Almost every retaining wall constructed is designed and built because there is a structural need for one. Once again, "form follows function." After it is determined that a wall will be needed, the next step is to find a material that will handle the physical demands that will be placed on it. If this is a visible area, the material must also be attractive, able to add value and enjoyment to the property. There are also cost considerations.
Strength, aesthetics and economy are the reasons that stone and concrete walls have attained such extreme popularity. When installed properly, these walls keep their form, look great, and have superior longevity.
There are three basic types of stone walls, each available in various forms, textures and colors:
- boulder walls
- natural stone walls
- concrete wall systems
Installation of boulders is generally a simple process. It is a matter of choosing large enough boulders to handle the job, then setting them in place, stepping each layer back slightly.
Natural and concrete wall products require some engineering. Considerations when planning this type of retaining wall include, but are not limited to:
- soil type
- surcharge load
- height of the wall
Other considerations can include water applications, freestanding walls, walls with steps incorporated, and more.
Shown here is a typical cross section:
Geogrid is often used with walls that exceed 4' or have heavy loads, such as driveways or parking lots near the wall.
Note: These are basic installation instructions. For specific installation requirements, see a registered professional engineer or call me at Benson Stone Company at the number below. I am very comfortable with the design and installation of wall products and can contact manufacturer engineers for technical information.