Use Raised Gardens to Elevate Your Landscape

Fresco™ wall system

If you’re looking for an attractive and effective way to showcase your favorite herbs, vegetables or flowers, look no further than a raised garden.

Raised gardens with lasting beauty should be made with concrete wall blocks. They can be installed to fit any landscape, whether as a standalone planter or as a retaining wall that abuts a home, porch or other structure.

Hudson Stone™ wall system

Brisa® wall system

They’re great for separating plants that have specific purposes or needs (for example, edible plants or those that need more drainage space). Some people also believe that tending to raised gardens alleviates the back and knee strain that can come with maintaining plants at ground-level.

One thing’s for sure: Raised gardens offer a finished look that is easy for contractors or homeowners to install. Visit the Anchor Block Company website to find more inspiring planter or terraced wall photos or to download do-it-yourself instructions.

5 Multipurpose Landscaping Products

Using a single product for your landscape project can save you time — while shopping for materials and during installation (since you might not have to sort through so many different pieces or instructions) — and can give your outdoor living space a unified look. Consider these multitasking landscape products for your next project.

1. Holland paversThis classic paving system works beyond the patio, driveway or walkway to accent columns or garden walls, as shown below.

Holland paving system as wall accent

Holland pavers used as an accent can unify the look of a driveway and nearby garden wall

2. Fresco™ wall systemThe versatile pieces of the Fresco™ wall system allow homeowners and contractors to create a variety of upright landscape elements, from walls and columns to fire pits and more. But they’re also an attractive option for edging planters or paths, offering a rustic look to landscapes from the ground up.

Fresco™ blocks can be oriented in any direction to create walls, columns or landscape edging

Fresco™ blocks can be oriented in any direction to create walls, columns or landscape edging

3. 16″ x 16″ patio stone. This basic patio stone may seem like an everyday choice for a patio, but social media has made it hip to be square. Pinterest has become so filled with new ways to use or customize this stone that it’s even the theme of do-it-yourself workshops at home improvement stores across the country.

Paver Planter-THD

The 16″ x 16″ patio stone easily combines with other common building materials to create unique outdoor elements

The product also pairs perfectly as a cap or stair tread with the next item on our list, the Tango™ lawn-and-garden project block.

The 16

The 16″ x 16″ patio stone can be used as stair treads or to cap walls and columns

4. Tango™ lawn-and-garden project block. This block’s unique T-shape makes building garden walls, planters, columns and other projects as easy as 1-2-3. It can also be placed into the ground as an edger to retain mulch or soil, making the Tango project block truly the block that does it all.


The Tango™ lawn-and-garden project block can be used as a wall block or as an edger

5. Landings™ step unit. This 48-inch-long step unit adds grand style to stairways and entrances with its quarried limestone appearance — but that’s not all. Its textured rises and smooth ends allow the Landings step unit to be placed tandem or side by side to create stairways, landings or longer treads for seamless transitions between elevations in any landscape.

Landings Step Unit

The Landings™ step unit builds stairways, landings or longer treads

This list of double-duty products contains only a few of the beautiful wall and paving systems available from Anchor Block Company. Find more inspiration on our Facebook page or visit our website to request a free catalog.

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!


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.

Tango Tall Column_639x342


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.

SRW-Battered Wall_Angle 1_Small Cap_Buff-Brw

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.


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.

Tango Planter_639x342


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.

Tango Edger_639x342

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

Updated May 2015 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. DIY_installation_ill 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.

Paving and Wall Installation Tips At: Bachmans on Lyndale, Minneapolis, MN. About: Click here for event details and registration.

  • Saturday, May 23rd – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 6th – 10 a.m. to 12 p.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.


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!