Another Block in the Wall

Walls do not always divide people and their property. Some of them smooth the path between nature and construction by offering curb appeal, practical landscaping solutions, and beautiful spaces to garden.

One of our clients in Cleveland, GA had a driveway that was cracking and pulling apart from their home. To get to the bottom of it, we *literally* had to go to the bottom. We discovered the driveway was built on fill dirt, a type of loose dirt that isn’t compact and sinks under the weight of concrete. Water was making the issue worse by adding to the weight of the driveway and eroding the soil underneath. Part of the problem was that our clients had clogged drains and thus precipitation could not clear out. Water had been seeping below the concrete, washing out the foundational dirt, creating larger holes and cracks, and causing it to sink further and further. Not only was the issue aesthetically unappealing, the driveway itself was in a state of collapse!

This photo shows the concrete of the driveway separating from the ground eroding underneath.

That’s where we came in! After learning the root cause of the problem, we went to work.

We decided to build a block wall with Allan Block and a concrete cap. Block walls are strong, they drain properly, hold soil in its place, and are flexible as far as to where they can be built. They are also attractive (with the right stonework) and are easy to incorporate into landscape design (with proper planting). For this project, our client wanted a garden in between the edge of the wall and the driveway. We started the block wall about 20 feet out from the driveway, allowing for plenty of space for greenery. We then had to dig 5 or 6 feet down to find virgin soil underneath the fill dirt.

We had to dig 5 or 6 feet down past the fill dirt to find virgin soil.
We used a plate compactor on the wall’s lower level to compress and stabilize the soil.
Allan Block is a common and renowned retaining wall system used by contractors.

The top of the wall provided an elegant stage for our client’s dream garden. Her garden now has herbs, a raised bed for veggies, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, native plants, and annual flowers in the summer.

Here, you can see the tiered garden to the left and the stones we used to separate the driveway.
The garden has many features including this picturesque raspberry plant.
Lavender and rosemary are just a few of the many wonderful smelling herbs enjoyed by all in the garden.
At the bottom of the wall we planted drought-tolerant and deer-resistant shrubs to help the stonework blend into the natural beauty of the client’s yard.
Here, you can see how the shrubs surround the bottom of the wall, softening the landscape and allowing for more curb appeal.

At the end of it all we had fixed the driveway, solved the drainage issue, and created a wonderful new garden and landscape. One wall, 3 purposes!

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