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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Image

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.
Image

Highland Stone® wall system

 

  • Built-in planters filled with flowers and grasses soften a paver patio.
Image

Fresco™ wall system; Slaton Plus™ paving system with Charleston™ paving system border

 

  • Columns act as stylish spots for light fixtures or plant pots.
Image

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.

Image

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.

What’s Your Retaining Wall Style?

It’s widely known that landscaping can add value, beauty and functional living space to a home — but that’s not all. According to the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), homeowners also value personal expression and creativity when it comes to their landscape.

Here’s some information to help you choose a retaining wall system that suits not just your landscape needs, but your style — from vintage to contemporary to traditional.

Rough-Hewn Charm

For a more natural-looking landscape, ask your landscape contractor or home improvement store associate for a concrete retaining wall system with rough-hewn (also referred to as split or distressed-split) or tumbled blocks. These systems offer a time-worn look and feature rounded edges or exposed aggregates.

Fresco wall system

Fresco™ wall system

Style idea: Combine rough-hewn or tumbled walls with candles and a fire feature to create a cozy outdoor retreat.

The Fresco™ wall system is a versatile, tumbled product that handy homeowners and contractors alike can transform into fire pits, planter walls, benches and more. (Click here for more DIY Fresco wall system project ideas.)

Grill surround featuring Fresco and Brisa wall systems

Fresco™ and Brisa® wall systems

The Highland Stone® wall system can be used to build outdoor projects of all types, such as grill surrounds or seat walls. It’s popular with residential contractors because of its versatility and availability in multiple heights.

Highland Stone® wall system

Highland Stone® wall system

Highland Stone® wall system

Highland Stone® wall system

Distinctive Look of Stone

There’s a variety of retaining wall systems with face styles inspired by the look and color of natural stone.

ChiselWall wall system

ChiselWall® wall system

Style idea: Stone-inspired walls and flowers in soft hues add elegance to any home’s landscape.

Natural Impressions® Flagstone wall system

For do-it-yourself landscapers, the Natural Impressions® Flagstone retaining wall system resembles courses of flagstone. The ChiselWall® retaining wall system looks like hand-chiseled stone.

For professionally-installed retaining walls, the Brisa® Random wall system has the look of split limestone in varying heights and sizes.

Brisa® Random wall system

Brisa® Random wall system

Traditional Style

More traditional concrete retaining wall systems are manufactured with a straight or beveled face.

The Windsor Stone® retaining wall system features a beveled face. It has long been a best-selling block because it looks great in any landscape, is easy to install and is widely available through home improvement retailers and landscape dealers across the Midwest.

Windsor Stone wall system

Windsor Stone® wall system

Style idea: Set a traditional wall system apart from the rest by adding finishing touches such as caps, curves — or both.

For more ideas on which wall system will best enhance your home landscape, view our full selection of Anchor™ retaining wall products. And don’t forget to tell us which style is your favorite in the comments section below!

Give Your Landscape a Late-Summer Edge

Rivers Edge™ Edger

Anchor™ Rivers Edge™ Edger

August is a great time to walk your landscape and plan a few late summer improvements. One easy upgrade is to install concrete edgers. Here’s how to get started.

Easy Impact

Edging products are easy to install and can be used to redefine an existing garden, create a new planting space (it’s never too early to think about planting fall bulbs) or to create a barrier to keep the flower bed mulch out of the grass. Edger products are also readily available — at big box stores, garden centers and landscape dealers. Use our Where to Buy tool to find an Anchor™ retailer in your area.

Creative Choices

Concrete edgers come in a variety of styles. The traditional bullet edger is a classic, smooth-topped product that fits any garden. Other edger products feature textured surfaces that look like natural stone. You might choose a subtle hue like cream or tan to blend harmoniously into the landscape, or a bold color like charcoal or red to complement your home’s exterior.

Getting Started

Installing concrete edgers is the perfect do-it-yourself project because there’s minimal digging or tools involved. Most edgers are around 12 inches long and weigh 9 to 12 pounds each, so they’re easy to lift and transport.

Tamper

A tamper is one of the tools you’ll want to have on hand for your edger installation.

A few days before you start digging, call 811 to confirm where underground utilities are buried and lay out a pattern with a garden hose or string. For step-by-step instructions, download How to Install Edgers.

You can learn more about landscape edging products 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.

Inside Out: Bringing the Comforts of Home Outside

If summer’s warm temperatures are luring you outdoors, here are some ways to add the comforts you enjoy inside your home to the outside.

Front Yard Courtyards

The front courtyard is America’s new gathering space. Adding patios, comfortable seating and crowd-friendly layouts makes the front yard a welcome sign for neighbors to gather and mingle. You can find more information on creative enclosure and plant ideas at Landscaping Network

Fresco™ Wall System, Slaton Plus™ Tumbled Paving System

Fresco™ Wall System, Slaton Plus™ Tumbled Paving System

Outdoor Kitchens

Let’s face it: Being the cook at a barbecue isn’t a lot of fun if you’re shuffling between kitchen and patio. The solution? Bring the kitchen outside.

Fresco-Wall-Grill

Fresco™ Wall System

You can start simple by building a grill surround to add counter space or imagine a full kitchen complete with sink and refrigerator. The possibilities are endless when the cook helps create the kitchen.

Dining and Seating Areas

No outdoor living space is complete without areas to dine, sit and relax with family and friends.

If you entertain, estimate how much patio space you’ll need for a dining area and for general seating. Upgrade the size of dining tables to serve a crowd and purchase extra chairs if necessary.

You can also define spaces by incorporating concrete wall or paving systems, by varying elevation of areas with different uses or by adding structural elements such as pergolas and columns. The landscape design below does it all!

Highland Stone® Retaining Wall System

Highland Stone® Retaining Wall System

Home Value

Improving your outdoor spaces can not only increase your enjoyment of your lawn – it can also increase the value of your home.

According to Minnesota real estate agent Erik Wood of Edina Realty, landscaping isn’t just about curb appeal anymore. “Buyers want to see how the yard is integrated into their lifestyle,” said Wood. “Raised patios with kitchens and lots of seating for entertaining are popular and really move a house to the top of the list for a potential buyer.”

Whether you aspire to nap under the sun or entertain under the stars, creating a functional outdoor living space is sure to pay off.

Visit Anchor Block Company’s website for more home landscaping ideas. Whatever inspiration you find, tell us about it in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.