Retaining Walls

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Posted on April 7, 2013

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Retaining Walls         

Komplete Bricks and Pavers have a wide range of segmental retaining wall products that can be used to add value to your outdoor area by creating dynamic spaces such as terraces, garden edges, ponds or garden beds.  Retaining wall systems are also available for major structural erosion control in residential and commercial projects.

Retaining walls are available in a range of colours and textures and can be used as a feature at your home while adding value and appeal.  All of the walls we stock come with easy to follow instruction manuals or we can arrange an obligation free quote from an experienced landscape contractor.

If you need specific design assistance, we can arrange for our in-house engineer to discuss your needs with you.  We can also assist you arrange the preliminary engineering drawings as required.

We are proud to display and stock retaining walls from Ad Bri, Boral, Austral and Selkirk.

What is a retaining wall?

A retaining wall is a structure designed to hold up ground which would otherwise drift down (for example, to hold up a hill if you cut into the side of it).  Segmental retaining walls are individual blocks made from concrete that are placed in the ground without the use of mortar. They are stacked dry.

In contemporary designs, segmental retaining walls can be used to create dynamic landscaping features adding an aesthetic point of interest in a landscaped garden.  Traditionally, retaining walls have been used to prevent soil erosion and create flat areas on steep or sloping blocks of land.

Other retaining walls:

Timber: Timber walls look good but are prone to rotting and being attacked by white ants/termites.  Railroad sleepers used to be popular but they have fallen out of favour due to environmental concerns and the fact that they decompose over time.  These factors generally make timber retaining walls the least effective material.

Brick/Block:  The bricks/blocks are quite economical to purchase however a brick wall requires a good design and a strong foundation to make sure it can hold back the load.  In addition, the need to employ a bricklayer and use mortar makes the use of brick/block retaining walls less DIY friendly.  There is an increasing move towards cladding brick/block walls with natural stone which can create an impressive feature in any garden.

Concrete: Concrete walls are reasonably cheap to erect and are very strong, however they are used mainly in commercial applications due to the inferior aesthetic appeal of the concrete.  If a concrete wall is used in a residential setting, they are usually clad with a natural stone veneer.

Benefits of Segmental Block Retaining Walls

1. Easy Installation

Segmental retaining walls are easy to install.  Segmental retaining walls are DIY friendly and time efficient for landscape contractors.  The systems are mortar-less meaning there is no cure time and courses can be stacked on top of each other without delay.  There is no need to employ a specialist bricklayer.

2.  Cost Effective

Segmental retaining walls are cost effective – especially for DIY projects.  After the blocks are purchased there are very few additional costs incurred.  For landscape professionals, segmental retaining walls are cost effective due to the fact that no mortar is needed, it can be a one-man job, and no major machinery is required.

3. Durability

Concrete segmental retaining walls have superior properties to alternatives e.g. timber and consist of characteristic low absorption and high quality materials.  Concrete segmental retaining walls are able to withstand the effects of weather, erosion and white ants/termites.   Segmental retaining walls will not crack, due to being interlocking rather than mortared (glued) together.

The durability and strength of the blocks gives segmental retaining walls a long term ROI over other retaining wall products.

4. Aesthetics

Segmental retaining walls come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and textures.  The combination of aesthetic appeal and structural integrity makes segmental retaining walls a wise decision for residential and commercial retaining walls. Segmental retaining walls are used by in DIY projects, by landscape contractors and designers.

5. Design Flexibility

Segmental retaining walls are available in various shapes and sizes making them ideal to use in tight/small areas.  Segmental retaining walls cope extremely well with designs including corners and curves.  Most retaining wall systems come with purpose made corners and caps to give all projects a high quality finish.  Segmental Retaining Walls are so versatile they can be used in both residential and commercial projects.

In the planning/design stage of the retaining wall, consideration will need to be given to the structural requirements of the wall, the soil conditions on the property and the aesthetic requirements of the project.  Komplete Bricks and Pavers will be able to assist you choose the best segmental retaining wall for your project.

If you need specific design assistance, we can arrange for our in-house engineer to discuss your needs with you.  We can also assist you arrange the preliminary engineering drawings as required.

Approval for Retaining Walls

Depending upon the size and the intended use of the retaining wall, council approval and/or a building permit may be required to construct your retaining wall.   As a general rule, any retaining wall being constructed on a boundary and any retaining wall over 1m (1000mm) high will require council approval and may also require the services of an engineer.

If you need specific design assistance, we can arrange for our in-house engineer to discuss your needs with you.  We can also assist you arrange the preliminary engineering drawings as required.