Retaining Walls – Frequently Asked Questions

by Pavestone on April 1, 2010

How high can you build a retaining wall with the Anchor™ Windsor Stone® Wall?


Anchor™ Windsor Stone® Retaining Wall

Anchor™ Windsor Stone® Retaining Wall


You can build a retaining wall with the Anchor™ Windsor Stone® wall product up to 2 feet high. That would be a total of 7 layers of wall because it is recommended that you bury one full layer of wall in the ground for stability. If you have the space you can a terraced wall. To build a terraced wall, you first build a 2 ft. high wall, then terrace back 4 ft. and build another wall 2 ft. high for a total of 4 ft.

How high can you build a retaining wall with the Anchor™ Diamond® Wall?


Anchor™ Diamond® Retaining Wall

Anchor™ Diamond® Retaining Wall


You can build an Anchor™ Diamond Wall retaining wall up to a height of 4 feet without a tieback. Anything over that requires an Engineers design using Geo Grid Fabric at various levels depending on the height and soil conditions. In fact, a Diamond wall that is properly engineered, can be built to heights over 4 feet and higher. It is recommended that you bury one full layer of wall in the ground for stability and be sure to have an engineers design for any walls taller than 4 feet.

How far apart should I place my walls when building a terrace?

A general rule of thumb is to take your wall height and double it. This will give you the distance needed between walls. For example if your wall is 2 feet high the next wall should be installed at least 4 feet behind the first one to make sure that you are in solid ground to build your next wall. Then you can build your next wall another 2 feet high. This will give you a total of 4 feet of retaining wall. The nice thing about terracing is that it breaks up the sheerness of the wall and allows for a beautiful planting area.

How many Anchor™ Windsor Stones® will it take to do my project?

Each Anchor™ Windsor Stone® is approximately 1 linear foot. This makes figuring straight walls extremely easy. Simply take the total length of your wall in feet and multiply by the number of courses (or layers) high you are choosing to build your wall.

Example: Total wall length is 15 feet and you wish to go up 4 courses. 15 feet x 4 courses = 60 pieces. For serpentine walls and tree rings you can lay out your shape with a rope or garden hose, mark the hose and then straighten it back out and measure the number of feet. Once this is established you can use the straight wall formula. Helpful Hint: We have supplied Material Project Estimator that can help with more popular project calculations.

Can I put Anchor™ Windsor Stone® right on top of the ground?

Anchor™ Windsor Stones® need to be securely anchored in the ground. How deep it needs to be anchored is dependent on whether you are doing a short wall or a tall wall. A short wall is defined as any wall 3 courses or less and a tall wall as any wall 4 courses or more (remember 7 courses is the maximum recommended wall height). For a short wall we recommend burying the bottom layer 1/2 (or two inches). On a 3-course wall this will leave you 10 inches showing out of the ground. For a tall wall we recommend burying the entire bottom layer (or 4 inches). On the maximum wall height of 7 courses this will leave you 24 inches showing out of the ground. By burying the first row, you have created a stable footing to support the rest of your wall and will keep movement to a minimum.

What kind of base do I need for my Anchor™ Windsor Stones®?

While not absolutely necessary, a 1 in. bed of sand in the bottom of your trench is recommended and extremely helpful. In order for your wall to be attractive and serve it’s purpose it needs to be level. By putting a 1 inch bed of sand in the bottom of your trench you will save yourself a lot of time when using your level on the bottom row. For tall walls (4 courses or higher) you might also mix dry Portland cement in with your sand. After your wall is built, the Portland/sand mixture will draw moisture from the ground and help secure your bottom row creating somewhat of a footer.

How do I cut my Anchor™ Windsor Stones® to finish my project?

Start by measuring the size of the piece you will need to finish that row. For cuts that are 1/2 of a stone, you will notice that many of the stones you have purchased have a groove in the backside of the stone. This is a built in stress point to help you split stones in half. You start your cut by scoring the wall piece around all four sides with a heavy-duty 3 inch masonry chisel and a hand sledgehammer then simply roll the stone onto its face with the back sticking up in the air. Then set the 3 inch masonry chisel into the groove and strike it with the sledge hammer. And after a couple blows the stone should split in half. For cuts that are smaller or larger than a 1/2 stone you will need to make your own stress point. After measuring your cut size, use the same measurement to mark your stone on the top, bottom, and back. Use your chisel to score the stone on all four sides. Then continue to work your chisel up and down your score line until the stone breaks.

Why do I use landscape fabric behind my retaining wall?

The landscape fabric serves as a filter to keep small soil particles from working their way through the wall when moisture is present. Remember that any material used as a barrier behind your wall must allow moisture to come through so it can help prevent your wall from failing.

Should I mortar the top row of my retaining wall to prevent kids from lifting or moving them?

We don’t recommend mortaring any of our wall products since these walls are designed to be motarless. A good construction grade adhesive is recommended when you need to secure the top row to prevent kids from moving your wall pieces and is highly advised. We have found that there are several concrete adhesives that work well and most adhesives can be applied with a caulk gun. Go to your local Pavestone dealer and ask for a quality construction grade adhesive. Example: MD 400.

What is the lip on the bottom of the Anchor™ Windsor Stone® for?

The lip serves as a guide and interlock when stacking the wall pieces on top of each other. The lip ensures that the wall will angle towards the material it is holding back, thus creating a wall that is less likely to fail. Some wall systems use fiberglass pins that you insert into the wall pieces, this serves as a guide as well but is much more time consuming and not very forgiving if you haven’t placed your wall pieces exactly right. The pinless Anchor system with the lip is much quicker and easier to install.

What are the advantages of having a Anchor™ Windsor Stone® retaining wall versus using landscape timbers?

Our Windsor retaining wall units come in many different colors to blend with your homes exterior. And unlike any products made from wood which rot, warp, and become insect and rodent motels, our products are made to be durable, flexible, and timeless.

How many pieces of Anchor™ Windsor Stone® are on a pallet and how much does it weigh?

There are 112 pieces of Anchor™ Windsor Stone® on a pallet and it will cover approximately 37 face foot of wall. Each piece of Windsor wall weighs approximately 24 lbs. and a full pallet would weigh 2,738 lbs. when you add in the weight of the wood pallet.

How many pieces of Anchor™ Diamond® wall are on a pallet and how much does it weigh?

There are 45 pieces of Anchor™ Diamond® wall on each pallet, which will cover approximately 30 face foot of wall. Each piece of Diamond® wall weighs approximately 68 lbs. and a full pallet would weigh 3,110 lbs. when you add in the weight of the wood pallet.

Related posts:

  1. Pavers – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 3
  2. Pavers – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 2
  3. Retaining Walls – Customer Showcase by Krause Landscape
  4. Pavers – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1
  5. Segmental Retaining Walls – Not Your Father’s Retaining Wall

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Retaining Wall Weekend Project-Uncategorized |Interlocking Pavers
March 31, 2011 at 8:39 pm

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gary October 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Can this system be used as a retaining wall on a pond, with the pond freezing in the winter? Some kind of retaining wall is needed to prevent erosion of the yard into the pond. The wall would need to be about 2 feet tall.

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