How to Reuse Old Concrete Slabs to Build Retaining Walls
One way to build a sustainable garden is to recycle materials as much as possible.
You might already have a pile of old concrete slabs in your yard, or maybe you're planning to change the surface into one with better drainage and will have the existing paving slabs as leftovers. Before getting rid of your existing slabs, you might consider recycling them in your garden.
Set Slabs Vertically to Build Retaining Walls
I saw this fabulous idea of recycling the washed concrete slabs at the Floriade Expo in Almere in the Netherlands. The Wilde Weelde garden was full of inspiring ideas, and one of them was to recycle concrete slabs to build retaining walls you can sit on and even pathways to walk on.
The trick was not to lay the slabs horizontally like you usually would but install them vertically with the larger sides, aka the surface and downside of the slabs, close to each other. You need no mortar, just set the slabs vertically on a solid foundation.
How to Support the Ends of the Retaining Wall
To construct a retaining wall, you must have firm support for the structure. You can either start the retaining wall with a stack of slabs laid horizontally to the same height as the retaining wall or start from another solid construction that gives an appropriate starting point. If you build a pathway, imbed the slabs properly into the soil.
After having a sturdy beginning for the retaining wall, you can start building the wall by setting the slabs vertically beside each other. The slabs being as large as the ones used in the Wilde Weelde garden, the retaining walls were an excellent height to sit on. With smaller slabs, you would create lower walls.
Retaining Walls with Flowing Shapes
This building idea looks so fresh! Vertically laid slabs also make constructing soft curves and nice flowing lines easy. They have a nice texture and showing the narrow side of each slab made the walls and paths look so graceful. You wouldn't have thought they were slabs many people are getting rid of now.
To build structures like this, you need quite a lot of slabs. You might find them in reclamation yards or local Facebook groups, or ask your neighbors if they are renovating their yards.
By recycling, you give a new release of life to the old concrete slabs, save money, and create a unique garden that is also sustainable in reusing materials.
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