Recently, my neighborhood association embarked on a somewhat ambitious project (ambitious for our little community, anyway) to replace all of our treated-lumber retaining walls with a more long-term and maintenance-free option. In the end, the board chose a concrete block system with a stone appearance. This segmented retaining wall system not only is aesthetically pleasing, but the two-tone colors blend seamlessly with the facade of the homes in the neighborhood. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results, and I suspect my neighbors approve as well.
Until this project was underway, I never gave much thought to retaining walls, having never built one myself or requiring that one be designed and built for me. Of course, I have written about them in the past and published articles from industry experts, but then I moved on to other projects – other articles. Now, however, I have a newfound appreciation for retaining structures. I take notice every morning of the new wall outside my home as I leave for work. It always puts a smile on my face. That new wall isn’t just retaining soil; it has beautified my community, increased my pride in my locality, and undoubtedly improved property values.
When was the last time you thought about the retaining walls in your neighborhood, or in your own backyard? Are you missing out on an opportunity to improve the appearance of your home? Better still, have you completed a retaining wall project recently that you think deserves to be shared with the masonry design community? If so, please let me know. I would be happy to consider it for publication in the magazine.
Belgard® Hardscapes has introduced the Mega-Tandem™ Mass Retaining Wall™ (MRW) block, a versatile wall block system with the natural look of stone that allows for building reinforced walls up to 15 feet high and gravity walls up to 10 feet without reinforcing.
“The size and connectors in the Mega-Tandem MRW system allow for a gravity wall height of up to 10 feet without a surcharge, which is ideal for wall projects where it is difficult to impossible to excavate for stabilization for a retaining walls,” said Al Pfannenstein, national retaining wall manager for Belgard Hardscapes. “This height is a sharp contrast to the traditional three-foot height that SRW products typically can achieve without reinforcement.”
Mega-Tandem features a patent-pending, positive mechanical connection. The reinforced polypropylene connecting members create structural integrity in curved or straight retaining and freestanding walls. Available in a 12 x 24 panel weighing 65 pounds, the system has a running bond configuration so no patterns are required.
Meeting ASTM standards (C-1372 and C-1262), Mega-Tandem’s 8,500 psi compressive strength concrete makes it suitable across the country, even the coldest environments where it can withstand harsh freeze-thaw cycles. It is available in three color blends, and in 12 different facial textures with the classic look of natural chiseled stone.
“The design versatility offered by Mega-Tandem provides flexibility for better integration of retaining walls in building and landscape designs of commercial properties and homeowners’ outdoor living spaces,” Pfannenstein said.
For more information and a how-to video, visit: http://youtu.be/WD5fxpFVMnI.