The 5 Tools You Will Need Before Installing Garden Stones

There are many different ways in which a homeowner can enhance the appearance of his or her property, but there are few that are more attractive than the use of garden stones. In fact, garden stones are so versatile that they can be used in a wide variety of landscaping projects, both large and small, and they’re easy on the budget.

That being said, it’s not like the garden stones are going to spread themselves throughout your yard for you. So, you need to know what type of tools will be required for the installation. Let’s first discuss the primary tools that you’ll need prior to laying down the stones and then we’ll provide you with a quick list of steps to follow for the process.

5 Tools That You Will Need Before Installing Garden Stones

To get you started on your new landscaping project, let’s take a look at five tools that you’ll need to pick up to complete the project:

Steel Rake 

You’ll need a steel rake for a couple of reasons. First, you can use it to rake leaves and other debris out of your yard to start prepping the area for garden stones. The second use for the rake is to even out areas of dirt and the garden stones throughout the preparation process.


Another handy tool that you should pick up for the job is some type of weed eater that will help you get rid of both grass and weeds from your yard. There are a variety of types of weeders, including ones that allow you to stand up while you’re pulling them out, just in case you have any physical ailments that prevent you from being on your hands and knees or knelling to yank them out of the ground.

Hand Tamper

The next tool you’ll need is a hand tamper, which allows you to firmly press down the soil to pack it down. This will be used a few times throughout the preparation process, so make sure that you don’t neglect to pick one up from a gardening department if you don’t already have one.

Landscape Fabric

This is an item that some homeowners seem to forget about when they’re prepping their yard for garden stones, and that could be a big mistake. Even though you’ve pulled the weeds from your yard and spread down weed killer, you should put down a layer of landscape fabric, which will stop any straggling weeds from coming up.


If you do any kind of landscaping work at your home, it’s probably a good idea to have a wheelbarrow in the event that you need to haul a large amount of materials or other items from one place to another. In this case, if you’re receiving garden stones in bulk, this makes moving them to the correct spot a lot easier.

5 Quick Steps to Install Garden Stones

You can see a more detailed list of steps by clicking here, but we thought it’d be a good idea to provide a truncated version to start you off:

Kill Grass and Weeds

The first thing you need to do to prepare your lawn for the installation of garden stones is to kill all of the grass and weeds in the designated areas where you’ll be spreading them. You can start by pulling out as many of the weeds as you can with your trusty weeder, and then spread down some herbicide to get what you missed.

Dig into the Soil

The next step is to dig into the soil by approximately four inches through the area where the garden stones will be spread so that the rocks aren’t placed on uneven ground. If the ground is uneven, you’ll want to grab your steel rake, smooth it out, and then use the hand tamper to compact the soil.

Apply Crushed Stone Pack and Landscape Fabric

In addition to the tools listed above, you’ll also want to pick up some crushed stone pack. Spread approximately 2 1/2 inches of the pack over the compacted soil, use your steel rake to make it even, spray it with a bit of water, and compact it to two inches thick with the hand tamper. Once the crushed stone pack is in place, it’s time to lay down the landscape fabric to stop any weeds from coming up that you might have missed.

Apply Edging

The good news is that you’re almost finished! With the crushed stone pack and landscape fabric down, you need to lay edging around the yard. Follow the landscape fabric edges and lay down the edging there, which will provide additional protection by enforcing the area where you will be placing the garden stones.

Add the Garden Stones

This is the part you’ve all been waiting for, and it’s actually where you get to have some fun. Move your desired garden stones to the prepared area and simply spread them out evenly in the spot. Leave approximately 1/2 inch from the top so that the rocks don’t spill over during a rain. Then, as you might have guessed, spread the stones evenly with your steel rake.

Purchasing Garden Stones in New Jersey

Prior to picking up the required tools for your landscaping project involving garden stones, you should first hunt down a reputable supplier. Braen Supply has been providing all types of landscaping materials for nearly 20 years and can help you get the most out of your next project. Our knowledgeable staff can assist you with selecting the right type of garden stones for your project, give you advice on its specifications, and answer any questions you have. In fact, we’ve recently added landscape design to our expertise, so feel free to come in and speak with our designer, who will help analyze your project’s needs and send you to a reputable contractor. We can have materials bulk-delivered throughout most of NJ and parts of NY, CT, and PA or you can pick up the materials at our New Jersey location.

New Call-to-action

The Top 10 Creative Ways To Use Decorative Aggregates In Your Yard

If you’ve decided to embark on the adventure of creating a landscape project for your home, we salute your efforts. When searching for a way to make your landscaping project truly stand out, there’s a good chance that you’ll eventually consider the use of decorative aggregates. Given the wide variety of choices available and how they spruce up absolutely any project, it’s obvious why you’d want to use them.

There are almost an endless number of ways that you can utilize decorative aggregates to improve the overall appearance of both your front and backyard. It would be impossible to cover all of them, so what we’ve done is put together a list of some of the more creative uses that homeowners have come up with over the years. Choose one, two, or even a few of them to really help your landscaping project stand out.

Use as a Walkway

Although the first thing that your friends and family will see when they approach your home is the front of the house itself, having an attractive walkway as they make their way to your front door is a fantastic way to set the mood of their visit. Decorative aggregates can be placed closely together into the ground as a way to create a gorgeous, colorful walkway, either as a full path or as a series of stepping stones. You can also shape them into animals and whatnot, or whatever else you desire.

Enhance a Pool Deck

Since swimming pools are such a popular place for people to hang out when they come to visit, the deck area is definitely a place where you want to focus a good deal of your creative energy. You really can’t go wrong with any type of decorative aggregates surrounding your deck, but if you’re going for a tropical look, which many homeowners like to do, there are several different colorful types for you to choose from.

Base of a Mailbox

Many homeowners seem to ignore their mailbox when it comes to attempting to spruce up the appearance of their front yard, but this is a mistake. After all, your mailbox is typically situated at the very front of your yard, which is exactly why so many people decorate the mailbox itself. Adding decorative aggregates to the base of the mailbox will improve its appearance with very little effort.

Line a Walkway

Rather than using decorative aggregates to actually create the walkway leading up to your front door or through your yard, you can also use them to line your existing or future walkway. Doing so will improve the path’s appearance with minimal effort or cost involved. This is a quick and easy use of decorative aggregates that can make a big impact for both household members and visitors to your home.

Flower Bed Edging

Flower beds have become a very popular feature in a variety of landscaping layouts due to the colorful beauty that they can add to both your front yard and backyard. You can increase the attractiveness of flower beds by either filling the entire area with decorative aggregates or use them around the edges to accentuate the plants and flowers.  No matter which way you decide to go, the end result will be absolutely fantastic.

Base of Trees

While the presence of trees will definitely improve the look of your home, not to mention the environmental impact, the truth is that most aren’t exactly exciting or especially colorful in appearance unless they’re bearing fruit or flowers. This makes them the perfect area for adding a collection of decorative aggregates. Simply create a circular pattern, or any shape you would like, around the base of the tree and place your selected aggregates there.

Spotlight a Fire Pit

Many modern homeowners have been redoing their backyard by putting in a fire pit for themselves and others to enjoy. This is an especially popular area during the winter months, but it’s a great place to hang out all year round. Laying down some decorative aggregates is a great way to spruce up its appearance and make the time spent with family and friends around it even better.

Decorate a Slope

When your front yard has a slope due to an uneven ground,  it can actually look pretty cool even if there’s nothing more than grass growing there. However, if you’re looking for a way to make it stand out, then adding decorative aggregates is a perfect choice. In fact, because of the angle, the aggregates will be quite visible, which will help beautify the entire yard and add curb appeal.

Meditation Garden

In today’s often stressful society, it’s important that you relax and regroup from time to time. A meditation garden with decorative aggregate can provide a calming effect for household members and visitors. You’ll be able to choose soothing, pleasant colors that will help bring harmony to your household. And even if you’re not really into meditation or other holistic methods, this type of design is a wonderful idea just for the beautification aspect.

Highlight a Water Structure

Water structures are a very popular landscaping option because they truly add something special and unique to any type of layout. You can highlight these structures by placing decorative aggregates around their base or in the area nearby. Another option is to you choose some aggregates that match the color of the water structure itself to enhance its overall size and appearance.

Buying Decorative Aggregates in New Jersey

Whether you use decorative aggregates in a traditional landscaping design or something a bit more creative, you’re going to need a reliable supplier like Braen Supply. Our team of experts have been providing materials for almost 20 years, and we also perform landscape design where we will analyze your project’s needs and hook you up with a reputable contractor. Our materials are competitively priced, and you can either drop by our facility to pick them up or have them bulk delivered to most areas throughout NJ and parts of NY, CT, and PA.

Request a Quote on Decorative Rock

5 Quick Tips About Using Decorative Gravel In Your Flower Beds

Dedicating part of your residential or commercial landscape to flower beds is a wonderful way to give the area some real pizzazz. Even if people don’t always seem to notice, flowers have a tendency to work on visitors in a subconscious way. Thanks to their attractive appearance and pleasant scent, they make people feel happy and relaxed. Simply put, flower beds are a fantastic compliment to any property.

While it is true that the flowers you choose are extremely important, what often makes a flower bed really stand out is the choice of material that you use inside the bed. One great choice that many homeowners and business owners have been opting for in recent years is the use of decorative gravel. To help you get the most out of this choice, we have compiled a few simple tips to get you started:

Understand the Benefits of Decorative Gravel

The first thing you should look at when deciding if decorative gravel is the right choice to make for your flower bed is the benefits. Here are a few:

  • Attractive Appearance — First and foremost, the benefit you’ll immediately notice with decorative gravel is its beautiful appearance. With the different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures at your disposal, your flower beds will compliment any landscape.
  • Improved Drainage — Many people don’t seem to realize that decorative gravel provides better drainage for their plants and flowers. After it rains, the gravel will allow the water to drain at the perfect speed so as to avoid the plants drying out or retaining too much moisture, thereby providing perfect growing conditions.
  • Temperature Control — When the sun is out and beating down on your flowers, they are susceptible to drying out more quickly. Decorative gravel acts as a barrier between the sun’s rays and the soil around the flowers. Adversely, the gravel also stops too much water from evaporating.
  • Longevity — While mulching solutions decay over time and must be replaced periodically, decorative gravel will basically last forever. Plus, since there’s a lack of decay, pests like rodents and insects are less likely to become a problem.

Choose the Right Type for Your Flower Bed

Now that you understand the benefits of decorative gravel, it’s time to focus on choosing the right type for your flower bed. Here are four of the most common options:

  • Pea Gravel — Due to their size, shape, and smooth appearance, pea gravel has always been a popular choice amongst homeowners and business owners. The stones vary in color, which means you’ll have plenty of types to choose from.
  • Jersey Shore Gravel — This yellow gravel has been given the moniker of “Jersey Shore” gravel due to its popularity in the area. It is so prevalent that you might not even notice just how much it’s used. Look around, though, and you’ll see that it’s everywhere, which makes it a wonderful choice for flower beds.
  • Mexican Beach Pebbles — These small stones have been rounded by flowing waters over time and include a variety of natural, attractive tints. Their appearance has made them extremely popular for both residential and commercial applications.
  • River Rock — If you’re looking for a type of stone/gravel that is both smooth in appearance and features several different colors to choose from, river rock might be just what the landscaper ordered. The best part is that river rock isn’t expensive, which makes it a great solution for flower beds and other landscaping projects.


Take Your Time with Making a Decision

Even though a flower bed may seem like a small project when compared to full-on landscaping jobs, it isn’t something you want to rush or take for granted. With the right type of flowers and a complimentary decorative gravel to go along with them, you can greatly improve the appearance and functionality of your property. The basic idea here is to avoid rushing into a decision and then regretting it afterward. Do your research and don’t be afraid to get help from others (which we’ll cover below). This will help ensure that the result is a beautiful set of flower beds that you can be proud of.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Friends for Advice

There’s a good chance that some of your friends have installed flower beds at their homes. The same could be true for neighbors or fellow business owners near you. The point is that asking for advice never hurts, and they may be able to give you some insight into what constitutes an attractive, effective flower bed. This is especially true if they have experience in landscaping that far exceeds your own. Reach out to anyone close that you trust and the results might be even better than expected.

Consult with Experts for Design Options, If Necessary

If you’ve exhausted the advice of all your friends and neighbors, or simply don’t have anyone close to you that have used flower beds and decorative gravel in the past, then you should feel free to consult with experts on the matter. There’s probably no reason to pay for landscapers for a consult, of course, which means that your gravel supplier should be asked. A good supplier will have the knowledge and expertise required to give you all of the information you need or tell you where to find the answers to your questions.

Buying Decorative Gravel in NJ

The first step to using decorative gravel in your flower bed is to find a reputable supplier of the material. Braen Supply has proven itself as the number one supplier for all of New Jersey’s landscaping needs for both residential and commercial use. Our team of skilled professionals will help you select the right material for an upcoming job, instruct you in its usage, and answer any questions you may have. We are available to assist you before, during, and after any given project. Our decorative gravel is competitively priced and can be picked up at your convenience or delivered in bulk throughout parts of NJ, NY, NYC, and PA.

New Call-to-action

5 Decorative Gravels That Will Spruce Up Your Landscaping

Landscaping projects are always awesome and exciting, and one reason for this is that they come with a ton of available choices. This means that every homeowner or business owner who is attempting to beautify their property and improve its curb appeal must dive into the multiple types of design and style options available before any kind of construction or installation can be done. A big part of this pre-planning phase includes choosing the type of material (or materials) that will be used in the project.

Decorative gravel has been a popular choice for improving the appearance of a residential or commercial property, and have proven to be a fantastic replacement or alternative to mulching options. A big reason for this is that there are several types to choose from, each with their own individual properties, but which also typically serve the same basic functions. Each of these types of gravel will look great, improve drainage and temperature control, help deter pests due to a lack of decay, and basically last forever.

Of course, choosing the one that’s perfect for your specific landscaping project may be a little tricky since all of them make fantastic choices. Any of them will work, but it comes down to personal preference more than anything. To help you out a bit by giving you a head start on what each of these types of decorative gravel is all about, let’s dive into the five primary choices, and then you can decide from there.

Decorative Gravel Type #1: Pea Gravel 

Pea gravel is, without a doubt, the most popular type of decorative gravel available. These small, round stones feature a “pea-like” shape and texture, with a smooth surface and attractive appearance that has proven to make them extremely appealing for both residential and commercial applications. You’ll find them in various colors, such as black, white, gray, brown, tan, green, and red. Their appearance makes them very versatile in the use of landscaping projects and, due to their commonality, they are an affordable option that will fit any budget. Many homeowners and business owners will also use them to complement other types of stone in order to add a better aesthetic to an already beautiful landscape.

Decorative Gravel Type #2: Mexican Beach Pebbles

As you might have guessed from the name, these decorative stones are found along the sandy shores of Mexico’s coast. They are typically blue or gray, but will turn deep black or onyx when they are exposed to water. This gives them a unique look amongst other decorative stones, especially when it’s raining or you’re watering the area. Thanks to being exposed to the Pacific Ocean’s crashing waves over a long period of time, Mexican beach pebbles have a smooth, round appearance. Depending on the type of project you’re undertaking, you may want to choose smaller or larger variations of these stones. For instance, the smaller types are better for flower beds and garden planters, whereas the larger types are great for lawns, walkways and similar projects.

Decorative Gravel Type #3: White Marble Chips

This type of decorative gravel is a bit more subdued than other choices, which makes these chips perfect if you’re not going for a flashy or overly colorful appearance. These stones are usually white with one or more gray streaks. Plus, they offer a shimmering surface that almost looks like it’s covered with specks of glitter. While possibly not as fancy as other choices, white marble chips will look great in a variety of projects.

Decorative Gravel Type #4: Yellow “Jersey Shore” Gravel

Affectionately known as the “Jersey Shore” gravel, this decorative gravel is commonplace throughout the state of New Jersey. The name derives from the fact that the yellow, golden, brown, and tan appearance of these stones gives a sense of spending time at the beach, especially the Jersey Shore. These colors work great with all types of plants, regardless of style or shade. Plus, they are very affordable, which makes them an even better choice for a variety of landscaping projects.

Decorative Gravel Type #5: River Rock

Think of river rock as a kind of hybrid of pea gravel and Mexican beach pebbles. Basically, this type of decorative gravel gives you the color options of pea gravel and the water-washed smoothness and visual effect of Mexican beach pebbles. These rocks add character to practically any landscaping project and, like a couple of other options on this list, are inexpensive. This means you could basically cover your entire landscape in river rock and it wouldn’t set you back too much.

Purchasing Decorative Gravel in NJ

Once you have decided that decorative gravel would be perfect for your next landscaping project, you’re going to need a reputable supplier that can help you get started by supplying you with the material. Braen Supply has spent years developing a wide knowledge of landscaping needs and can provide you with a variety of materials based around each project. Our team of experts can assist you before, during, and after your project, whether you’re still trying to decide on which material to use or would like advice on how to get the most out of the design. You are welcome to stop by our physical location or order in bulk and have the material delivered to many areas throughout parts of NJ, NY, and PA.

New Call-to-action

Cedar Mulch vs. Decorative Gravel: What Is Best For My Flower Beds?

If you’ve been looking for a way to spruce up your residential or commercial property, flowers will certainly hit the spot. No matter which types of flowers you choose to decorate the area, the colors, shapes, and aromas will stand out amongst the rest of the vegetation and improve your curb appeal. This is why so many homeowners and business owners install flower beds on their property, often as a compliment to the landscaping that already exists.

Two great options for filling in your flower beds include cedar mulch and decorative gravel. While the basic functionality of each choice remains the same, there are a few differences between them that are important to point out. Today, we’re going to take a look at a few of the benefits and types of both cedar mulch and decorative gravel, and then you can decide which is more appealing for your specific needs and/or personal preference.

Benefits of Cedar Mulch

First, let’s take a look at the primary benefits of cedar mulch:

  • Appearance — The light hues available with cedar mulch allow for a soft, neutral color palette that is easy to incorporate into any style of landscape.
  • Pleasant Aroma — The pleasant, soothing aroma will encapsulate your home or business, providing you and your visitors with a warm, welcoming feeling.
  • Temperature Control — The light hues that are available also helps maintain proper temperatures around your flowers by absorbing just the right amount of sunlight.
  • Moisture Control — Cedar mulch will prevent moisture from evaporating due to the sun’s rays, helping to maintain adequate moisture and promote healthy growth.
  • Valuable Nutrients — The decomposition that mulch goes through will enrich the soil with organic matter, adding valuable nutrients to your flowers.

Benefits of Decorative Gravel

Now, let’s take a look at the primary benefits of decorative gravel:

  • Appearance — Decorative gravel comes in multiple shapes, sizes, and colors, giving you more than enough options to beautify the flower beds on your property to your liking.
  • Better Drainage — Proper health of your flowers can occur more easily due to decorative gravel’s ability to drain properly following a rain, but not so much that they dry out.
  • Temperature Control — With its ability to regulate soil temperatures, decorative gravel will ensure that the ground doesn’t overheat, which could cause the flowers to dry out.
  • Long-Lasting — Unlike cedar mulch, decorative gravel doesn’t degrade or decay over time, which means that you won’t need to switch it out periodically.
  • Pest Control — Decay attracts rodents and insects, but since decorative gravel doesn’t decay over time, you don’t have to worry about your flower bed becoming a beacon for pests.

Types of Cedar Mulch

The choice between the types of cedar mulch available on the market comes down to three different colors:

  • Red Cedar Mulch — This is the flashiest of the cedar mulch that’s available, so if you’re looking for something that will stand out amongst colorful flowers, this could very well be the one for you.
  • Brown Cedar Mulch — Due to its more “earthy” appearance, this specific cedar mulch is often popular amongst those who want their flower bed to look as natural as possible.
  • Black Cedar Mulch — Since almost everything looks great in black, this color can help your flower bed stand out thanks to a stark contrast between the mulch and your brightly colored flowers.

Types of Decorative Gravel

Decorative gravel is available in a few different types, with these being the most common:

  • Pea Gravel — This is, hands down, the most popular choice of decorative gravel due to its small, round shape, texturing, smooth appearance, and multiple colors.
  • Mexican Beach Pebbles — These stones hail from the Mexican coast, have been exposed to years of crashing waves, come in a variety of sizes, and turn deep black/onyx when exposed to water.
  • Yellow Gravel — Also known as “Jersey Shore” gravel, these yellow, tan, and golden stones have become commonplace throughout the state of New Jersey.
  • White Marble Chips — These small stones are known not only for the gray streaks found against their typically white primary color, but the fact that the surface almost looks like it’s covered by glitter.
  • River Rock — Often seen as a cross between Mexican beach pebbles and pea gravel, river rock offers the smoothness of the former and the color variety of the latter.

Best Way to Choose Between Them

To be honest, choosing between cedar mulch and decorative gravel for your flower beds will often come down to personal preference. Perhaps you believe that mulch has an aesthetic that is more to your liking, or maybe you prefer decorative gravel because it will last much longer. Regardless of which one you choose, the effect that a flower bed will have on your residential or commercial property will be stupendous and really add to your curb appeal. And guess what? There’s really no wrong choice! But, if you’re having difficulty making a decision and want some friendly, knowledgeable advice, we would suggest asking your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or even a professional in the industry.

Buying Mulch and Decorative Gravel in New Jersey

Whether you choose to use mulch or decorative gravel in your flower beds, you’ll need to seek out a reputable supplier. Braen Supply has been serving New Jersey and surrounding states for many years, and has become the #1 supplier of landscaping stones, gravel, and other materials thanks to our high-level of quality and excellence that we bring to everything we do. Our experts can help you make decisions about upcoming projects, give you advice on how to improve an existing landscaping effort, or simply answer any questions you have about a certain material that you’ve been considering for your residential or commercial property. Braen Supply can deliver materials in bulk to many areas throughout parts of NJ, NY, and PA, or you can stop by our physical location in New Jersey.


New Call-to-action

The Complete Techo-Bloc Installation Guide: Pavers, Slabs & More

Everyone loves Techo-Bloc! As a leading designer and manufacturer of high quality, affordable hardscaping and landscaping materials, Techo-Bloc has quickly become the “go-to” option for NJ homeowners looking to upgrade their properties with gorgeous pavers and slabs.

Making the decision to work with Techo-Bloc pavers and slabs is only part of the process, though. From here, you need to be able to properly install the materials so that they will continue to look and function magnificently in the many years ahead.

The following Techo-Bloc installation guide will help you to have a better understanding of what is involved in the process of giving your landscape a makeover with Techo-Bloc products.

Get a Professional Opinion

Before you start excavating your yard and diving into your Techo-Bloc project, we strongly urge you to seek out the opinion of your local utility provider or city planner.

These professionals will be able to carefully evaluate your property to ensure that you don’t accidentally end up digging up an important utility line or covering up access to underground pipes and cables.

You may also find that, in some areas, a city planner must “Okay” your plans before you’re able to legally proceed with work. Taking the time to do your due diligence before working will pay off in the long run.

Gather Your Tools

Once you’ve been given the stamp of approval to get started on your work, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got everything you need in order to get the job done properly.

In addition to having the right quantity of Techo-Bloc pavers and slabs on hand, you’ll also need plenty of crushed stone and sand for a foundation and setting bed. To excavate the area, you may need shovels or heavy-duty equipment, depending on the size of your project space.

A vibrating plate, tamping tool, or other means of compacting your materials will also be required. A polymer stabilizer will be necessary in order to keep your pavers and slabs in place.

Finally, you may also want to consider any edging or curbing material that you would like to use to create a border around your finished project area.


Now we’ve come to the point in our Techo-Bloc installation guide where we’re ready to break ground. For smaller projects, you may be able to get away with using a shovel and wheelbarrow.

The majority of landscaping and hardscaping undertakings, however, will demand the use of more heavy duty excavation equipment, such as a Bobcat. When laying pavers and slabs for patios, walkways, driveways, etc., you will need to take care to ensure that you excavate to the appropriate depth.

The heavier the load that the pavement will be faced with, the greater the depth will need to be. It’s usually a good idea to consult with a landscaping professional in order to ensure depth requirements.

It’s best to do this before beginning the excavation process, as knowing the proper depths will also make it easier for you to order the correct quantity of base materials.

Throughout the excavation process, you will also need to pay attention to the slope. As a general rule, you should strive for achieving slopes in increments of 1.5% so as to allow for proper drainage.

Once the area has been excavated, you will need to take steps to clear away any stones, roots, large sticks, or other debris.

Compact the soil if it is granular, however, if it has a clay consistency you should apply a thin layer of lime and crushed stone before proceeding with compaction. Finally, add some geotextile fabric to prevent weeds from growing through the base over time.

Pour the Foundation

Now that the base has been prepared, you’re ready to pour your crushed stone into the trench in order to create a solid foundation.

In most cases, you don’t want your crushed stone to be any larger than 3/4″. Once the crushed stone has been introduced to the trench, it should be firmly compacted for structural integrity.

Establish the Setting Bed

The next phase of our Techo-Bloc paver installation guide involves establishing a setting bed for your pavers. Here, you’ll need to apply a layer of bedding sand (concrete sand) on top of the crushed stone.

The sand will help to keep the pavers in place while also filling in any voids and adding to the overall strength and integrity of the foundation.

Next, install two pipes directly on top of the crushed stone base and bedding. These pipes should have an outside diameter of 1″. The pipes will work to help with drainage

Lay Down Your Pavers

This is the part of the Techo-Bloc installation guide that you are likely most interested in. At this point in time, we’re ready to actually start installing your Techo-Bloc pavers or slabs so that you can start enjoying the new look and feel of your landscape or hardscape.

We recommend working from the outside edge inward, always laying down two “stones” at a time at a 90-degree angle. Walk on the pavers or slabs as they are installed in order to help them settle into the stand.

Make sure that you carefully follow the pattern or design you have selected, and work to ensure that all pavers are installed evenly.

Fill In the Joints

The final phase of our Techo-Bloc installation guide involves filling in the joints between pavers or slabs in order to ensure that they remain in place and will continue to meet your needs in the many years. Use a polymer stabilizer in order to fill in each joint.

Sweep any loose polymeric sand into the joints and make sure that any excess is swept away before it is allowed to activate and harden.

Once the joints have been filled, you can use a vibrating plate to help the pavers or slabs to further settle into the sand bed for long-term stability. Finally, do another sweep of the pavers in order to remove excess sand, and apply water to the joints in order to activate the polymers.

DIY or Contractor?

If you’ve been successful in previous DIY-type projects throughout your landscape and feel comfortable with the above steps, you will find that adhering to this Techo-Bloc installation guide is quite simple.

Those who do not feel as confident in their ability to follow these steps should consider working with a Techo-Bloc Authorized Contractor in order to ensure that the job gets done in a way that will meet your expectations and protect your product warranty.

Working with Techo-Bloc Pavers and Slabs in NJ

Braen Supply is the leading Techo-Bloc supplier for pavers, slabs and similar products in NJ and its surrounding areas. We are Authorized Techo-Bloc dealers and can provide you with access to the latest and most beautiful Techo-Bloc products at the lowest prices possible.

We are also more than happy to provide you with answers to all of your installation questions and to point you in the direction of an authorized contractor who can help make your landscaping dreams come true.

Visit our showroom to see our Techo-Bloc products and get started today. We bulk deliver Techo-Bloc materials throughout parts of NJ & NY and limited parts of PA & CT.

New Call-to-action

How to Incorporate the Techo-Bloc Mini Creta Collection into Your Next Project

What does your perfect building block look like? For many NJ homeowners, Techo-Bloc’s Mini Creta collection meets everything they want and need.

The rough and rugged finish of these concrete blocks gives them the aged look of natural stone at a fraction of the cost. They are absolutely beautiful and come in a number of warm, aesthetically pleasing color families which makes it easy for anyone to fall in love with the faux “stone.”

So how can you bring Techo-Bloc Mini Creta blocks into your own landscape? Here are a few awesome suggestions for introducing this incredible collection to your home.

Retaining Walls

Many NJ homeowners find themselves in need of retaining walls in order to preserve the integrity of their sloped or hilly landscapes.

In addition to preventing erosion, a well-constructed and well-planned Mini Creta retaining wall can add a great deal of beauty to the entire property, and can even allow for more outdoor living space through the construction of various levels or terraces

. Mini Creta blocks are especially great for tasks like these because they are extremely attractive and very durable. The blocks are able to withstand heavy lateral loads and will hold up well against the elements – no matter what Mother Nature throws their way.

Freestanding/Dividing Walls

The Techo-Bloc Mini Creta collection is good for more than just retaining walls. Because Mini Creta blocks are designed with a chiseled and textured look on all sides, the materials can be used in the construction of freestanding walls where the wall can be viewed from multiple locations.

This allows for a lot of freedom in terms of constructing non-load-bearing walls that exist either purely for decorative purposes, or for creating a division between two distinct “rooms” or areas within your outdoor living space.

The beautiful walls will add a lot of warmth and beauty to your space while helping to create a more spatially aware design concept.

Wall Seating

Whether you’ve constructed a retaining wall or a freestanding wall, you can accentuate your Mini Creta wall by incorporating seating that is built right into the feature. The Techo-Bloc Mini Creta collection pairs nicely with slabs and caps which can be used to create a bench top for recessed areas that are set into the wall.

This creates a warm, cozy and inviting atmosphere. This type of wall seating can be used for reading on a sunny day, for added entertaining space in your outdoor living room, for seating around a fire pit, etc.

Raised Planters

Growing flowers, vegetables and other plant life takes a lot of time, passion and dedication. Once your plant life has started to blossom, you want to have the ability to truly show it off and enjoy it.

One smart way to do this is by planting your flowers or your garden in a raised planter that is constructed with Mini Creta wall blocks. The naturalistic appearance of the blocks works perfectly within the scope of your plantings, and the rich texturing of the “stone” contrasts against the smooth shapes of petals and leaves in order to create something truly intriguing and special.

A Mini Creta raised planter can also help to protect your pants against high winds, from being trampled, or from being eaten by critters.


Wall blocks like those found in the Techo-Bloc Mini Creta collection can be used to construct gorgeous and highly functional staircases throughout the exterior of your home’s property.

Whether you choose to use the blocks for only the walls surrounding the staircase or you decide that the blocks will also work nicely for the stars themselves, you’ll be very pleased with the end result.

Your finished project will be a stately and elegant staircase that will be structurally sound and reliable while looking incredible from all sides. As mentioned previously, Mini Creta blocks pair nicely with caps and treads for a completely polished look.

Tiered Seating

It’s not uncommon for NJ homeowners to have all or part of their outdoor living spaces and patios located below grade. These recessed areas dip into the ground for intimate living areas, cozy fireplaces, etc.

The stairs leading down to recessed or below grade outdoor living spaces can be constructed from Mini Creta Blocks, and they can even be elongated and capped off in order to double as relaxed, stadium-style seating around a fire pit.

Outdoor Kitchens

Mini Creta blocks are very useful in the design and construction of an outdoor kitchen. If you’re like most homeowners, you want your outdoor cooking area to have many natural elements while still looking fabulous when contrasted against your shiny, new stainless steel appliances.

The chiseled face of Mini Creta blocks give them that “true blue”, au-natural vibe that you crave while still offering an element of modern luxury and elegance. For this reason, the Techo-Bloc Mini Creta collection is well suited for engineering cooking counters, grill islands, etc. throughout the outdoor kitchen.

Fire Features

Some NJ homeowners have elected to construct their own outdoor fire features, like raised fire pits, out of materials like Techo-Bloc Mini Creta blocks, as opposed to purchasing pre-planned kits. Mini Creta’s rugged look is perfect for a fire setting, and creates a vibrant atmosphere for gathering with friends and family for an evening under the stars.


Tie the look of your entire outdoor living space together by picking up a Techo-Bloc Mini Creta pillar kit. This kit was developed by popular demand in order to enhance the look of Mini Creta wall blocks, or even to add a special flare to walls that feature other Techo-Bloc products.

The chiseled look of the blocks can be viewed from all sides of the pillars, allowing you to enjoy the feature no matter where you’re positioned. Pillars can create a more upscale and stately look for your home, increasing property value. They are very easy to install and will continue to look beautiful for a lifetime.

Choosing the Right Design

Your landscaping designs with Techo-Bloc Mini Creta blocks are limited only by your imagination. In order to settle on the right design for your home, however, we recommend that you spend some time checking out Techo-Bloc’s Designer’s

Toolbox which offers a number of great tools for visualizing your finished project and coming up with the best ideas for patterns and layouts. You can also consult with a landscape design professional or your local Techo-Bloc dealer for advice.

Working with Techo-Bloc Mini Creta in NJ

As the leading Techo-Bloc supplier in NJ, Braen Supply is the best place to go for your Mini Creta landscaping needs. As authorized Techo-Bloc dealers, we have access to the entire Mini-Creta wall and pillar collection, ensuring that you have your pick of of colors and styles when you’re ready to begin your landscaping project.

Our local showroom can help you to get a better idea about how your completed landscape might look, and to provide you with design inspiration. You can count on the fact that we always offer competitive pricing on Techo-Bloc materials.

Our blocks from the Techo-Bloc Mini Creta collection can be picked up at your convenience or can be bulk delivered to areas throughout parts of NJ & NY and limited parts of PA & CT.

New Call-to-action

3 Simple Rules for When to Buy Rock Salt

Ready or not, winter is here! That means it’s time to start thinking about how you plan on handling snow and ice. If you’re like most NJ residents, your primary means of dealing with the slippery stuff Mother Nature throws your way is by making use of rock salt.

But when, exactly, should you start stocking up on rock salt or other ice melting materials? Is there a right time to buy rock salt? This guide will lay down three simple rules for when you should purchase your ice melting product this winter.

Rule #1: Buy Before It Snows

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to wait until snow starts to fall before heading to the store to buy rock salt. Once a winter storm has already arrived, you’re going to be forced to go out into dangerous and potentially icy conditions in order to pick up your de-icer.

At the same time, many other drivers will be out on the road trying to do the same thing that you are. The combination of inclement weather and high volumes of traffic is a recipe for car accidents. It’s just as bad to wait until the local weather announcer tells the community that a big storm is on the way.

Although you won’t have to drive in snow or ice, you will still have to navigate the streets and the stores when they are filled to capacity with frantic shoppers trying to buy rock salt before the storm arrives. The better, smarter and safer thing to do is to stock up on rock salt and other ice melting compounds before the winter season actually starts.

Having rock salt on hand before your hour of need (or before any surprise storms hit) will leave you with peace of mind and a sense of calm. It’s easy to store rock salt in sealed containers at temperatures above freezing, so there’s no reason not to buy your materials early and enjoy the ability to relax for the rest of the season.

Rule #2: Buy While It’s Fresh

Although you may think that rock salt has an unlimited lifespan, it’s actually much fresher and more effective at the beginning of the season. The longer the material sits on the shelf, the more time it has to clump together and settle, thus becoming less effective.

Some stores also fail to store their rock salt properly, allowing the storage areas to fall below freezing temperatures, or allowing the rock salt to come into contact with moisture. This can cause serious damage to the product and decrease its effectiveness and efficiency.

It’s wise to buy rock salt early in the winter in order to ensure that you get the best and freshest materials possible. From here, you’ll have control over the storage conditions of your materials so that they will continue to stay fresh throughout the winter and last through the entire season.

Rule #3: Buy While It’s In Stock

Many people tend to take rock salt and other ice melting compounds for granted. It took a lot of folks for surprise when in previous seasons, all of the local stores ran out of inventory.

NJ and its neighboring areas are prone to freezing conditions and high volumes of precipitation. At the same time, our cities are densely populated and the masses are all in need of rock salt in order to get through the winter.

Waiting until the last minute to buy rock salt could mean that you find the shelves empty when you arrive at the store. Don’t get caught off guard in your hour of need. Buying early will help you to ensure that you and your family will be protected this winter.

Other Tips for Buying Rock Salt

In addition to knowing when to buy rock salt, you also need to know how to choose the right materials and how much to buy. Traditional rock salt has been a staple for residents in freezing climates for centuries.

The simple sodium chloride compound is able to effectively lower the freezing temperature of the water so that snow and ice melt away. Although very reliable, there are also many great alternatives to rock salt.

Ice melting compounds that contain calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate are also extremely powerful, and some of these products are specifically designed for use around plants, pets and children. It’s a good idea to do your research and talk with an expert in order to choose the right product.

Calculating how much rock salt to buy is also an important part of the process. This will allow you to stock up on the materials you need without overspending. Be sure to spend some time talking to your supplier about how to go about calculating your rock salt needs, and look for a supplier that offers a discounted rate on bulk rock salt orders.

Buying Rock Salt in NJ

It’s very important to buy rock salt at the right time. In order to simplify the process of purchasing rock salt and other ice melting materials, Braen Supply is proud to offer a massive inventory of powerful products at the most affordable prices in the area.

The Braen Supply team is knowledgeable about the many materials it sells and can answer all of your questions about rock salt and ice melt, and will help you to choose the right product for your unique needs.

We can also help you to calculate how much to buy. Our rock salt can be picked up at our convenient locations or can be bulk delivered to areas throughout parts of NJ, NY, NYC and limited parts of PA and CT.

Rock Salt Buying Guide

4 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Rock Salt

Every year it seems that autumn flies by and now, Old Man Winter is lurking just around the corner, which means that NJ residents can expect freezing temperatures and icy conditions.

The combination of colder temperatures and high volumes of precipitation makes NJ and neighboring states the perfect place for ice to form on sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, roads and other surfaces.

While rock salt has traditionally been used to lower the freezing temperature of water and prevent ice from forming, there are many people who don’t like the idea of working with this particular compound. This is because, although safe for many surfaces, rock salt can cause certain types of pavement to become discolored and can cause damage to plants.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives that can be used in lieu of rock salt. Today’s post will highlight four excellent alternatives to rock salt that are extremely effective and affordable.

Why Choose Alternatives to Rock Salt?

There are some homeowners who tend to shy away from using sodium chloride (traditional rock salt). This is primarily due to the fact that sodium chloride is mildly corrosive.

When used in excessive quantities, this type of rock salt may cause damage to certain surfaces and vegetation. Because NJ gets so cold and experiences so much rain and snow, high volumes of rock salt are generally required for safety purposes.

Consequently, it may be in your best interest to consider working with environmentally friendly alternatives to rock salt.

Top Alternatives to Rock Salt

While there are many different chemical compounds and materials available on the market as an alternative to traditional rock salt, the experts at Braen Supply tend to prefer some more than others.

After years in the industry, we have developed a keen sense for determining which materials are the most effective for offering traction and melting snow and ice. Our favorite rock salt alternatives include:


Of the different alternatives to rock salt available on the market, Environmelt is the among the most popular. This is because the material has been specifically formulated to be tough on snow and ice while protecting the environment and surrounding vegetation.

The product is made from Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) which is very powerful and is capable of working effectively in temperatures down to -25 degree Fahrenheit. Because it works two times faster than other ice melting materials and is so efficient in freezing conditions, less of the material is needed than traditional rock salt.

In addition to this, CMA is safer for plant life, animals and even, use around children. Finally, the material is significantly less corrosive than other materials and is safer to use around concrete and wood.


Although sand is not capable of actually reducing the freezing temperature of water and cannot melt snow and ice, it is still a great alternative to traditional rock salt. The grainy nature of sand allows for excellent traction.

When sprinkled on top of icy patches of your front walkway, driveway, or even on large parking lots and roads, sand is able to improve the grip of pedestrian shoes and the tires of automobiles. This will significantly reduce the likelihood of car accidents or slip and fall injuries.

Sand is completely natural and will not cause any damage to your property. In addition to this, sand does not form a brine with frozen snow and ice, so less material is needed over time. This can allow for significant savings.

Stone Grits

Like sand, stone grits are unable to melt snow and ice, but can do wonders for improving overall traction and safety. Although many stores tend to sell out of sand when the winter season picks up, you’ll find that it’s usually quite easy to find stone grits in supply.

If you choose, you may mix stone grits with an environmentally friendly ice melting compound. You’ll find that the combination of the two materials means that less ice melt needs to be used while producing a very safe environment for you, your loved ones and passersby.


The Safer-Than-Salt brand has earned its reputation for offering one of the most powerful alternatives to rock salt while still being safe for use around plants and animals.

We especially love the Breeder’s Preferred blend, which makes use of a CMA formula that rapidly melts existing snow and ice and prevents future formations – all without creating harmful conditions for your property, vegetation or pets.

The material is also tinted green so that you know exactly how much ice melt you’ve used and don’t accidentally over apply. Ultimately, this means less waste, less impact on the environment and a little extra cash in your pocket.

Choosing Alternatives to Rock Salt

It’s important that you make the right decision when choosing the right alternative to traditional rock salt for your property. Each of the above-listed rock salt alternatives has their own unique sets of advantages, but some might be better for your lifestyle than others.

If you have pets that you love dearly, we strongly recommend going with a product like Safer Than Salt Breeder’s Preferred, as it’s specifically designed for use around your four-legged friends. Those with a green thumb and who take pride in their landscape might be better served by a product like Environmelt.

If you need to add some traction to areas that tend to get a little bit slushy and slick but aren’t heavily trafficked, the use of sand or stone grits could be beneficial. In cases where a surface is extremely icy and is used frequently for foot or vehicular traffic, we recommend a mixture of an environmentally friendly ice melting compound and the salt or grits for added protection.

If you have any questions or concerns about choosing the right rock salt alternatives, visit our locally owned and operated store to speak to one of our experts. We’re more than happy to help you pick the right product for your property and to calculate your ice melting needs.

Buying Alternatives to Rock Salt in NJ

Braen Supply is the leading supplier of rock salt alternatives in NJ and its surrounding areas. We care about the people of NJ and make it our mission to provide our customers with ice melting materials that improve safety conditions while still being safe for the environment.

In addition to manufacturing our own sand and stone grits, we also carry some of the top brands of environmentally safe ice melting compounds. Our materials are always available at the lowest and most competitive rates.

Ice melt is sold by the bag, the pallet, or the truckload. All of our materials can be picked up at your convenience or can be bulk delivered to areas throughout parts of NJ & NY and limited parts of PA & CT.

Rock Salt Buying Guide

4 Fun Ways to Incorporate Techo-Bloc Mista Pavers into Your Landscape

As a homeowner, you take pride in the appearance of your home’s exterior. In order to keep your curb appeal high, you’re always interested in ideas for adding sophistication, charm and elegance to your landscape – without breaking the bank.

On top of everything else, you want your property to be as unique and fun as you are. If this sounds familiar, you’re sure to be excited by Techo-Bloc Mista pavers.

Techo-Bloc Mista Pavers At-A-Glance

The Mista paver collection from Techo-Bloc has gained a lot of positive attention since its introduction. Like other Techo-Bloc products, these pavers are manufactured from concrete – but you wouldn’t know it to look at the finished product! Mista pavers are among the most luxurious and richly textured pavers available from Techo-Bloc, and they have so much to offer.

These paved materials are designed with the most careful attention to detail, resulting in crisp lines, peaks and recessions that will capture the eye, intriguing and delighting your guests.

The collection’s rugged facing emulates the appearance of natural flagstone, but also maintains an air of elegance that can’t be matched. In addition to featuring brilliant texturing and craftsmanship, homeowners who work with the Mista collection can also expect to enjoy benefits like:

  • Color Variety – When selecting hardscaping materials, it’s important to get the color just right. After all, the materials need to “go” with the rest of your landscaping decor. Mista pavers are available in 9 different colors. Whether you prefer warm, rich and earthy tones or cooler shades of Onyx Black or Shale Grey, you’ll discover the perfect colors for your home’s exterior makeover.
  • Design Flexibility – You have a bit of freedom when it comes to creating a layout for your Techo-Bloc Mista pavers. Both modular and linear patterns are available for you to choose from, ensuring that you fall in love with the finished product.
  • Versatility – We love that Mista pavers can be used for a wide range of decorative and practical purposes throughout any landscape. Because they are made with such quality, they will dazzle the eye while meeting your every need – both now and in the future.
  • Longevity – Mista pavers are rough and tough enough to handle whatever you or Mother Nature throws their way. They don’t scuff or scrape easily, so you won’t need to fret about foot or vehicular traffic wreaking havoc on the pavers. Techo-Bloc Mista pavers are also able to withstand high heat, exposure to sunlight and rain and even the freeze and thaw cycles of harsh NJ winters. You can even safely use ice melting salt on the pavers.
  • Affordability – On top of everything else, Techo-Bloc products, including the Mista paver collection, are among the most affordable materials in the landscaping and hardscaping industry today. Regardless of your budget, you’ll be able to create a fun and exciting space with Mista pavers that you truly adore.

4 Fun Ways to Bring Techo-Bloc Mista Pavers to Your Landscape

Are you interested in all that Techo-Bloc Mista pavers have to offer? If so, you’re probably brainstorming fun and creative ways to use the interlocking pavers throughout your property. To fire up your creativity, we’ve put together a quick list of 4 of our favorite uses for Mista pavers:

1. A Grand Entrance

If you’re looking for a dramatic flair and optimal curb appeal, we suggest working with Mista pavers to create a grand entrance to the front of your home. Mista interlocking pavers are a great choice for surfacing a grand and upscale yet approachable front driveway and courtyard.

The way that the texturing and lines play with the sunlight will cause a great deal of interest and excitement for neighbors and passersby.

The pavers can be arranged into a variety of driveway and front parking/courtyard arrangements, including vast and wide spaces where you can show off your sports cars, or smaller, humbler, yet high class drives that welcome your guests to your home.

2. Poolside Paradise

One of our favorite uses for Techo-Bloc Mista pavers is in areas around swimming pools and jacuzzis. There’s something truly special about these interlocking pavers, and they really come to life when surrounding the shimmering, blue waters of your home’s private swimming area.

Regardless of whether you choose to go warm or cool with your color palette, you’ll find that the shades are truly enhanced near the water, adding a new level of vibrance to your entire property. They create a peaceful and serene atmosphere for relaxing on a lounge chair with a good book and a glass of wine while you keep an eye on the kids as they splash and play.

It truly is the perfect, paradise setting for anyone who needs a staycation. On top of everything else, the pavers are practical for this purpose. The texture of the pavers allow for excellent traction when wet, and the concrete will remain cool to bare feet – even on a hot summer day.

3. Southwestern Hospitality

In recent years, we’ve seen the southwestern style of landscaping really explode throughout the country. This trend is only now beginning to pick up in NJ and the northeast, so homeowners who choose to go this route with their exterior design and decor will be true trend setters and the envy of their friends and neighbors.

Techo-Bloc Mista pavers in the warmer shades Sandlewood, Mojave Beige, Harvest Gold, Chestnut Brown and Autumn Red truly evoke a sense of southwestern culture and sophistication, creating the perfect base for your newly upgraded property.

The pavers help to establish a welcoming, hospitable vibe with a touch of class and sophistication. They’re great in outdoor kitchens where you can really welcome your guests by cooking up a hot meal. Don’t worry – your outdoor cooking space won’t become overheated. Mista pavers don’t absorb heat and are non combustible.

4. Basking In the Glow

Speaking of heat, what’s cozier and more romantic than basking in the glow of a crackling fire? Whether your home features an outdoor fireplace or a stunning stone fire pit, you’ll find that Techo-Bloc Mista pavers really set the tone for a wonderful evening under the stars.

The richness of the colors and textures of these pavers add an element of fun and intrigue to the area, and the light of the fire will play off the ridges for a truly enchanting effect.

Working with Techo-Bloc Mista Pavers in NJ

Are you interested in bringing the look of Techo-Bloc Mista pavers to your front or back yard? When you’re ready to get started, Braen Supply has you covered.

As authorized Techo-Bloc dealers, we’ve been partnered with the hardscaping brand for years, and know the ins and outs of their product offerings – including Mista pavers. Our passionate and skilled team members will walk you through the process of selecting the right colors and patterns for your property, and can answer any questions you may have about the installation process.

We always offer competitive pricing on our materials. You can pick up your Techo-Bloc Mista pavers at your convenience, or have them bulk delivered to areas throughout parts of NJ, NY, NYC and PA.

New Call-to-action