Add Ons to me are fun extra stuff we get to install to bring your retaining wall project to life.
They ideally are planned beforehand, and not added halfway through the project as a way of upselling you on something. They are optional, and entirely up to you.
Essential Add Ons
The essential add Ons to a retaining wall project will vary, and some or many of these may not be relevant to your specific project.
Fence post Anchors, Sleeve-It
If you are planning to have a fence installed behind your retaining wall, we need to install anchors for it while we are constructing the wall.
The drainage gravel behind your retaining wall is part of the “structure” that holds the soil back.
The taller the retaining wall, the more important this zone behind the wall is. Disturbing this zone can cause structural issues.
When retaining walls are reinforced with geogrid (a web like netting) it physically blocks or prevents someone from digging a hole for a fence post. Preplanning is essential when having a fence installed behind the wall.
Installing a fence on top of the concrete Allan Block caps is not recommended.
The caps are 4” thick and while strong themselves are fastened by adhesive. The leverage a fence will excerpt on the caps will cause the glue to break free, and the fence to come down.
The larger and more solid the fence is the quicker the wind will affect it, and cause failure.
Any required site services should be considered before constructing a permanent retaining wall. Pipes, conduit, and gas can all be routed under or behind your retaining wall if planned for in advance.
Even if you don’t need this presently, you may want to add conduit behind the retaining wall should you ever want to add lighting or power plugs down the road.
Finishing your retaining wall project
Upon completion your retaining wall is going to look great! It will be a bold new addition, structurally sound, and your welcome to stop here.
If, however you want to make your new brick wall blend in with nature we are going to have to add some plants, rocks, and mulch to finish the landscaping in front and behind your retaining wall.
As this is essential in my mind we can go off of your ideas, or ours. The next level of plantings is to have this professionally designed. I’ll cover that in the next section.
You really should…
We can get a little excited now, as we dream about how you want to bring your retaining wall to life. Again, to recap, this is optional and as the title suggests I think you really should!
Professionally designed planting space
A well thought out, designed, and drawn landscaping design will completely transform the look of your yard.
It costs about $1000-2000 and provides you the comfort knowing the right plants are chosen, planted in the right lighting condition, and they all work together.
This ensures that you start the clock immediately on establishing your landscape. It saves you the time of lost plants, future work and helps you get to your finish line quicker, and easier.
Landscape lighting is the final brush stroke on an otherwise beautiful space.
The pinnacle of landscape design is elevation, depth, color, curves, and lighting. This is because in the evening as the summer light fades your able to highlight plants, and trees in a very warm way.
Block and path lights highlight all the work you have had done, and guide your eye to future points you want to stand out, as well as illuminate your paths and show off that depth in your yard.
Optional Add Ons
Hand railings incorporated into to an Allan Block staircase may be a consideration for you.
In a residential setting they are not very common, but in a commercial application they are much more common. There may be a municipal requirement, however in our experience it has not been enforced.
Guard railings should be considered when there is a fall potential of greater than 24”.
The requirement is usually dependant on if the space above the wall where the fall could take place from is accessible or not. If it is accessible than this should be discussed. Again, it may be required by the city in which the retaining wall is built, but to date we have not had it enforced.
Fences or privacy screens on top of a retaining wall can really enclose the space, and make you much more comfortable outside.
Ideally this should be planned prior to construction so structural components can be added when building your Allan Block retaining wall.
There may be additional add Ons that are invented, or thought of over time. Your unique space, and design ideas can make a big difference in your overall landscaping.
We suggest you spend enough time making sure the design is considered, and not just have a retaining wall built.
Retaining walls completely transform spaces when they incorporate add Ons.