AB Contractor News

Exclusively for Allan Block Contractors

Q3 2022 Issue

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AB Contractor Certification Dates

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ABU Online

Contractor ABU (Allan Block University) Online is available all year long. Check out the topics and dates below and register today for the online events that best fit your schedule. Simply click the link below for each of the events that best fits into your day:



Contractor ABU Online

Allan Block provides 8 different webinars to attend. We have two different topics each day of the week.

Offered on TUESDAYS at 8 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM CENTRAL TIME (30+ minute sessions)



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Inspiring Projects

Terraced wall with plants


Backyard patio with lights


Terraced yard with planters


Large Terraced slope


Side yard down slope with terraced planters


Backyard entertaining area expansion


Terraced front yard retaining walls


Front yard with stairs and planted


Curved wall along road with wooden fence above


Terraces and stairs at night


Backyard patio with lights


Terraced yard with planters


Terraced slope




In this Issue:

PHOTOS   PHOTOS   PHOTOS

Do you have a great project you want to share with us so we can use it?

We can promote them on our website, in our materials, or to submit for the upcoming HNA Show Project Award program!

Let us know soon and share them with us via email, dropbox or wetransfer.com to info@allanblock.com.

Your project could be featured and we could send you some cool thank you items.


What’s New @ AB: 3D Modeling – Request Realistic 3D Modeling Images to Solidify Sales

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What do you do that sets you apart from other contractors? Scribbling a project on a piece of paper just does not cut it anymore. Instead of asking your client to imagine the final landscape, why not show them? Solidify that sale by giving them a realistic image of what their final project will look like. At Allan Block, we have embraced the advancing technology and we are here to help you sell more projects.

How can we help?

We can help by using our 3D modeling software, SketchUp & Lumion, to build and create your project.

This gives you an advantage in your marketplace by giving your client a more complete design package. These added visuals can give you the leg up that you need to solidify that sale.

What do you need to do?

Simply fill out a 3D Modeling Request form and send it in to salessupport@allanblock.com. Send us any hand sketches, landscape photos, details and specifications that you may have of your project, and we can send you back a 3D image of your project.

Taking advantage of our free 3D modeling services will set you apart from other contractors in your area and could be the factor that solidifies that sale. Call us with questions 800-899-5309 ex. 214

Metro Patio Wall

Contractor Talk – Reward Yourself!!

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Send in your Allan Block project information to receive free rewards!


Allan Block has a Rewards Program for Contractors that, if you have attended our AB Certification Course, you are eligible to participate in.

What do you have to do to participate and claim your reward after the class?

AB Rewards

  1. Build an Allan Block retaining wall over 300 ft2 (28 m2)
  2. Send in your project information (rewards project tracking card)
  3. We will take care of the rest.

Each contractor has the potential to receive up to 3 rewards a year, based on how much you install. So, get your project information in while you still can.


Featured Collection – AB Collection®

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Timeless in façade, process, and appeal, the AB Collection continues to be our most popular style in our segmental retaining wall line of products. This system features a traditional, split-face look, multiple block sizes, an option for pattern designs, and can be used to build a wide variety of project applications. As a prime choice for both residential and commercial landscapes, the AB Collection’s versatility spreads vastly across reinforced walls, roadway (DOT), terraces, gravity walls, and even Parapets or double walls.

Constructing a pattern with this collection—renowned as the AB Ashlar Blend® — boasts the appearance of hand-laid stone that appears random to the eye. Additional installation steps and care make for an astonishing payoff with the final look.

AB Collection AB Collection

As our most highly produced block collection throughout the globe, the AB Collection proves time and again to be a reliable, stunning choice for forming flat, buildable land.


Contractor Program – Inside and Outside Corners

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Allan Block strongly recommends designing segmental retaining walls (SRW’s) using curves rather than corners. However, there are options to incorporate both inside and outside corners using Allan Block.

Each type of corner has their own unique modifications of block so let’s take a look at how you can install inside and outside corners when the need arises.

Inside Corners

Inside Corners can be easily constructed using any of the Allan Block Collections of products. Simply remove part of the lip on top of the block using a chisel or saw where the blocks intersect each course. For more details about constructing inside corners, check out our literature on building inside corners.

Outside Corners

Using the AB Corner Block, Outside Corners can be easily built. AB Corner Blocks are manufactured at a 12° setback but can be adjusted to work with any setback. Always start your wall at the corner and build out. For more information about adjusting the setback of an AB Corner Block, see AB Tech Sheet #298.

Inside Corners second course
Cutting Inside corner Block

Corner Blocks stacked up

Modifying corner block for setback

Miter cutting block is another option for when 90° corners or curves can’t be used. AB Tech Sheet #296 gives details on how to cut block to create 90° mitred corners. For corners that are greater than or less than 90°, simply divide the final corner degrees by 2 and cut 2 blocks to that degree before placing together.

Mitre Cut Blocks

For walls with corners that require geogrid, check out Corners with Reinforcement for details. If you have any questions about how to construct corners, reach out to us at engineering@allanblock.com.


Hot Topic: Stairs

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Over the last few months, the Allan Block Engineering team has been fielding calls about incorporating stairs into their projects. Because of that, we wanted to highlight how Allan Block can provide a solution and showcase some real-world examples.

Now, stairs can be built in all shapes and sizes, with each design requiring a unique solution to accommodate specific project requirements.

Stairs with AB Aztec Collection
Stairs with AB Collection

How is Allan Block different? Although each set of stairs is unique, the same principles for installation and construction used for retaining walls can be applied when building stairs with Allan Block. We have technical data sheets covering a few standard designs and you can find these on our website.

Parallel with Round Curves

Perpendicular with Corners

Perpendicular in the Wall

AB Rewards

What about treads and risers? Check with IBC and OSHA codes to verify the requirements but the full and half high Allan Block units can be used for the risers. The AB Capstones can be used for stair treads but don’t let that limit you, pavers, poured concrete or other natural stone products are a viable tread option as well.

Can you integrate stairs into the retaining wall? Integrating the steps directly into the wall itself is a possibility where the blocks of the wall create your steps as you build taller. Be aware of compliance to IBC 1011.5.2 and OSHA requirements detailing the riser height limits, as Allan Blocks are nominally 8 in. (200 mm) tall. This may necessitate building the steps of the stairway after the retaining wall sections are built. Separating the steps from the retaining wall gives you more flexibility to add landings to break up the stair line.

Next time you get a request to add stairs to a project know that Allan Block has you covered with creative ideas and construction support. Please reach out to engineering@allanblock.com or at 800-899-5309 x3 if you have questions or need design and construction assistance.




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