Anyhow, you can also see more at this addresses, DIY brickwork
DEAR READERS, LET ME EXPLAIN, THIS BLOG WILL BE LONGER THAT OUR PREVIOUS BLOGS, BECAUSE I WANT TO SHOW BLOGGER, THAT MY BLOGS HAVE SOME TEXT CONTENT, I HOPE IT WORKS, AND SOMEBODY READS THIS PARAGRAPH.
Link Block Mortar-less Walls
Link Block Mortar-less Retaining Wall Blocks
This is a different type of retaining walls made with dry blocks, the mortar is not required, it is a low wall easy to build, so, most people can do it themselves. Now let me tell you this, on the internet I have found this local supplier who has placed a few short videos how to build these walls; please use the link that I have pasted here-under, I know it is worth to watch them, if you want to build any retaining walls. As I have said this is only a local supplier in Brisbane Australia, therefore, the same materials may not be available where you are living, but by watching these videos you are going to learn something useful anyhow.
No need for Mortar
So, I hope you have used the link above and you have been able to see the videos. Anyhow, whatever you have learned can be helpful one day.
Anyhow now let us built a garden rock wall.
Building a garden rock retaining wall
To build a garden rock wall as shown in the picture is a lot harder than you think, and you need to know how to go about it, you see, you need to have a good eye to see how the rocks that you have can fit together to make a wall. There are a few ways how to do this depending how tall the wall is going to be and lots of other things.
You see, if you have only a very low wall you can just lay one single rock one after another, or two rocks one on top of another making sure that you choose the best face to show at the top and at the front, the other part of the rock can be hidden in the ground, or at the back since you are back-filling behind the wall; in this case it is not necessary to use any concrete, as the stones can be laid dry, but if you want you can use concrete.
Before you start the wall, you must dig all the grass and loose soil, even if your wall is going to be low. If the wall is going to be low and in a place where the ground is slopping down, make sure that you dig at least a few inches into the solid natural ground, so that the wall you are building can sit on firm natural ground, so, your wall is not going to slope down the first heavy rain you have after building it.
Now, in this example, we are building a low stone wall and we are not going to use anything to bind the wall together, so, there is no cement or anything else between the stones, in this case because there is nothing to stop the rain water to run between the stones you don’t need to worry about drainage. You see, one of the greatest problems with retaining walls is the water that can build behind them, the water and wet soil puts pressure on the wall and if the water cannot get out the wall is going to fail.
Now it is helpful to have a look at some stone retaining wall, and for this reason in mind I have found this link in the Internet; so, have a look at the pictures in this link; www.australianrockwalls.com.au/ there are several types of stone walls, now you can start thinking how and why they have been built that way.
Things that happen during our life
You have your own house, but needed more space, because you wanted to build a car port, and put a trampoline for the kids. So, you have been digging in the backyard, and finally you are satisfied that they can fit them in the space you have made. But now you have this bank that stands almost vertical in the backyard, it looks ugly, and you know that when the first heavy rain comes it is going to start washing it down, and worse still it may collapse. So, you want to do something about it, you think of building a retaining wall, perhaps a rock wall is good enough.
For this reason, you have had a couple of quotes and had a good talk to the contractors as you did not want to spend more money that was strictly necessary, they did their best but still you cannot afford to pay the full price, beside that you found that if you lay a dry stone wall, ether you have to use stones that have been cut at the quarry and they cost a lot, or you have to have a rock wall with a wider base and this is going to take away some of the space you created when you dug, so really you need to think about it.
So, you have decided to build the stone retaining wall yourself, what you have decided is that you are going to build an hybrid stone wall, which you believe can do the job without costing too much; therefore, you have found a rock supplier and ask for prices of the different materials you may need, because you think that you can afford it, if you do the job yourself.
By pure chance you have learned from the blokes that have given you the prices, how many cubic meters of rocks you need and another things that you were not sure before; well done sometimes in the building game things work out this way, you learn a bit from here a bit from there and then you can decide what to do with the information you have collected. There is nothing wrong for doing this, unless you do it purposely to learn something, but if it does not work out, then it is okay to use what you have learned from them.
Building the hybrid rock wall
This hybrid wall that we are going to build is a big job, it starts at the same level, as we have dug the ground approximately level, but because we are building the wall only to the height of the natural ground level, it is going to start from almost nothing and at the highest point will be 1.8 meter, it is really two walls that meet and forms a square at the highest point.
Here we must say that today some people think that this should not be done, as this is neither a rock wall nor a concrete masonry wall, as it mixes about everything, but so what, if it is convenient, why not do it? I must say that in my life time I have built walls like this with whatever was available on the site; and I mean everything in fact I was using stones that were laying in this small creek bed and pieces of concrete that we had broken to do some alterations and old bricks, some concrete and some mortar, this has happened a few year ago and last time I have seen the owner he said that the wall is still there. So, most things can be done if you know that it has got a good chance to last a long time.
Let us go back to build our hybrid rock wall. Now, to build this wall you need a few cubic meter of rocks, because you want the wall to look as a rock wall, you don’t need very big rocks or special size rocks, because you can use the cement wherever necessary to fill the gaps and this is good, since the cement is less costly, you need a mixer, you need some gravel, sand and cement; and of course, you must have the tools to do the job.
You got all this on site, and you can start to build. First of all, drive a couple of pegs in the ground, exactly where you want the face of the wall to be, tie and stretch a line on these pegs and see any adjustment that you need to do before you start laying the first stone. What you are looking for here is that the bank you are going to build the wall against has been dug straight, it is almost vertical or a few degrees sloping, you have dug a shallow foundation, because you want the wall to be strong and last for a long time, so, you are satisfied that the foundation is going to be solid enough, since it is well below the original natural ground, therefore, it can hold a lot of weight and pressure, because the ground is very compact.
You have done all this, you have set the pegs again so that your wall is set to be at least 10” thick overall, you have chosen this thickness because most of the large rocks seem to be that thick, so now you are ready to lay the first course of stones, mix a few batches of concrete and lay it in the foundation and then before this concrete sets lay the first course of stones on this concrete making sure that the bottom of the stones are below ground level, so that the entire stone wall seems to start from below the ground; once you have done that you can fill the back of the stone with concrete a bit above ground level but below the full height of the stones, because you want to leave enough room to lay next course of stone easily. Now the wall is all set to go, but we need to reset how we must continue and complete the hybrid rock wall, the right way with the right lean against the bank. You need to lean the wall against the bank, so that the weight of your wall by itself adds strength to the wall.
Completing the hybrid rock wall
So, before we build this retaining wall, we must work out how much lean against the bank we want, here we must keep in mind, how tall and how thick is the wall, we don’t want the wall to lean too much and rely only on the dirt behind it to hold it back, but at the same time we want to lean it against the bank so that the weight of the wall is used to hold the dirt back.
Here we must go back to look at what happens if you leans a monolithic object to the point it is going to fall; what happens here is that the monolithic object is going to fall, only after its center of gravity falls outside the area of the base. Now we don’t want to go this far and we don’t want to use the center of gravity to decide that, but we are going to lean the wall about two third of the thickness, so that the very top layer is still vertically one third of its thickness above the base; we believe that it is very safe to go this far and the wall would stand up even if we don’t back-fill it. Anyhow, in our case we are not going to back-fill it, because we have cut the bank exactly as the wall is going to be, you see we are going to use the bank as a template, so, we believe that we are not going to back-fill it at all.
Now that we know how much we are going to lean the wall; we are setting a leaning profile on every corner leaning approximately 10 to 12 centimetres per metre and we are ready to resume building our hybrid rock wall. But there is still another important thing to work out; we need to make sure that when it rains the water that seeps behind the wall can run out, so, we must leave a way to drain this water out and at this level is the right place to do that, so, we choose a few spots about a meter apart and mark them, then when you lay next course of stones make sure that you leave a space between the stones that the water can run out, you must also leave the back free of abstractions for a course or two around this space, so, in this space after laying the front stone, just lay some smaller stones dry against the bank to stop the concrete blocking the drain, then you can resume to concrete the lot. Alternatively, you can lay a few short pieces of pipe across the wall for drainage, but you have still to make sure that they are clear of any obstruction at the back near the bank.
So, now you can go back to mix some cement to lay your stones, you can mix a batch of river sand four to one that you can lay between the rocks to give them a bit of grip, you are laying the rocks in a straight line that you have tied on the profiles, when you do that make sure that this cement does not come too far forward, because you still want the rock wall to look like a rock wall, at the same time do not forget that you have to leave these spaces with no cement at all for the seepage where you have marked, after you have used the batch of river sand and cement and laid say a course of rocks, you can mix one or two batch of concrete to fill the back of the stones, then you repeat this procedure until you build the entire wall.
At the top of the wall, because the wall in not going to be level, you may have to do some adjustment to follow the height of the ground, here you have to use common sense the best way you can, if you happen to have enough wide and long rocks that can be used for a coping, use them to finish your wall, if not, just use your common sense and use anything that is available, even if it is going to be a strip of concrete in the back of the wall, so that all the wall is tied up.
I hope I have explained well enough for you to follow my way of building this hybrid rock wall. Here I want to add that this is just one way out of several other ways that can be used. A lot depends how the bank has been cut and if it follows very closely the shape of the wall, so, you can use it as if it is form-work, but if there is going to be some back filling to be done, you may have to consider some temporary form-work that can be easily removed before you back-fill. All these things can vary from job to job, and if you see that it is hard to build your hybrid rock wall, then you must consider other ways to build your retaining wall.
I believe that this blog is long enough, and can count for some contend in my blogs, since blogger has said my blogs have no contend. Anyhow see you in our next blog, where we are going to talk about Besser-block retaining walls. see you soon.