AB Contractor News

Exclusively for Allan Block Contractors

Q4 2021 Issue

Join us:


Allan Block

training opportunities

AB Contractor Certification Dates

Check Your Local Listings

Up Your Sales Skills!!
Virtual AB Advanced
Contractor Certification

  • December 14, 2021

Click HERE to Register!!

ABU Online

Contractor ABU (Allan Block University) Online is picking up the pace during the winter months. Check out the topics and dates below and register today for the online events that best fit your schedule. These events happen once a month and on the third Tuesday of each month all year long. 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.

Tuesday and Thursday at
9 AM or 3 PM CDT

Be sure to Follow us on Instagram or Facebook so we can Like and Share to promote your great Allan Block projects!

Inspiring Projects














In this Issue:

What’s New @ AB - Allan Block Advanced Residential Contractor Certification Program

Back to Top

While our original AB Contractor Certification Program focuses on the Best Practices approach to installing retaining walls, the AB Advanced Residential Contractor Certification program focuses on how contractors can raise their level of professionalism and improve their sales by becoming more efficient using the methods and tools we have developed.

Our goal with this course is to enhance your sales ability by giving you a professional sales approach and proposal for the residential market. It focuses on how to gain insight to the needs of homeowners, the importance of preconstruction meetings, and expanding the value that you can deliver while using your Allan Block Certification to your benefit. The essence of this program is helping you establish a consistent and successful way to go from obtaining a lead, to standing in the customers yard bidding on the project, to signing a contract and transforming their yard while also building your AB Resume.

In addition, we will demonstrate the tools Allan Block has to offer and how they can help you become more professional and proficient when it comes to putting a proposal together, such as our estimating tool, retaining wall app, courtyard app, 3D Modeling, AB Residential Submittal Tool, and our AB Custom Catalog Builder.

Contractor Reading Plans

If you are ready to take a step toward a more professional sales approach and higher customer satisfaction, join us for our virtual AB Advanced Residential Contractor Certification course December 14th, 2021 via go-to-webinar. Register Here! Call (800) 899-5309 or email info@allanblock.com with any questions! IACET CEU’s awarded upon successful completion.

Finish Your Year Strong!!

Back to Top

It’s always training season over here at Allan Block, our moto is “Always Better” after all. One of our most popular classes this year was the AB Contractor Certification Course. Through in-person and virtual classes, we have already had 42 AB Contractor Certification Courses in 2021 so far, with more scheduled.

You’ve attended the class, but now what?

If you attended a virtual class, please make sure to finish the two-part test that was sent to you, and check in with your local rep for a hands on session. That is a required part in completing your certification process. Please email the test to your local AB rep or education@allanblock.com

Don’t forget!

The last part of the class is to build an Allan Block wall that has a minimum height of 3 ft (0.9 m) and is a minimum of 300 units (full size or equivalent). Call your local rep, send them the rewards submittal card, or give us a call at (800) 899-5309 with a few details on the project. Once that is completed, your certification and reward will be on their way, and you will be a part of our AB Contractor Reward Program!

“I am already a part of the Contractor Reward Program”

GREAT! How wonderful would it be to get some new gear before the end of the year? Call us or fill out the rewards submittal card with projects you have built this year, and email it in for your AB Reward today! Remember, this program resets every year so make sure to get your projects before the end of the year. Finish your year strong and send in those projects!

Certification Contractor Bag

Want some added free promotion?

Send us your project photos! Either in construction or finished, we love to see you building with Allan Block. You may even see your project promoted out socially or in a future publication! Send them to info@allanblock.com.

Contractor Talk: Taller Stronger Walls

Back to Top

How can simple, flexible, synthetic mesh increase the strength of a retaining wall? The layers of geogrid, when inserted between the blocks and extending behind the retaining wall, creates a cohesive soil mass. This mass uses its own weight to resist the pressures from the soil being retained. The Allan Block cores filled with wall rock provides a “rock lock” connection between the geogrid and the Allan Block units. With proper compaction, the geogrid and wall rock form a connection that is one of the strongest in the industry.

Rock Lock
Sand & Geogrid

Our “Sand Castle” demonstration shows how soil can gain significant strength when geogrid is added. Using two cylinders of wet sand, we add geogrid reinforcement in regular intervals and compaction to one, while one is just compacted sand. The non-reinforced column crumbles under very little wight, while the reinforced column is able to hold a surprising amount of weight. Check out this video for the demonstration.

When your projects need reinforcement, use our Soil Reinforcement Chart to see the amount of AB Reinforcement Grid needed based on the conditions and the AB product that is being used to ensure a solid performing project is built.

When designed properly, Allan Block reinforced walls allow you to build very tall walls that can solve most site problems. The geogrid holds the soil together to create a single large mass that can retain much more than a non-reinforced wall. Make your next project taller and stronger with Allan Block reinforced walls.

For more information, visit our Contractor Resources Portal on our website where you have access to additional videos and webinars on a wide range of topics providing you professional answers quickly.

Don’t forget – we have our AB Contractor Certification Training that is offered virtually once a month as well as in person training coming back in some markets. Check out our schedule if you have new crew members you want to get trained and certified with Allan Block.

Featured Collection: AB ® Collection

Back to Top

When it comes to outdoor living and patio projects, look no further than the AB Collection. What started out with a single block shape has grown throughout the years to include multiple block sizes to provide customers with unique solutions to their retaining wall needs. The AB Collection has the ability to create a random patterned look by utilizing one of the many pre-set AB Ashlar Blend Patterns, bringing a hand-laid stone feel. The AB Collection is characterized by its clean lines and natural split face look that creates an aesthetically pleasing, efficient, and economical solution.

Available worldwide, the AB Collection of blocks was one of the first segmental retaining wall (SRW) supplies, remains a staple for many industry professionals and has grown over the years to include:

  • AB Stones
  • AB Classic
  • AB Jumbo Junior
  • AB Lite Stone
  • AB Junior Lite
  • AB Rocks
AB Collection

Before 1980, there was zero square feet of segmental retaining walls. Since then, it has evolved into a global industry with millions of square feet installed around the world. The AB Collection has been used in countless applications ranging from terraces to walls greater than 80 ft(25m), and is a perfect solution for any site grading challenge

Hot Topic: Fences Above a Retaining Wall

Back to Top

At Allan Block we are frequently asked how to properly install various types of fencing along the top of our walls. This question has a variety of answers depending on the fence application. The best way to address installation of a fence is to consider the plan, design, and construction of the fence and wall structure together as one system before the project begins. Often the fence or railings are overlooked and not discussed until the wall is completed. For anybody that has been associated with projects like this, they know that installing a railing after the wall is constructed is more work and often more expensive. Here are a couple of options for fence applications.

Option 1: Installed 3 feet (0.9 m) Behind the Block

Placing the fence or railing a minimum of 3 feet (0.9 m) or further behind the wall is the preferred location. This configuration applies minimal overturning forces to the back of the wall. The design can utilize the resistance from the soil mass between the wall and post footing to reduce the forces from the fence.

Commercial and Residential Builder
Commercial and Residential Builder

Option 2: Installed Behind the Block

Installing the fence or railing directly behind the block is a common application. Fences can be placed closer to the wall than 3 feet, but a design professional should be involved with the project to ensure that the top of the retaining wall can withstand the forces from the fence.

Installing a construction tube for the fence during retaining wall construction:

The wall installer and fencing contractor should coordinate the locations of all fence post footings prior to completing the top of the wall. Knowing these locations allows the wall installer to place the construction tubes while completing the top courses. This coordination eliminates the need to hand dig fence footings after the wall is complete. When placing the fence post footings the installer needs to account for geogrid obstructions where the fence posts will occur. Careful layout of the geogrid can allow for the post location to occur at a seam between geogrid rolls so that minimal cutting of the roll is necessary.

Option 3: Installing Behind Block Using Sleeve-It® by Strata

Sleeve-It® by Strata is an innovative, foundational anchoring solution for fences placed on top of mortarless retaining walls, which makes it a perfect accessory for Allan Block projects. Its distinctive, cantilevered qualities allow for solid internal reinforcement of fence posts, as well as eliminating the minimum 3ft (0.9 meter) distance from the edge of the final course of wall. This maximizes the usable space for multiple surcharge possibilities, which adds a whole new value for your customers. Pedestrian railings, safety fences, and guide rails can be integrated into the design with ease when using this exceptional fortified accessory.

Commercial and Residential Builder
Commercial and Residential Builder

It may be permissible to make a small cut in the reinforcement to accommodate the obstruction. Talk to your geogrid supplier to confirm the process for cutting the reinforcement. Care should be taken to minimize the cutting of the geogrid strands that run in the strength direction and the geogrid should be wrapped tightly around the obstruction. Stake the grid tightly before placing any backfill.

Finally, if the penetration is relatively shallow it may be possible to angle the reinforcements below the obstruction.

Installing a fence after the wall is built:

Installing a fence after the wall is built becomes a more challenging application than if the construction tubes are installed during retaining wall construction. As with all fence applications behind the wall, the installer must be aware of the geogrid location and avoid the use of a power auger where there is a potential to snag the geogrid and pull it out of the soil. The locations for the fence posts will need to be carefully dug by hand so that damage to the geogrid is minimized.

Master Wall Builder Spotlight: Matt Geryak and MG Landscaping

Back to Top

As the final days of this hardscape season comes to an end, we head to the “Crossroads of America” Indianapolis, Indiana. Home to the Indianapolis Colts and the Indy 500, this city also stands as a focal point for Allan Block retaining walls. A major reason for this is the strong presence of the Allan Block Certified Contractor Program. Allan Block and our local producer Reading Rock have found it critical that contractors have both the knowledge and professionalism needed when it comes to building Allan Block retaining walls. One contractor that has exemplified these features is Matt Geryak with MG Landscaping.

MG Landscaping

25 years ago, Matt started MG Landscape & Irrigation stating he “always enjoyed working outside and with his hands”. The business started with one crew providing lawn care services. Over the years they have grown to three crews and over 15 team members covering hardscapes, irrigation, landscaping, and maintenance. They are based in the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area, but has provided residential and commercial design/builds projects in areas as far as Richmond, Seymour, and New Castle.

In 1996, Matt wanted to expand his knowledge and his business into the segmental retaining wall realm by attending the Allan Block Certification Course. Over the years as retaining walls came up on projects, Matt returned time and time again to what he had learned over the course. With some retaining wall projects as large as 6,000 ft2 (560 m2). Matt easily advanced through his certifications. Then in 2020 Matt reached the coveted title of Allan Block Master Wall Builder having installed over 25,000 ft2 (2,400 m2) of Allan Block.

We asked Matt as to what has made the biggest impact when it comes to running a successful business? He told us, “Honesty and transparency. The goal is to develop a customer base that can trust that you always provide quality work in a timely manner.” Matt continued to learn and expand his business, letting us know he has made some mistakes along the way, but to always learn from them.

Matt and the rest of the team at MG Landscaping demonstrate professionalism with all their projects along with the knowledge that comes from years of experience in the industry. We want to thank Matt and MG Landscape for all their hard work over the years and are excited to see what the future holds for them.

bottom band

Did We Miss Someone? If you know someone at your company who doesn't want to miss out on this amazing newsletter, send them this email so they can sign-up for the Allan Block Contractor Newsletter here!

Allan Block Corporation
7424 W. 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55439
Help & Support Center: (800) 899-5309
You have received this email because you are an Allan Block Certified Contractor, Trained Contractor or otherwise affiliated with Allan Block. If you have no more interest in receiving this, please unsubscribe.