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Stabilizing the Slopes of a Dream Home

By Lindsey Manthei O'Connor, Communications Specialist for Redi-Rock International

Redi-Rock Ledgestone was chosen as the solution because the organic, natural textures and rich colors matched the home's aesthetic, plus the massive one-ton blocks allowed the walls to be built as gravity structures. The site required a gravity solution because excavating for reinforced walls would have undermined the home's foundation. The two tiers of walls stand nine feet and 10.5 feet tall respectively and support a cart path for access to the homeowner's beach and dock. Phase 2 of the project will be completed in the summer of 2011 and will include landscape plantings including an English garden.
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A gorgeous house, on top of a steep bank, with a river at the bottom -- no wonder protecting the home from erosion was a major priority when the Gardners began building their dream home in 2010.

The home is just outside Louisville, Kentucky on the Ohio River, and construction of the house had already begun when Eric M. Goodman, R.L.A. of Form G was brought on site to design a bank stabilization solution. Initially, he looked into using a small, modular block system. He quickly realized, though, that the amount of excavation required to reinforce the walls would undermine the house's foundation.

So, Goodman turned to Redi-Rock, a precast concrete system that uses massive, one-ton blocks to create gravity wall solutions with the look of natural stone.

"With this system, the excavation behind the walls was minimized down to 8 ft. or so and that saved a substantial amount of cost. We would not have been able to make the project feasible otherwise," Goodman said.

The Gardners began building their dream home on the shores of the Ohio River before they turned to a landscape architect to design a soil stabilization solution for the steep bank.

Photos by Redi-Rock International

Benefits of Wall
In addition to the structural benefits, the manufacturer's new Ledgestone texture blocks have rich, natural colors and textures that blended in with the home's aesthetic. The organic, natural patterns make individual blocks nearly indistinguishable in finished walls--even in large installations such as this one.

"The owners picked Ledgestone based on color preference, the shape of the stone and the texture. The river banks have a sandy loam color and the Ledgestone wall blends in and doesn't look so massive," Goodman explained.

The two-tiered wall design was based on the adage "form follows function" to not only protect the slope, but to provide beach access as well.

"We somehow needed to go from 1:1 to 3:1, and also incorporate a cart path. We decided on a cross slope design with circular landings so the cart would have room to park. We designed the top freestanding wall using Redi-Scapes to maximize the view of the river and offer a gathering space along with a fire pit," Goodman explained.

Flooding Concerns
The project was located within the conveyance zone of the Ohio River, so Goodman designed the walls to account for flooding as well. The walls were structurally designed with a curve to the upstream side so water and debris would arc around the wall and reduce bearing capacity during a flood event. Rip rap was also placed along the foundation of the lower wall to help minimize undermining.

Local block manufacturer Redi-Rock of Kentuckiana installed Three thousand square feet of walls in just 30 calendar days. These blocks stacked like giant Lego blocks for a fast and easy installation.

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June 25, 2019, 7:54 pm PDT

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