How to Install a Retaining Wall
You’ve decided to install a retaining wall—should be easy, right? One’s man’s “easy” is another man’s “Are you kidding me?!” But a retaining wall can be within reach for a DIY project. Prep work is key. Let me repeat that: Prep work is key! Do not skimp here. Without a properly prepared base, your wall can fail and possibly cause injury or damage. Check local code requirements: walls over 4 feet high require special consideration—designs by a qualified professional engineer, and geogrid reinforcement (which may also be required on other situations).
Versa-Lok wall blocks and pins are designed to go together easily. Once you’ve made your measurements, calculated the number of blocks you’ll need, chosen your blocks and have all your materials on hand, you will need to begin your site preparation. Excavate to a depth that will allow you to create a base and still have your lowest layer be below grade approximately 1/10 of the wall’s height. For your base, you will need a 6 inch thick, 24 inches wide layer of gravel or crushed stone that has been thoroughly compacted. Adding a thin layer of sand makes a uniform and level pad on which to place your first course.
Next, place your first layer of VERSA-LOK blocks on the sand pad. Make sure each block is leveled from front to back, from side to side, and with each other. Do not neglect this step! If you have a corner to your wall, start there and work your way out. Straight sections can be aligned with a string line.
After your first layer is down, back-fill the wall in front and behind using the excavated soil. Pack it down, even with the grade in the front of the wall. Then, add 12 inches of drainage material behind your first course.
Stack the remaining units one layer at a time, each set back ¾ inch. Insert two pins in the front holes through the rear slots of the units below. Tap the pins with a mallet and another pin to set them. As each layer is complete, add drainage rocks behind and compact well.
The last step is to install caps. A slight overhang is suggested, but flush with the wall face, or even set back slightly may be appropriate. Don’t forget the VERSA-LOK adhesive to secure the caps!
It’s a lot of preparation, measuring, digging, lifting and detail work, but you can install a retaining wall yourself. Or you can leave the work to the professionals and know that the wall is the right design to perform the function properly, prep work is done right, the details are accounted for, and your wall will be built properly, safely and will be in place to do its work for many years to come!
Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Exposure Landscape Management specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of residential and commercial projects throughout the Greensboro Triad Area (High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Summerfield). We are the premier Greensboro mulch installer. With over 20 years in business, Southern Exposure has the experience and knowledge to create beautiful garden features and flower beds in the landscape. Southern Exposure is the leading landscape management firm in Greensboro, NC. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone (336.451.4969)