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11.02.2015 admin
Here’s a recently installed block stone wall with stone steps for access to the upper level of the tier. To schedule a consulation with one of our professional landscape design specialists, give us a call at 540-654-5410. To be considered for a position with Stafford Nursery please complete the Online Application.
Stafford Nursery provides landscaping services and storage shed solutions to Fredericksburg, Northern Virginia, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Woodbridge, Manassas.. Homeowners looking to introduce color, texture and unique design elements to a house’s exterior may consider building an accent or garden wall. Using dry-stacked concrete blocks and a surface-bonding cement, it can be easier than many homeowners realize to build a low-maintenance, affordable accent wall. The one-coat application of QUIKRETE Quikwall Surface Bonding Cement provides structural strength and a textured “stucco” finish. Adding color to the wall can be simple with a liquid pigment additive available in 20 standard color choices, QUIKRETE Stucco & Mortar Color that can be added to the mixing water during the mixing process. Remove the blocks and apply a 1-inch-thick bed of prepared surface-bonding cement on the footing to bond the first course to the footing and correct any irregularities. Place the first row, embedding the block to the mortar bed, to a final thickness of about 3?8-inch. After dampening with a fine spray, apply a 1?8-inch-thick coating of surface bonding cement to the sides, top and exposed ends of the concrete block wall with a finishing trowel. You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader. Sign up for Danny's Monthly Newsletter and stay up to date on tips and tricks for the home. Please Select Username to appear on public areas of the site like community and recipe comments. We'll show you how to build an attractive retaining wall that's firm, solid and will stand the test of time. When you contemplate the retaining wall you're about to build, you may imagine how firm and solid it'll appear from the front, or how great the new garden will look above it.
Lots of people think a retaining wall needs to hold back all 6 gazillion tons of soil in the yard behind it. Gravity, along with the slope, directs most of the weight and pressure of the fill toward the lower part of the retaining wall.
Bury the bottom course, or courses, of the retaining wall one tenth the height of the wall to prevent the soil behind from pushing the bottom out (Fig. A retaining wall needs to retain all the material that fills the space between itself and the failure plane—the steepest angle at which existing soil can hold itself together before caving in. Water can weaken retaining walls by washing out the base material that supports the wall (Fig. A strong wall features well-compacted base material, compacted material in front of the wall to prevent kick-out, and stepped-back materials. A wall that has an uneven base, no compacted material in front of it and no step-back to the materials will eventually fail. Never backfill with, or compact, topsoil; it will break down and settle, creating a water-welcoming trench behind your wall.
From top to bottom, a well-built wall either prevents water from getting behind the wall or ushers it away quickly when it does.
Water trapped behind a wall pushes against it and increases the weight of the soil, which also pushes against it. Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration. Compactor, If you build a timber wall, you'll need a circular saw to cut the timbers to length.

I'll upload a pic shortly; what's your initial concern and I'll let you know if it applies.
Also want to note that it seems the 5 or 6 staircase would be pretty easy to remove if the wall was in need of any repairs. I don't think so, we cut the preciously existing upper deck back 14 inches to avoid needing additional footings. It could be the perspective of the camera but it looks like a 6' cantilever and then stairs hanging off it as well, I've seen large cantilevers like that with a set of stairs hanging and they usually sag later. Next I measure out my stone step to determine what I need to build under each one to get me to my goal of 6" rise.
The steps I'm building with I've kept the drill marks since the home has a great deal of stones with them over the window frames. The 16" mark is where I start to build up my stone under the step to get me to the 6" rise I need. Next I'll use a string line or my 8' level to get me to the needed height for my under step build. When I first started into stone a mason friend helped directed me to purchase the following carbide chisels- Tracer, Pointer and a Set. Fortunately, if the thought of a block-and-mortar wall seems a little daunting, there’s an easier solution. The Surface Bonding Cement is also excellent for rehabilitating and waterproofing unpainted concrete walls. Once the footing has cured, dry-lay the first block row on top of the footing and chalk mark the block positions using a level and mason’s line for accuracy. Continue dry stacking the remaining blocks to the desired height; non-structural dry stack construction can go as high as six to eight feet for privacy. I just wonder how drainage and how would it hold up with soil and grass up against the wall? My questions are un connection with a planned construccion of a house in typical Spanish style. In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420.
But unless you give serious thought to what goes on behind and below the wall, it may not look good for long. To make these walls strong, you need to add “deadmen,” anchors that lock the wall into the soil behind them (Fig.
But an upper tier can apply pressure to a lower tier unless it's spaced the proper distance—you know, behind the failure plane. The same pressure that's pushing against the wall is pushing and holding the deadman—and therefore the wall—in place.
The property slopes so there is a mortared natural stone retaining wall that the back of the house is on. If what he plans on doing is what I see in my head I would recommend against it, however I might be picturing it wrong. Some of the biggest issues with natural stone - one side might be 3" the other 4" and the back side some thing totally different.
Compensating as needed in order to make my step level or pitch a little down at the front for water to run off. A poorly built wall can lean, separate, even topple—and it's out there in plain sight where all your neighbors can point and snicker. It only needs to retain a wedge of soil, or elongated wedge of soil, similar to that shown in Fig.
A level wall provides modular blocks, stone and timbers with more surface contact with the courses above and below them.
But far more frequently, it causes problems by building up behind the wall, saturating the soil and applying incredible pressure.

The sod and topsoil are almost even with the top block, so surface water flows over the top rather than puddling behind. If your failure plane is farther back so your wall needs to retain more fill, weight and pressure, then compaction and a reinforcing grid become critical.
Your landscape supplier or block manufacturer (if you're using modular blocks) can tell you whether you need to install reinforcing grid, and at what intervals.
Some communities now require building permits and construction details for walls exceeding 4 ft. The retained area goes out maybe 20 feet from the back of the house leading to a 2 or 3 foot high retaining wall which then steps down to the yard.
That cantilever is mighty large (too big) is he planning on adding more posts on that stair platform?
The interesting thing with PA Blue stone slabs each stone ranges in sizes these are from 3"-5" as seen with the 4th step up is 5" thick.
Hire a Certified Professional Craftsman.I've started the Rockin Walls blog to help others follow their passions.
There's no impervious soil, so the water heads south, slowly waterlogging and increasing the weight of the soil packed behind the wall. These two things help increase internal friction and direct the pressure of the fill you add downward (Fig.
The same pressure that's pushing against the wall pushes down on the deadmen to keep them (and therefore the wall) in place. This build incorporates tying the steps into a freestanding wall on right and retaining wall on left (as seen below) .
Most of the time I shoot to have each step drop a little at the front in order for water to run off quicker.
In simple terms (our apologies to all you soil engineers out there): Undisturbed soil—soil that has lain untouched and naturally compacted for thousands of years—has a maximum slope beyond which it won't “hang together” on its own.
Well built walls are constructed and graded to prevent water from getting behind the wall and to provide a speedy exit route for water that inevitably weasels its way in. The homeowner put plastic against the back of the wall to prevent soil from oozing out between the cracks—but it's also holding water in.
The principles of stepping back, installing good drainage and compacting also apply to timber walls.
If you choose to follow my blog you may notice I sometimes struggle with spelling or run on sentences. Good compaction doesn't mean dumping a couple of feet of fill behind the wall, then jumping up and down on it in your work boots. But even a well built wall won't survive unless you take care of two troublemakers: water and uncompacted soil. And the perforated drain tile collects the water and directs it away from the base of the wall, escorting it out through its open ends.
There's no drain tile at the bottom—the trapped water can soak, soften and erode the base material. But the soil in front of the failure plane—the natural soil or the fill you're going to add—wants to slide down the failure plane.
There's nothing to prevent water from seeping out between the faces of the blocks, either; that helps with the drainage too.
Not only that, an excavated trench that extends below the base lets water soak into the base material and weaken it.
You've got a retaining wall that has to hold back tons and tons of water and saturated soil—and when that water freezes and expands in the winter, matters get even worse.

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