Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hardscape – Oh that’s Hardscape - Seat Walls

Seatwalls are walls (freestanding or retaining) that also can act as sitting areas. Seatwalls are typically 18”-24” high and can be made of several different kinds of materials. The wall will define a space and a texture and interest to a patio.

Freestanding seatwalls are finished on both sides of the wall and can be accessed from multiple areas. A freestanding wall is meant to define a space and add seating options to an area. A retaining seatwall is finished on only one side and has access on only one side. A retaining seatwall is meant to retain soil on one side, define a space, add seating option and to raise plants higher for screening or maintenance (raised garden beds) issues.

Seatwalls can be made of several different kinds of materials. One of the most common types of material is the concrete block wall. There are several different manufactures of concrete block walls and they all have different price points as well as looks. Some of the different manufactures of concrete block walls avaible in area are Keystone, Belgard and Mutual Materials.

If you want your seatwalls to match your house, the way to go is a CMU wall (cinder block). A concrete footing is poured and CMU and rebar make the structural part of the seat wall. The wall is then finished to match the residence (stone, stucco, wood or any combination).

Natural stone can also be used for the seatwall. For natural stones, one of the more popular options here is the Local Table Rock Sandstone, which is a very soft stone that can be chipped or saw cut to get a tight fit between the wall builders. There are several other kinds of stones that can be stacked to make a seat wall. I recommend going down to your local rock supplier to see what your options are. One of the main keys in picking out stone of a seatwall is to pick stones that are flat on opposite sides, so that the stack fairly easily and don’t rock once to start adding the second level.

Other materials that are can be used are solid slabs of concrete or natural stone, Cor-ten Steel, short basalt upright columns, Gabion wall (wire frame basket, filled with stones) with cap (wood, concrete…), wood or any combination. The design choices are almost unlimited.

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