best of 2014

We’re lucky to work in an industry where capturing beautiful, creative landscapes is part of the gig. Before we ring in the new year, help us celebrate our standout projects from 2014.

Big or small, modern or traditional, eco-friendly or family-friendly — we highlighted a variety of projects that will inspire you to make your dream landscape come true, whatever it may look like.

5. Dramatic Entrance. This home’s bold architecture deserved bold surroundings. The RINN™ Medino® paving system driveway provides a simple, stunning entrance for homeowners and guests alike.

RINN Medino paving system

RINN™ Medino® paving system

4. Family Function(ality). The most beloved outdoor living spaces provide a place to relax — or entertain — for the whole household. This smartly-planned patio features Slaton Plus Random patio stones and multiple seating areas, including a Fresco™ wall system seat wall, and a fire pit for stories and S’mores.

Patio featuring Fresco wall system with Charleston and Slaton Plus Random paving systems

Fresco™ wall system with Charleston™ and Slaton Plus™ Random paving systems

3. Calming Effect. The tree-filled backdrop to this backyard is a dreamy contrast to the hardscaped features, which were created using the Brisa® wall system, RINN Medino® paving system and Slaton Plus paving system.

Rinn Medino and Slaton Plus pavers with Brisa wall system

Brisa® wall system, RINN™ Medino® paving system and Slaton Plus™ paving system

2. Inside Out. More and more homeowners are treating their landscape as an extension of their home, and this outdoor living room and kitchen featuring the Slaton Plus™ tumbled paver patio is a winning example.

Slaton Plus™ tumbled paving system.

Slaton Plus™ tumbled paving system

1. Making Headlines. This backyard may look familiar to Twin Citians: it’s the outcome of the BATC/KARE 11 Backyard Makeover. The new design, which was chosen by news watchers’ popular vote, includes our RINNHydropor Laziano® permeable pavers — used to mitigate flooding that used to plague the outdoor “studio” during heavy rainfall — and planters built from the Matiz wall system.

RINN™ Hydropor Laziano paving system and Matiz wall system

RINN™ Hydropor Laziano® paving system and Matiz™ wall system

Looking for more inspiring home landscape projects? Check out Anchor Block Company’s Houzz profile or contact us to request your FREE 2015 Landscape Collection catalog. Just enter discount code “BLOG” in the comments field.

Want to Improve Your Social Life? Just Add Fire.

We’re more like our ancient ancestors than we think. Turns out that fire was used in early times for socializing, just like today’s neighborhood bonfires draw family and friends.

In fact, conversing over a fire may have helped humankind evolve. According to anthropologist Polly Wiessner, it was over a fire where we learned our social behaviors. Day talk was primarily about economic matters, while evening talk over a fire was less about the tensions of the day and more about sharing stories and ideas.

If you’d like to enjoy the modern-day social benefits of a fire feature, there are many products to help you add some warmth to your yard.

Do-It-Yourself Fire Pit Kits

A relatively easy, low-cost and fast way to make fire is to use a kit that includes assembly instructions, concrete blocks and a metal insert. These fire pit kits come in a variety of shapes and styles, and can be found through your local home improvement store, landscape dealer or online. Contact us for more information on where to buy fire features for your yard.

Fresco Square Fire Pit Kit

Fresco™ square fire pit kit

For a first-hand account of what a project like this entails, read Baptism by Fire Pit by a New York Times columnist who recently chronicled his experience building a fire pit in his yard.

Fireplaces

Fire place and paver patio

Stone Age outdoor fireplace with Charleston™ paving system

Outdoor fireplaces are beautiful additions to the landscape – and are stunning at night with a roaring fire. They’re permanent additions to your landscape and typically require installation by an experienced contractor. Fireplaces can also be a starting point for building a beautiful patio, adding a seat wall or creating a new outdoor room.

Fall is a great time to plan and install a fire feature and you’ll be surprised at how a fire pit or fireplace prolongs your outdoor season – often well into winter – and draws crowds to socialize any time of the year.

Visit Anchor Block Company’s website for more information on fire features, including retail locations, installation instructions and project photos.

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.