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Help with landscape (Windsor) bricks

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by yardmonkey, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    First time working with these, and a major project. I' building a retaining wall about 80 feet long. There is a front to back slope and a sideways slope, so the height will vary from 5 down to 1 or 2 bricks. Also tying into and exsiting wall with the same bricks.

    I have read the installation instructions on a couple of manufacturers websites and that helps some. It looks like the key is getting the first row in really good.

    I figured I could just stack these up quickly. I guess you could do that but it may not look too good. What I am finding is that every single brick has to be completely level front to back, side to side, and top to bottom (in line with other bricks), or there will be wobbly bricks on top. I am using small levels and long levels to check them. A friend told me to just tamp the dirt down good. I got some sand and I can't imagine not using sand for this.

    The existing wall is level on top with no wobblers. They also did not use sand and did not chip off the bottom lip on the bottom row. I don't see why you would need to do this if using sand.

    Also I wonder about "cheating" by using sand to adjust wobblers. Is this a standard practice?

    And it seems like you would want the lines to be centered so that the rows are exactly staggered. (2 bricks join exactly at the center of the bricks above and below). But what if they get off at a curve. Perhaps it will look just fine?

    Anyway, I guess I' m figuring it out but would appreciate any tips.

    Terry Slade

    SCAPEASAURUSREX LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    Are you planning on installing a base ?? or just on dirt that is tamped ??? In order to install these correctly you CANNOT cheat... the wall WILL FAIL and you will have to do it again , or worse deal with liability issues if someone get s hurt because of improper installation.... Sand cannot be used to shim uneven blocks.. Water will wash it out the first time it rains... You can use shims made of stone... or mortar ? The key is to prepare a PROPER base and level the 1st course perfectly... You can leave the lip on the first course.. it adds stability to that base course, which on a wall of 30"s in height should be completly buried along with half of the second course at minimum..... Need to also have adequate and correct drainage system behind the wall to minimize static load created by water... Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah...... Think you better do some more research on the manufacturers web sites and brochures before you get too far and create a problem.... Good luck.. and do it right.. !!
  3. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Terry, PLEASE ask your manufacture rep to show you how to install a proper wall. Most if not all have classes on installation.
    They also have books on installation and some have video tapes.

  4. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    Thanks for the replies. From the label on one of the pallets, it looks like these are made by Pavestone. It also says Anchor Wall on the label. I wonder how one would get a rep to give a demo. And are the books just brochures with the same basic info on the websites or are there more comprehensive books on this? Any recommendations on good ones?

    The wall will be 20" at the highest points. Maybe 24" at some spots. This includes the bottom row which is buried. I am using an inch or so of sand to help with leveling. Not sure what would be done for drainage issues. Won't some water just "leak out" through the cracks between the bricks?
  5. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    YM, the hard part is swallowing your pride. But you'll be happy when you do.

    Take a big gulp, pick up the phone, and call your supplier. Tell them you want to learn about building retaining walls. You're hitting this at a good time, and there may be free seminars you can attend to teach you this, either put on by the supplier, or by the mfg. But you have to make some phonecalls.
  6. Patrick Harvey

    Patrick Harvey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I have built several walls out of this stone and it is very easy to work with. You can do this its not that hard. You will need a sand base. The first run is absolutly KEY, take your time and get it right. You will need a Transit level(if you dont have one rent one) to match the wall your building with the one thats already there. I use pieces of folded weed barrier as shims, they give more than stone (which may cause stress cracks in tall walls). If the wall is taller than 4' you will need drainage and maybe a permit. Every thing you need to know about installing this block is on Pavestone's web site look under DIY. If you have more questions e-mail me at patrickrharvey@hotmail.com.

    Patrick Harvey
    Harvey Lawn Care
    Providence, KY
  7. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Patrick and YM,

    Please run searches here, both on patio base and retaining walls, as they have similar information.

    You will find that you need a good deal more than a thin course of sand and shims to get segmental retaining wall block right. For that matter, there shouldn't be any shims at all.
  8. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    Well, almost no shims, Unilock Pisa II corners are manufactured by pressing them in a vertical orientation while the field units are pressed horizontally. This makes a width variance in the field units but in the corners it makes a height variance. Many times a penny and some paverbond under corners stacked more than 2 units high will be required to make up for the height variance.
  9. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    So whose job is it to bring the pennies? :p
  10. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    The new guy has pennies left in his pockets from bringing the boss coffee.

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