Retaining walls to the rescue |

Segmental Retaining Wall (SRW) units are one of the most versatile landscaping tools in the homeowner’s and professional landscaper’s toolbox. Retaining wall units have evolved from their mere use to support soil, transition slopes, and prevent erosion. Today’s SRWs can do all of that and serve as multipurpose building blocks for a variety of outdoor living functions including stairs, pillars, freestanding walls, tiered walls, curved walls, seating, and more.

While SRWs still wonderfully achieve their original intentions, professionals and homeowners alike can easily create hardscape features that make outdoor living spaces more useful and enjoyable. “Our landscape architects are very inventive with segmental retaining wall units, and our customers greatly appreciate all of the features that can be created with SRWs,” said Scott Arnold, manager of Villa Landscapes in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Products like the VERSA-LOK retaining wall system can be creatively customized by homeowners and professionals to accommodate curves, corners, pillars and levels – with no special parts. For example, a popular application is a retaining wall that uses a convex curve sunk into a small slope. Additional panels can be stacked against the lower panels of the wall to create a “couch” or seating area that surrounds a circular paved patio and a fire pit installed on the ground floor.

Free standing walls are common uses for retaining wall units. Sometimes referred to as garden or seating walls, freestanding walls are designed to encircle the perimeter of a patio and can serve as space for seating or potted plants. They also provide some level of privacy in an outdoor living area and, when designed with recessed pillars, can be a support for fencing.

Graduated walls are a common solution for salary changes and erosion control. The advantage of tiered walls is that they look great and the space between the walls can be used for a patio or for perennials, shrubs, vegetables or herbs. Tiered walls add visual depth and texture to a hardscape design and can be more aesthetic than a single wall. Stairs that are integrated into a stepped wall design allow safe access to a house on a slope or hill. A tiered design also creates a low-maintenance landscape so that there is no difficult slope to mow.

Retaining wall units can serve as risers for steps. Stair treads can be finished with special prefabricated stair tread units or paving stones made of bullnose (round-edged). When stair treads are installed in a contrasting shade or color, they add interest to a hardscape design. Retaining wall unit stairs can be placed within a tiered wall design, in a single wall, or with wing walls on each side. Raised decks built with a foundation created by SRWs is another popular feature that is often used to replace high-maintenance decks.

Columns created with SRWs are a versatile, beautiful, and functional feature within a hardscape design. They can carry a pergola, lighting, or other landscaping features like statues and are used to finish off the ends of a free standing wall or seating wall. They can also be spaced apart within a wall design, and pillars provide an attractive way to frame and support fences.

The use of SRWs is only limited by the imagination for outdoor living. With a variety of colors, textures, and configurations, the VERSA-LOK Retaining Wall System can do everything from landscape walls with curves, pillars, corners, and steps to professionally constructed, ground reinforced retaining walls. VERSA-LOK, the original solid, pinned SRW system, enables homeowners and professionals to create multi-angle corners, curves, stairs, pillars and freestanding walls with just one type of device, without filling voids or purchasing special parts.

“VERSA-LOK is the only block with which I do 90 percent of my projects. it does it all, “says Stan Genadek, owner of Genadek Excavating and Landscaping in Mendota Heights, Minnesota and creator and host of a popular landscaping YouTube channel,” Stanley ‘Dirt Monkey’ Genadek. “Genadek:” Because of its versatility and easy installation, VERSA-LOK is the gold standard for retaining wall systems. “

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