Landscape walls take a variety of forms – garden walls, retaining walls, sitting walls, privacy walls. And each can be implemented in a variety of materials – manufactured materials, natural stone, cinder block with veneer. The resulting “look” of the wall consequently has a similar variety of appearances from traditional manufactured split face to rustic natural stacked stone.
Historically, natural stone walls were capped with larger pieces of the same stone as part of the overall hardscape design. Manufactured walls were capped with a cap thinner than the wall block but with the same color and texture. Over the last few years, many new options have emerged.
The traditional options still dominate customer installations. But if you are seeking a different look, two major categories of new products can be considered for hardscape design: treads and simulated stone.
Treads are pieces of natural stone or concrete which are at least three-foot, straight sections providing for longer expanses without seams. Treads can be finished on one long side or both or even the two long sides and an end. The most common edge in natural stone treads is flamed. But rock-faced edges are also available or can be added by a skilled mason. These looks are mimicked in simulated stone treads. Natural stone in the Pennsylvania area will most likely be flagstone, blue in color or variegated which adds greens and browns to the basic blue color. Natural stone treads can found in sandstone (beige), limestone (pale gray) or west mountain where each piece presents various combinations of brown, beige, gold and salmon. EP Henry, Techo Bloc, and CST are leading vendors in providing manufactured simulated bluestone treads which are generally blue or brown but can sometimes be produced in custom colors.
Techo Bloc has pioneered simulated stone wall caps. They offer Portofino, Muro, Venetian, and Niagara caps (in addition to multiple concrete tread options). These caps are double sided and trapezoid in shape making both straight and curved walls easy to cap. They are designed to look like natural stone but offer the advantage multiple colors in addition to easier curves.
Wall caps are generally either 12 or 14-inches deep. This is usually wide enough to top any wall or step structure. Treads can be found in depths up to two feet. Deeper concrete products are usually special ordered.