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.

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.

 

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.

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!

Set Your Sights on 2014 Landscape Trends

Avid gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts use the long winter months to plan gardens and landscape improvements. If you’re ready to think spring, check out these top landscape trends and begin a little landscape planning of your own.

Modern Geometry

The sleek lines and simple shapes of mid-century modern style continue to influence fashion, home décor and the outdoor landscape.

RINN™ Padio™ 14 paving system

  • Set plank pavers — or circle- or square-shaped patio stones — a few inches apart in a bed of grass, mulch or aggregate to showcase their silhouette.
Square patio stone

Square patio stone

  • Make traditional patio bricks, like the Holland Permeable paving system, everything but by laying them in a bold running bond (shown below). Added bonus: You can use this system as a component in storm water management to minimize runoff.
Running bond paver pattern

Holland Permeable paving system

Bright and Contrasting Colors

According to “Green Scene,” a report from the Engledow Group, color is one of the most important components of a landscape plan.

  • Choose bright pillows, cheery planters or painted patio furniture to give your outdoor living area a fresh appearance from season to season.
Kingston Plus paving system

Kingston Plus™ paving system

Holland Plus™ paving system with Highland Stone® edger

Holland Plus™ paving system with Highland Stone® edger

“Natural” Beauty

Mother Nature rules when it comes to retaining wall design, with consumers and designers clamoring for functional, low-maintenance products inspired by the look of real stone.

Natural Impressions® Flagstone wall system

Natural Impressions® Flagstone wall system

Brisa® Random wall system

Easy Heat

Products that allow easy installation of permanent fire features are hot, hot, hot!

  • Build your own fire pit using the Fresco™ square or circle fire pit kit. These easy-to-assemble kits include a metal insert and are sure to enhance any outdoor hangout. Purchase a cooking grate attachment and invite the neighbors for a cookout!
Fresco Square Fire Pit Kit

Fresco™ square fire pit kit

Find more inspiration for your home’s landscape by downloading our 2014 Landscaping Collection catalog or visiting us on Facebook.

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.

5 Tips for Planning a Fire Pit

Freestanding wall and fire pit installed using Brisa® wall system

Thinking about adding a fire pit to your outdoor space? You’re not alone. Ninety-seven percent of architects polled by the American Society of Landscape Architects said fire pits and fireplaces are in demand by homeowners. Before you buy the marshmallows, consider these tips to make your project a success.

Know Your Codes

Check your city and county codes. There are communities that have banned fire pits; other cities allow fire pits but have special requirements or permits for use.

Call Before You Dig

Before digging, call your utilities company to avoid hitting underground utility lines. In Minnesota, call “Gopher State One Call” at 1-800-252-1166.  If you live outside Minnesota call 811, a new, federally-mandated national “Call Before You Dig” number created to help protect homeowners and professionals.

Find the Perfect Spot

Consider safety first when choosing a location for your fire pit.

  • The fire pit should be at least 25 feet away from hanging branches, fences, sheds and garages.
  • Don’t locate your fire pit upwind of where you’ll be seated or where the smoke will blow into your windows — or those of your neighbors.
  • Don’t place a fire pit in an enclosed area, as fumes are harmful without proper ventilation. Learn more fire pit safety tips from Anchor Block Company.

Have a Seat

Plan your project with the end result in mind. If that means endless evenings with family and friends gathered around the fire pit, think about seating. Freestanding wall systems are permanent and attractive ways to add seating and extra space to set a drink or the bag of marshmallows.

Choose Wood or Gas

The sounds and smells of a crackling fire are undoubtedly nostalgic, but to some people the reality of a wood burning fire pit – storing wood, staying vigilant about open flames, properly extinguishing the fire – isn’t as enjoyable as the convenience of a gas flame.

Consider an insert that converts your fire pit to a propane (LP) or natural gas fire pit. There are many products available for gas fire pits, including logs, lava rock or volcanic stone and even remote control starters.

Are you ready to get started planning your fire pit? You can learn more about fire pit products, including do-it-yourself fire pit kits built with Fresco™ and Hudson Stone™ retaining wall systems at www.anchorblock.com. Whatever inspiration you find to make your landscape dreams come true, tell us about it in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.