Common Beginner Mistakes with Retaining Wall Block Building
So, you’ve decided to improve the landscape appeal of your garden. Part of this entails building a stack structure with retaining wall blocks to keep soil back and prevent the soil from a higher-lying area from sliding into the area around the swimming pool. These blocks are placed in rows on top of each other and at a specific angle to create a decorative, sturdy, and soil-erosion preventing structure.
It is best to use a professional installer to build the structure, but if you’re a DIY enthusiast, read the guidelines at our concrete retaining wall blocks (CRBs) section first.
To reduce the risk of structural failure in addition to having to redo the job, read on to find out about the common mistakes to avoid in building a small garden retain structure with open face or close face CRBs.
Choosing the Wrong Size and Type of Blocks
Make sure you use blocks specifically made for building retaining walls. The dimensions are important. View our range of CRBs to get an overview of the types and sizes available. You can build a low, decorative structure without professional help, but for a structure with the main purpose of keeping soil back and providing structural support, especially one that’s more than a metre high, it’s essential to call in professionals.
For one, the blocks must be able to carry the soil load, the load of CRBs stacked on top and the load when the soil is drenched in water. To get this right, you’ll need to do complex calculations that factor in the height, soil type, load, drainage, angle, and more.
Not Factoring in Drainage Needs
Keep in mind that the soil behind the wall fills up with water during rains. This makes the soil behind and in the bricks heavy. If there is no drainage, then the structure can collapse. Lining the back part of the structure with a geo-textile material and adding stone-filled backfill improves drainage. For this, you need gravel for the backfill and weep holes for water drainage flow.
Paying Too Much for the CRBs
Avoid paying too much for quality materials by purchasing your materials from a supplier in your province. MVA Bricks is located in Gauteng, enabling the delivery of the materials to sites in the province. As a bulk supplier of quality paving and CRB materials, we offer competitive prices, superior quality products, and friendly service.
Not Designing and Planning the Structure Layout
You cannot build a home without a plan. For the same reason, you need to plan for the materials, layout, and building of the structure. You need gravel, the CRBs, geo-textile material consisting of gravel for drainage and stone or rough rock to allow for optimal drainage. You also need a drain pipe for drainage if the structure is higher. You need topsoil for planting. And you need to tamp down dirt for compaction. You must make sure that all the CRBs are perfectly level. For optimal structural strength, you must consider the maximum height to ensure you order the correct materials, including the blocks.
Not Planning for the Placement of Materials
Where will you place the delivered materials for the retaining wall blocks? Including the gravel, stone, dirt and CRBs. Make provision for the placement and ensure you know the regulations regarding retaining structures. Check in with the NHBRC about the regulations. Also, make sure there are no service pipes or utility lines where you want to erect the structure. For this, check in with a land surveyor or town planner.
The first thing is first, make sure you understand what is involved by reading guidelines on our website. Also, view this step-by-step video guide on how to build a retaining wall in your garden. Once done, view our range of products and get in touch to place your order for retaining wall blocks.