Retaining Wall Basics
Draw a plan showing measurements and grade elevations. The elevations are required to calculate how many retaining wall blocks are required and to estimate the cost.
Mark out the location of the wall. Before digging, call utility and cable companies to mark their wire locations (this is usually a free service.)
Excavate a minimum of 6-12 inch deep depending on the size of the wall unit you are using. Excavate more if the soil has been previously disturbed. Remove all loose soil. Remember that you need a minimum of 3 inches of a gravel base and at least 3 inches of the first wall unit course to be buried below grade level to help “toe in” the wall. You can save on materials if you step the wall up or down to accommodate the grade.
Place 3-6 inches of gravel in the trench and compact using a compactor. Compact until you have the best compaction possible. In areas with more than 6 inches of gravel, compact in layers of no more that 3 inches at a time. Leave enough room for the first row of the wall to be buried below grade level. The final height of your installation will determine the exact level you must set your base at.
Some wall styles come as “double units”, you must split these first. When placing the blocks, you must level each block individually using a mallet and a small level. Ensure that all blocks are leveled from side to side and front to back. After the first row is in the rest of the units can be stacked accordingly. Please note: You should always off set all vertical joints by starting with a block cut in half.
As you work you way to building courses to your wall start adding gravel after every two rows of blocks to aid in drainage. Use a well draining gravel like 6AC as a back fill (you may reference our installation guide for visuals.) Always use a filter fabric to separate the existing soils from your gravel.
When placing your final row of block (in some cases you may have a “coping” block or a “cap” that finishes off the wall) you must use a concrete adhesive. Always dry fit and cut any pieces required before applying any adhesive. After adhering the top row, place soil, sod or plant materials to complete your installation
Basics for building patios, walkways, and driveways
The installation of brick paver products requires some design skills and attention to detail. The beauty of the product is often judged by the quality of the installation. Brick pavers and walls are best installed by trained, experienced professionals. They also have the tools and equipment necessary to complete the project.
Draw a plan showing measurements and grade elevations. Calculate the amount of materials and estimate the cost of the project.
Mark out the location of the patio, walkway, or driveway. Call local utilities and cable companies to mark out wire locations.
Excavate the minimum required depth depending on your application. For walkways, excavate a minimum of 3 inches wider than the area for pavers. For driveways excavate a minimum of 6 inches wider than the area that you are paving. Please note: when figuring the depth to excavate, keep in mind that you will need 4 – 6 inches of base gravel, 1- inch of leveling sand and the depth of the brick pavers.
Fill the area with gravel in increments of 1 to 2 inches at a time followed by compacting after each layer. This will allow maximum density of the gravel. Then grade the base as closely as possible to the final contour of the finished job. Slope all installations away from the house or building for drainage purposes (minimum of 8’ slope over every 10’.)
Pavers are laid on a 1” bed of coarse sand, placed directly on the compacted base. (See cross section in our paver installation guide book available in our retail store.) Use a 1” diameter pipe as a screening guide on top of the gravel. Set up the guides so that your pavers are ¾” above the finished level to allow for compacting. Level the sand evenly by pulling a board along the pipes. Once you have completed the area, remove the guides and fill in the grooves with sand. Do not walk on the screened surface. Copyright© 2011 Beauchamp Lawn & Landscaping. All Rights Reserved. www.beauchamplawn.com
Place the pavers directly on the screened bed of sand. Start lying along the longest straight side. Keep lines straight by using string lines. This will minimize the cutting required. It is important that the lines of your pavers are square, 90° to each other, to fit properly. If you are installing circles, fans or soldier courses (a border of pavers around the perimeter of your area) you will want to place these first before installing the rest of the pattern.
You man need to cut pavers that don’t fit along the edges or around objects. Mark the pavers and cut with either a guillotine cutter or a masonry saw. A guillotine cutter is the easiest method of cutting but for and exact cut, “dry cut” masonry saw or tub style “wet saw” works best. These can be rented at your local rental outlet (The Rental Store, 1100 N Old US 23, Howell, MI 810-632-RENT (make this clickable to the TRS website))
Edge restraints are a critical element to the durability of a paver installation. They prevent pavers from moving and shifting over time
After the installation is complete, including edge restraints, the pavers must be swept clean and then compacted with a plate compactor (TRS address and phone number and website link.) This helps settle the pavers into the bedding sand and creates a flat surface. For patterns such as circles, you may want to put some jointing sand in first to stabilize the smaller pieces. We recommend a minimum of three passes with the compactor going in different directions.
Sweep specifically graded Jointing sand or Polymeric sand into the joints of the pavers. This locks the pavers together creating a very durable surface and adds additional protection from the penetration of weeds and insects.
Please Note: When working with areas where there are poor soil conditions (e.g. heavy clay or disturbed soils) there is potential for settlement. An increase in depth of the gravel base will provide more stability.
Tools that you will need:
A fungal disease that appears in the early spring as the snow melts. It looks like circular patches around 3”-12” in diameter of dead matted down grass. There are two species: Typhula incarnate – less severe (only infecting the leaf tissue) and infected patches usually recover quickly in the spring. Typhula ishikariensis – this infection may progress down into the crown, resulting in plant death or more severe and lasting damage.
Snow mold can be caused by extended periods of snow covering the ground that is not completely frozen. It can also occur under leaves that have not been cleaned up (fall clean ups) or with grass left too long before the winter season.
Fungicides are available but, they are not recommended due to the largely superficial and temporary damage snow mold inflicts on the lawn. Once the area has dried, the infection will cease and the turf will grow out and renew itself. To speed up the process, the infected area should be raked to encourage air-flow and eliminate dark, wet conditions that are ideal for snow mold growth.
Mulch is great to enhancing the look of your landscaping, however there is more to putting down mulch than just that. To get the best results from your mulch job, follow these rules: