Wall - Aligning the First Course
Golden, Colorado: August 5, 2005

After digging an 8 - 12 inch deep ditch, filling the bottom few inches with gravels, and compacting it, it was time to lay the first course of the wall. Since the rest of the wall will depend upon this foundation, it is extremely important that the block be straight and level. Here you see the blocks awaiting placement in the ditch.

Determining what is "level" and "straight" was a technical challenge for which we did not have the proper tools. So, Mike bought a self-leveling laser. We spent a few days working in the early evening (so we could still see the work area but could also see the laser), to try to level the gravel along the length of the wall as best we could. Here are some pictures of Mike working with the laser on the last night to straighten the blocks. What you can't see in these pictures is that the laser line falls across the front lip of the blocks.It's easier for Mike for see that with the red glasses he is wearing.

Here is what the finished product looked like the next day. You can see where we started to fill some of the blocks with gravel. Each of those cement blocks weighs 76 pounds, and they are buried 4-6 inches underground to keep the wall from moving forward. The gravel placed inside and in-between the rocks adds weight and keeps them aligned. There will be a "French drain" (perforated drainage pipe that runs into the yard) and 4 inches of gravel behind the blocks to make sure water draining off the hill does not cause additional pressure to build up behind them.