Building Curves and Serpentines in Your Retaining Walls
Curving borders add visual interest and make retaining walls seem more natural, like it’s a part of the landscape. Following natural contours of the yard can be both beautiful and practical. When the degree of curvature you place in the wall is sufficient, the shape of serpentine walls helps to increase stability.
Whether you choose curved retaining walls or classic straight walls, Heritage Block has the system to satisfy every design.
Step 1: Determine the Radius
Most manufacturers’ retaining walls need a greater setback in order to curve, which causes a coning effect to occur. Heritage Block retaining walls need no set back, so curves are nearly vertical and there is no coning effect. Your radius can be determined without having to figure in any difference between the top and the bottom of the wall.
Step 2: Start the Curve
Determine where the curve will start, then measure straight back from the wall to the required radius before driving a stake in the ground to mark your spot. This will be the center of the curve.
From there, tie a string the length of the radius to the stake and rotate it, making marks to act as guides for the base course.
Helpful hint: Make sure you note the difference between outside and inside curves in your design. An inside curve is built differently from an outside curve.
After you’ve made your marks, begin the excavation process with the minimum width of your trench being 32 inches. Compact subgrade to at least 95% Standard Proctor, then place ABC/ “crush and run” into the excavated trench and compact in designated thickness.
Step 3: Installing Geogrid
We recommend geogrid on any curved wall, but all curves over 4 feet tall must be completely covered with geogrid to reinforce their strength. To achieve maximum coverage, additional layers will need to be installed above the course where the geogrid is required. This will fill in any voids you may inadvertently create.