Retaining walls serve a number of purposes, like preventing or controlling soil erosion, providing vertical support to the land or managing the downfall of the water in the sloping area. Raising retaining walls serves two purposes: to level or give height to the soil and maintain its grade. Landscaping is sometimes the only use for retaining walls. The aesthetics of natural stone retaining walls are stunning, and they tend to enhance the outdoor decor. Besides gravity walls, retaining walls can also be cantilevered and attached to the ground with soil nails.
A type of gravity retaining wall is a concrete block retaining wall. They provide better vertical support than other retaining walls, making them the best choice for landscaping and gardens in outdoor spaces. Concrete retaining walls are deep and hence make better foundations. In addition to being deeper, they contain heavy soil beneath them. Weather conditions do not affect them. We will now explore the building of concrete block retaining walls. These steps are recommended by residential masonry expert and you can easily follow and build a beautiful retaining wall in your home garden.
Steps to Build a Retaining Wall
It is important to decide the type of concrete blocks that will be used before starting the construction of concrete block walls. Various constructions use different types of concrete blocks. They are stretchers and end blocks, smooth-edged blocks, decorative blocks and easy-lock blocks. Make sure that the one you choose will meet your needs.
When your goal is to build a landscaping wall out of concrete blocks, decorative blocks may be a better choice. Measure the area to be installed and purchase the correct number of concrete blocks, amount of mortar required, and any other building materials you might need before purchasing the blocks. If you are buying concrete blocks from a retailer, they can advise you concerning the type of blocks, their number, and the mortar you will need to use. A concrete block retaining wall is built following a step-by-step process.
Wall Foot Marking
Mark out the wall footing and wall outline using masonry string. Make sure the area where the wall will be installed is level. Next, dig the base for the wall, ensuring that the foundation is twice as wide and deep as the wall is tall.
Create a wooden form by wrapping wood around the strings and adding a reinforcement bar to ensure the footing is strong. Complete the concrete form by laying concrete in it and levelling it throughout. Lay a plastic sheet over the concrete so that it can cure for at least three days.
Remove the Wooden Form
When the concrete has hardened, remove the form with a shovel. Now prepare the concrete blocks for testing by laying them on the footing. It may be necessary to cut the end block to align it properly. Put pencil marks on the footing to indicate where the concrete blocks should go. You can use wooden strips to make space between the blocks. Laying concrete blocks onto the footing will be easier with the marking.
Fill the Blocks
Lastly, prepare the mortar that goes into the concrete block according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In order to construct the wall, you will need to place the blocks first. Then apply a little more mortar than the block’s width and length, using the pencil marks you made beforehand. Next, place the block over the mortar and scrape it off with a trowel.
Follow the same steps to install the other concrete block. Ensure all subsequent blocks fall within a straight line by drawing a string line between the two end blocks. After installing the first row of the retaining wall, you can build the second row. Apply the mortar to the concrete blocks and tap them gently. Similarly, place the remaining rows of concrete blocks to complete the wall.