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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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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.
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Highland Stone® wall system

 

  • Built-in planters filled with flowers and grasses soften a paver patio.
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Fresco™ wall system; Slaton Plus™ paving system with Charleston™ paving system border

 

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

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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.

The Beautiful, Bold Benefits of Concrete Pavers

Outdoor improvements top the lists of popular projects for homeowners. Choosing concrete pavers to create a driveway or new patio brings benefits beyond good looks. Benefits of using concrete pavers include the following:

  • Pavers are durable and long-lasting.
  • Pavers add creativity to the landscape with many colors, textures and patterns.
  • Pavers are easy to maintain.

Strength

The first thing the eye registers when you look at a concrete paver driveway is its beauty. But beneath the beauty lie the pavers, which are made of precast concrete that has a compressive strength of 8,000 psi (pounds per square inch) – that’s about three times stronger than a poured concrete surface. So homeowners enjoy a handsome upgrade to the driveway with the assurance that the surface is designed to withstand vehicle traffic and years of use.

Concrete Paver Driveway

Driveway built using the Anchor Kingston Plus™ Paving System

Patterns

Concrete pavers can be designed and installed to make a statement. Use different colored pavers to create zones or outdoor rooms. A contrasting color makes a striking border, also known as a sailor or soldier course, around the perimeter of the area. Paver circle kits can define a space such as an entry way, or create an intimate seating area with a fire pit in the center.

Concrete Paver Patio with Patterns

Patio built using the Anchor Slaton Plus™ Paving System

Pavers are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and in many colors that blend well with outdoor environments. You can also choose from a variety of textures. Tumbled pavers have softened edges and provide an appealing time-worn appearance. Traditionally styled pavers have a smooth texture and are versatile because they complement many environments. The newest concrete pavers have the beautiful texture of natural stone combined with a flat back for easy installation.

Create a theme

Concrete pavers are perfect for creating pathways that connect and define. Using pavers as a path to a fire pit or spa not only provides practical access but preserves previous space for plants.

Kingston-Steps

Steps built using the Anchor Kingston™ Paving System

In a yard with elevations, concrete pavers used as landings between staircases provide safe access to different elevations and create more space for seating or other uses on the slope.

Low Maintenance

Unlike wooden decks that require staining or ceramic or stone surfaces that may require sealing, concrete pavers require little maintenance. Occasional sweeping or spraying with a garden hose is all that’s needed for cleaning. If food or oil leaves a spot, use a pressure washer and a mild dishwashing detergent.  If an individual paver becomes broken, the unit can be easily replaced without a noticeable patch by removing the paver, re-grading and re-compacting the base and bedding sand and installing a new paver unit.

Installation

A key benefit of using pavers is that the newly-installed surface is ready to use immediately after installation; there’s no curing or drying time. Many homeowners prefer to hire a contractor who has experience installing pavers as well as the necessary equipment and labor force.  Do your research by calling several contractors to look at your proposed project and ask for references to contact after a design and bid have been submitted.

Pavers can also be installed by do-it-yourselfers. There are pavers, materials, tools and information available at major home centers and independent lawn and garden dealers. Check our website for a list of landscape retailers and dealers near you.