CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Masonry block has come a long way since Peerless Block was founded in 1905. When company owner Steve Doty asked me to see their new outdoor landscape display, I thought it would be a few pavers and some block walls. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a stunning display that incorporates a multitude of options for every outdoor space.
The company has installed a raised patio, complete with several types of stairs leading to an outdoor kitchen, fireplace and seating area. The floors of the entire area are covered with various types of bricks, pavers and slabs of natural and manmade materials.
There are many different patterns, from formal to natural, to suit many tastes. There's a waterfall made of natural, rounded river rocks, and tables and benches throughout, all made of stone and block.
The large brick fireplace is the focal point, and it's not only interesting because it's pretty, but because it's a prefabricated item that comes to the customer's home in three pieces, ready to be put together quickly and efficiently. At $7,000, it's quite an investment, but the company has sold several since it has installed the display.
Peerless President Keith May explained that the company employed Joe Young of Triad Engineering to design the display space. Valley Gardens installed the masonry work and the accompanying plantings, but May stressed that most of the products are made for do-it-yourselfers as well as for professionals.
"They even talked me into doing a class about installing a paver walkway," May said with a smile. "If I can do it, anyone can."
The paths around the display lead to a lovely fire pit area.
Helpful employee Josh Keyser gave me a chart that details what's needed for making a round fire pit. Pick the size you want, and the chart shows how much to buy and how much it will cost to pick up the supplies at the Peerless yard.
For example, an 18-inch-high fire pit with an inside diameter of 4 feet, 1 inch and an outside diameter of 5 feet, 7 inches uses 33 6-inch blocks and 33 12-inch blocks, for a pretax cost of $295.
Everything in the display is available at Peerless. And this company aims to please - they're having hot dog cookouts for their customers once a month using the new outdoor display area.