Planning a large retaining wall to keep your Colts Neck, NJ, client’s backyard functional and safe? Retaining walls made with concrete blocks are a popular option among contractors and homeowners because of their convenience and cost-effective nature. Concrete retaining wall blocks offer practicality without compromising aesthetics.
A Strong Foundation
A retaining wall of any size needs to start with a strong base. In addition to factoring in how to best support the considerable weight of the soil, the weight of the large concrete wall itself has to be taken into consideration. This will involve the need to excavate deeper than a conventional gravity retaining wall. The depth of this base trench depends on the soil quality and gradient of the homeowner’s terrain. Once the base trench is excavated, it should be compacted properly with a plate compactor to give a firm and flat foundation for the wall you’re about to put in place.
Reinforcing and Back-filling
For most applications, a large retaining wall should be reinforced with a geogrid, a mesh-like system. The geogrid evenly spreads out the weight of the backfill material and prevents sinking. A base layer can be applied above the base trench and extended to the backfill area.
In addition to applying the geogrid at the base, geogrid reinforcement should be applied evenly spaced throughout the backfill material. The spacing you’ll want to use between the geogrid layers depends on the type of infill material. Wall rock is considered an ideal backfill material, as it is a coarse aggregate that is compactable and meets the specifications for most geogrids. On-site soil can also be used as backfill although it should be of sufficient quality to ensure the longevity of the retaining wall structure.
Drainage solutions are an integral part of any retaining wall to help release the hydrostatic pressure building up in the retained soil from water accumulation. Depending on the drainage characteristics of the property, you might have to employ a variety of drainage solutions. Chimney drains coupled with underground drainage pipes installed before backfilling are generally sufficient for most applications. Weep holes can also be installed at the base of the wall as they can be quite effective during heavy rainfall.
The Right Blocks
Modern manufacturers offer a wide range of stylish concrete retaining wall blocks in a variety of textures and colors. Ideally, depending on the homeowners’ preferences, you’ll want to choose a block that matches existing masonry on the property to give the whole landscape design an air of conformity. The blocks should be stacked in a running bond pattern to maximize their structural rigidity. Most retaining walls, especially larger ones, are built in a staggered fashion with each layer of blocks slightly recessed from the one below. This spreads out the weight of the wall more evenly across the backfill and the foundation.
Covering these bases should ensure you have a strong, structurally sound concrete retaining wall that is also aesthetically pleasing and bound to serve your clients for years to come. We can help you make sure you have all the materials you need for your next retaining wall project.