5 foot walls with pavers?

melissastarJune 5, 2012

I'm starting to talk to masons and hardscape firms about building walls around my urban rowhouse backyard/patio. I had assumed that my choices were brick or concrete block, but today one company suggestd using the kind of interlocking concrete "stone" that is used for retaining walls. He says that they don't require the same kind of footings a brick wall does and would be less expensive to construct. He left me a brochure from Hanover.

Xposting this to gardening with stone forum, cuz I'm not really sure which is the right forum to solicit this kind of info!

In looking it over, I notice however, that it says one should buy 1" of stone for every 8" of exposed wall and that walls of over 3 foot (and mine would be 5.5 feet high) need "engineering design"and, frankly, it just sounds scary to me that over five feet of concrete blocks wouldn't need more than 8" of buried stone blocks.

Can any one enlighten me? Would this be a safe and reasonable alternative to brick walls? I actually like the look of a lot of these paver/faux stone things, but don't want these walls coming down in a few years. The house is over 100 years old...I don't expect the walls to last that long, but at least through my remaining lifetime!

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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

Full disclosure: I come from a family line of masons so I am biased.
I'm going to say this as sensitively as possible so as not to offend ( we've experienced a little touchiness here lately.)

Engineered concrete paver blocks have their place in commerical applications ( industrial parks, free way borders, low end mass produced housing ) but put this product next to a beautiful historical home or a nicely handcrafted home and the product does nothing to enhance the value of the property.

These types of block wall systems are becoming ubiquitous across the face of the US landscape and in as so they have become inane and benign.

Those who are still enamored with quality materials and construction cringe when we seen this material used in conjunction with a finely built piece of architecture. It is just so out of aesthetic context.

This product is being used because it is very inexpensive in comparison to other forms of hand wrought masonry.
They also are an engineering marvel. and for this I must praise the product for its engineering brilliance. The design of the interlocking system allows for a much taller wall with a fairly small footing in comparison to common masonry built walls. So if you are concerned with their safety record, as long as the footing and first two courses are set well, you'll have nothing to worry about safety wise. ( aesthetics is a whole other ball of wax and boils down to personal opinion ) .

Lest you think I have never spec'ed one of these walls, I have - for a commercial application. As soon as it was built I planted a climbing fig on it to cover up my sin. ( forgive me grandfather ) From Raised Garden Beds

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Are these walls to be freestanding, or retaining? Your post wasn't clear.

I agree with d-d about the suitability of these walls in a historic setting. I was in a project meeting to build a wedding venue at an historic Virginia manor house yesterday, and the landscape contractor mentioned using those walls. It took everything I had not to throw a rock at him. They're functional and totally in keeping with a low-end suburban crackerbox.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Got to remember that phrase- "low-end suburban crackerbox" for when I post my design question!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:36PM
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