Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why Install a Block Wall?

By Roberto Emanuel Sanchez

Block walls offer a lot of benefits for landscapers, home owners, or anyone who is attempting to create a strong and aesthetically pleasing enclosure. Block walls are most often used as an attractive retaining wall that can be quickly and easily installed, but what are the benefits to a block wall over, for example, a small concrete fence or a timber wall? Are there any other benefits besides the appearance?

Block walls are a series of interlocking concrete units that tie-back into the earth efficiently resist the weight of various loads. These units are usually precast concrete and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and since they are incredibly modular by nature, these walls can be installed just about anywhere. It doesnt matter if your want the wall to circle around a small area in the middle of the garden or follow and gradually raising hillside, these concrete units can be easily adapted to almost any situation.

Installing a block wall can be left up to a contractor, but it can also just as easily be done by a do-it-yourselfer. Block walls dont require any heavy equipment to install, nor do you need any specialized tools. In fact, you dont even need any mortar. Block walls are gravity structures. This means they rely on their own weight to hold them in place and act as a retaining barrier. All it takes is the right blocks and a good foundation (and, admittedly, some active labor) and anyone can build their own block retaining wall.

Once the block wall is in place there is very little maintenance that has to be performed. Since there is no mortar, you wont ever have to deal with touch ups, and, because of their modular nature, they are also highly resistant to cracking under stress. And if, from time to time, one of the blocks is damaged by the weather or an accident, that block can easily be replaced. Other walls would require serious work or a complete replacement to fix a damaged section.

A block wall is a great choice for anyone who wants to install a retaining wall but still create an appealing enclosure. Retaining walls must be functional, and you can get that with any number of materials, but to create a truly attractive landscape, block walls may just be the perfect choice.

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