Fire Features for Any Yard

Portable Fire Pits

Portable fire pits can be accommodated by spaces large and small, and don’t require the commitment of a permanent feature. Plus, they are commonly available at home improvement stores and other retailers, often for under $75. We love how the portable fire pit allows this front courtyard to transition from sunny summer afternoons to chilly fall evenings.

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Fresco™ wall system and Slaton Plus™ tumbled paving system

Permanent Fire Pits

For homeowners who are dedicated to having a fire feature as a built-in landscape element, permanent fire pits provide function and allow creativity.

Brisa® wall system

Permanent fire pits can be placed in-ground or above-ground, and can be created in circle, square/rectangle and other shapes to complement their surroundings. Some require professional installation, while others come in do-it-yourself fire pit kits.

The Brisa® wall system fire pit and seating wall in this backyard create a cozy post-hot-tub gathering spot and offer a beautiful view from the raised patio.

Brisa® wall system and xxxx paving system

Brisa® wall system and Slaton Plus™ paving system

Brisa-Fire-Pit-Detail

Outdoor Fireplaces

If you’re looking for a fire feature that truly sets the stage for entertaining family and friends (or curling up with a good book), look no further than the outdoor fireplace.

Stone Age fireplace with Highland Stone wall system

Stone Age fireplace with Highland Stone® wall system and Britton™ paving system patio

OutdoorFireplace-Patio-FreestandingWall

Stone Age fireplace with Brisa® wall system and Britton™ paving system

Outdoor fireplaces offer a variety of veneer options, including brick, pavers and even natural stone. This means your outdoor fireplace kit can be customized to fit your desired style, and will instantly transform your backyard into the ultimate getaway.

Be sure to let us know which fire feature is your favorite in the comments section below. And if you’re planning to add a fire pit or fireplace to your home’s landscape this season, check out our 5 Tips for Planning a Fire Pit to get started.

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Top Landscaping Trends: Which is Right for You?

Summer’s almost here! The season’s short but there’s plenty of time to improve your landscape. Here are the top outdoor trends to incorporate into your yard.

Living Spaces

Outdoor Kitchen Featuring Anchor™ Diamond Stone Cut® Retaining Wall

Diamond Stone Cut® Retaining Wall System, formal-face

An outdoor living space, such as a kitchen or entertaining space, was cited as the most popular outdoor design element by landscape architects surveyed by the American Society of Landscape Architects

Landscaped Gardens

Artisana® 6

Artisana® Multiheight Retaining Wall System

Landscape trends come and go, but well-designed gardens are always in style. What’s new for gardens? The rising popularity of native, drought-tolerant plants and using perennial plants for a low-maintenance landscape.

Reducing Runoff

Holland Permeable Paving System

Holland Permeable Paving System

Cities and citizens alike are looking for ways to reduce water runoff into ecosystems. Installing permeable pavers is an effective and stylish way to drain water into the ground. In addition to reducing runoff, permeable pavers naturally filter contaminants.

Fire Pits and Fireplaces

Stone Age 36

Stone Age 36″ Outdoor Fireplace

Fire pits and fireplaces are very in-demand, according to 97% of the residential architects who participated in the ASLA survey. Fire elements remain popular because of the wide range of versatile products available. Homeowners can choose do-it-yourself fire pit kits or larger fireplaces that make stylish, dramatic additions to the yard.

Which of these trends would you choose to enhance your landscape?

Share your ideas with us in the comments section or on Facebook, or visit us at www.anchorblock.com for more outdoor living inspiration.

Plan a Fall Landscaping Project

There’s plenty of great weather remaining in the Upper Midwest to complete and enjoy new landscaping projects. As you pack away the beach towels and wave to the school buses, consider these fall landscaping possibilities.

Spruce Up the Entry

Increase your home’s curb appeal in big and small ways. Start small by planting new perennials and adding seasonal, cool-weather plants like mums and pansies to transition your outdoor décor from summer to fall. Check out online resources for inspiration, like HGTV.com, which offers photos and ideas to inspire front yard creativity.

Hardscape products like pavers, columns and freestanding wall systems are a permanent way to make a great first impression. Front yard courtyards are great for seating and can be made using the Brisa® multipiece freestanding and retaining wall systems. Adding creative accents like columns, lighting, and coordinating pottery for annual plants pulls the space together for a unified look.

Beautiful Ground Cover    

Concrete paving systems are a durable, long-lasting way to improve a patio, driveway or walkway. Pavers are available in a variety of colors, textures and shapes, and many systems offer multiple sizes to create patterns.

Kingston Paver Driveway

Kingston™ paving system

Concrete pavers are manufactured to meet strength and durability requirements so they stand up well in harsh winter climates. For easy do-it-yourself paver installation instructions, visit Better Homes & Gardens.

Evening Warm-Up

There’s no better way to extend the use of your outdoor space beyond summer than with a fireplace. There are many styles and sizes available to warm up cool fall nights.

Stone Age Fire Place

Stone Age fireplace with Highland Stone® freestanding wall system

Stone Age fireplaces are modular kits that can be customized by size, shape, and choice of veneer options, including brick, pavers or natural stone. Fireplaces can be freestanding or integrated into a seating wall, with options such as storage space for wood or decorative mantles.

Fashion Meets Function

Every yard has a troublesome feature that stands between you and enjoyment. Here are some creative, attractive solutions to common landscaping challenges.

Change a hard-to-mow slope into a garden by installing terraced retaining walls.

Brisa retaining wall system

Brisa® retaining wall system

Add stairs to improve accessibility to all areas of the yard.

Diamond Stone Cut Retaining Wall

Diamond Stone Cut® retaining wall system

In low-lying areas, water pooling from poor drainage can make the space unusable. Take back the space and make it beautiful by installing pavers and retaining wall systems. Consider consulting a contractor or a landscape supply dealer to design and install a good drainage system.

Paver patio

Diamond Stone Cut® retaining wall system with Kingston™ paving system

Replace a worn or unattractive wooden deck with a raised patio and benefit from low-maintenance and extend your living area into the backyard.

Highland Stone freestanding wall system

Highland Stone® freestanding wall system

There’s plenty of warm weather left to realize your landscaping dreams.  For more information and to view our catalog, visit our website at www.anchorblock.com. Whatever inspiration you find to make your landscape dreams come true, click over to our Facebook page and tell us about your favorite projects.

Warm Up Your Landscape

Open-air fireplaces add character to your yard and can extend your enjoyment of the outdoors into cooler weather. They are also a design anchor for furnishings such as chairs and tables.

There are many types of fireplaces that serve different functions. Choose the one that’s best for you.

Do-It-Yourself Fire Pits

Do-it-yourself enthusiasts can construct a ready-to-assemble fire pit using concrete retaining wall blocks. Most fire pits require minimal yard space.

Anchor Hudson Stone fire pit

Anchor™ Hudson Stone™ fire pit kit

You can purchase the Anchor™ Hudson Stone™ fire pit kit at Lowe’s stores. The kit is easy-to-assemble and includes a liner to build a circular-shaped fire pit.

Anchor Fresco fire pit kit

Anchor™ Fresco™ fire pit kit

The Anchor™ Fresco™ fire pit kit features retaining wall blocks, a liner and cooking grate along with easy-to-follow instructions. The kit is available at The Home Depot stores and at independent landscape dealers that carry Anchor products.

Find complete fire pit installation instructions on the Anchor Block Company website.

Fireplaces

An outdoor fireplace can be a dramatic addition to your yard and there are many styles and sizes available to suit every budget and space. Stone Age fireplaces are modular kits that can be customized by size, shape, and choice of veneer options, including brick, pavers or natural stone. Outdoor fireplaces can be freestanding or integrated into a seating wall, with options such as storage space for wood or decorative mantles.

Outdoor Kitchens, Grill Surrounds and Pizza Ovens

If your culinary tastes extend beyond roasting marshmallows around a fireplace, consider an outdoor kitchen that lets you enjoy the outdoors and your family and guests while you cook.  A number of options are available.

If you enjoy your current barbecue grill, consider building a countertop and island that provides storage and work space as well as a finished, customized look. The Stone Age kits can be customized by size and shape to fit many spaces.

An outdoor pizza oven is the ultimate backyard entertaining accessory and conversation piece. Beautiful to look at, pizza ovens are great for entertaining large groups and are easy to use. Host a make-your-own pizza party around the oven and, with a little practice, you’ll find it practical for cooking appetizers and other foods, too.

Our love of a crackling fire might equal our passion to improve our outdoor spaces. Today, there are fire pits, fireplaces, kitchens and ovens to suit all tastes, budgets and spaces. Enjoy your landscape this summer and consider adding a fire to gather around.  Summed up well by author Charles Dudley Warner, “To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world.”

For more information visit our website at http://www.anchorblock.com. Whatever inspiration you find to make your landscape dreams come true, click over to Facebook and tell us what you found.

Creating an Atmosphere

According to ASLA’s 2011 Residential Trends Survey, the most popular outdoor living features this year include lighting, fire pits, seating/dining areas, grills and installed seating.

Check out the new Anchor Idea Center display at Bachman’s Lyndale location,
Minneapolis, MN. Bachman’s partnered with Anchor to create this idea center
showcasing today’s best products and ideas in landscaping.

Fire Pit

The photo above shows an Artisana® freestanding wall as a seating area surrounding a fire pit and a cobblestone patio using Kingston™ pavers.

Fireplace

The photo above features a fireplace. Nothing makes a bolder visual statement than an outdoor fireplace. Anchor fireplace kits can be used to custom design your own fireplace. This fireplace is veneered with Britton™ Northwoods pavers and additional products were used for the accents. Other Anchor™ brand products are featured throughout the display.

Check it out and create your own ideas.