Retaining Walls & More!
Design Ideas from Allan Block
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Welcome to Allan Block. For over 25 years we have been a leading developer in segmental retaining walls and mortarless wall systems. We are dedicated to bringing you the best products and providing you the information and services you need to tackle any landscape project.
Whether you are a homeowner looking to transform your own landscape, a veteran contractor who has been building retaining walls for years, or a designer, engineer or architect working on plans for the next big project - Allan Block has something for you. Take a tour through our website and find the resources you need to make your wall project a success.
Why Allan Block?
Built-In Performance: Every Allan Block wall has built-in features that make it faster, easier, and more fun to build than other wall systems. Allan Blocks are “dry-stacked” without the need for footings, mortar or fancy connectors. Allan Blocks lock together by design with unique, patented locking features so every block stays in place once they are stacked together. Allan Blocks have built-in engineering and when constructed properly will stand the test of time. Every Allan Block has a natural built-in beauty crafted to give Allan block retaining walls the look and feel of Natural Stone. WHY ALLAN BLOCK? – Built-In Performance!
Above everything else Allan Block offers Superior Service. At Allan Block we like to say AB stands for “Always Better” What that means is that our team is always striving to be the best. From installation instructions and project ideas, to estimating tools and engineering design software, Allan Block has a large library of resources and the most comprehensive website around to help you plan, design and build with Allan Block products.
As we strive to be on the cutting edge of the industry we continue to work with our network of AB Representatives, Dealers, Contractors, and Designers to educate and develop new tools and resources to make every project a success. Some of our newest resources have been developed for the customer on the go. Check out the apps and e-books we have available for your smart phones and tablets.
Whether you are homeowner working on your own backyard, an engineer designing large industrial projects or anyone in between, Allan Block has the product, style and the resources for you.
What is a Retaining Wall?
A retaining wall is a structure that holds or retains soil behind it. There are many types of materials that can be used to create retaining walls like concrete blocks, poured concrete, treated timbers, rocks or boulders. Some are easy to use, others have a shorter life span, but all can retain soil.
Gravity Wall or Geogrid Reinforced Wall?
Several questions must be considered in order to build the proper type of retaining wall. For example, is the soil sand, clay, or something in between? What is above the wall: a driveway or something heavier like a pool? Will the ground above or below the wall be level sloped? What is the height of the wall? All of these factors will determine whether you will need a Gravity Retaining Wall or a Geogrid Reinforced Retaining Wall.
Gravity retaining walls are walls that depend on their own weight and setback to retain the soil and are typically shorter in height. Allan Block retaining walls are ideal for this type of wall, because as they are stacked together they lock into place to form a setback. This setback helps the wall support the pressure from the soils behind it.
Reinforced retaining walls are walls that use some type of reinforcement to give more strength to the retaining wall structure, thus improving its ability to retain the soils behind it. For SRW’s (Segmental Retaining Walls), we refer to this reinforcement as geogrid or grid. Geogrid is placed between courses of blocks in the wall and rolled back into the slope or hillside during installation to create a stronger and more stable soil mass. In layman’s terms, the blocks, the geogrid and the reinforced soil mass work together to make one large, heavy retaining wall structure. Sometimes grid is not a usable solution on a project due to space or other site conditions, so alternative reinforcement materials need to be used – such as no-fines concrete, soil nails or earth anchors. These types of reinforcement typically require a local engineer for the design and a certified contractor for the installation
Types of Retaining Walls
Over the years many different retaining wall materials have helped to alter the landscape in which we live. Common retaining wall products include railroad ties or treated timbers as well as wall stones, natural stones, bricks and concrete block.
While wood is often an inexpensive and simple choice for a retaining wall, its short lifespan makes it a relatively poor choice. As the wood decomposes, so does your retaining wall and the integrity of your usable space. Stones, rocks or boulders can create beautiful retaining walls, but the installation of these materials can be expensive and labor intensive. Furthermore, maintenance of stone walls can be difficult, because over time or they may erode or become home to rodents and weeds.
Cast-in place or mortared retaining walls are another option. These walls can be installed with a variety of veneers, bricks, flagstones, etc. which add texture and style. However, these structures are rigid and do not move and flex with climate changes, earthquakes and other natural forces, and can be very expensive to build.
SRW’s (Segmental Retaining Walls) like the Allan Block products, offer concrete masonry blocks that are modular and interlocking for ease of use. Simply stack the mortarless blocks together using our installation information, and create a maintenance-free retaining wall that will add usable land, fix a grading or slope issue, and solve many other site problems. These SRW’s use similar construction techniques as found in the mortarless construction of the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt and will stand the test of time. SRW’s come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors as well as different facing textures. Some of the more common textures offer a hard-split or soft-split look, a tumbled look, or more recently a stamped face. Concrete blocks made out of recycled materials are also available. Once you build a wall with an SRW – you can be sure it is built to last.
More Than Just Retaining Walls: Patio Walls & Fences
Patio Walls, Outdoor Kitchens and More!
Patios add a comfortable space to any yard and are useful for outdoor entertaining or simply relaxing in the sun. When designing a patio space, consider adding patio walls to define the area
What is a patio wall or seating wall? A patio wall is simply a two-sided, free-standing wall, which can be designed with a variety of features and styles. Designed to surround an area or define an outdoor living space, a patio wall can be decorative and provide seating areas, planters, lighting and other outdoor accents.
AB Courtyard is a versatile patio wall system that lets you use the blocks to build seating and patio walls and a wide variety of outdoor elements. Using this panel and post/pillar type system, you can build everything from custom outdoor kitchens and BBQ grilling areas to outdoor bars and benches. By simply changing the way the blocks stack together, you can create limitless design options! Build an above or below ground pond, fire pit, outdoor couch, entry monument or even an outdoor fireplace. Create your own outdoor room or upgrade an existing paving stone patio - decorate it with AB Courtyard.