Tired of building landscape walls, benches, and counters in modular block?
- Go Earthen -
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Building in rammed earth is an ancient tradition dating back to the first mud huts.
Yet then as now, rammed earth remains a viable construction technique.
There is a simple elegance in rammed earth as a construction technique and in its timeless aesthetic.
RAMMED EARTH WALLS ON MONOLITHIC CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS -
With and Without Concrete Cap
Rammed Earth has been adapted for modern tastes yet remains an inexpensive solution to the rising costs of masonry construction.
Reusable plywood forms and bracing provide the builder a repeatable, systematic means of construction.
These reusable forms are simple to build and are inexpensive to construct.
Setup the forms, dump a foot of material in, tamp and repeat.
It is an amazingly fast and efficient process, producing more wall square footage than a comparable masonry block one.
Varying the earthen mixes can produce a wide range of textural finishes.
Get in touch with your Inner-mud pie. An alchemy of mixes delivers astonishing results.
MONOLITHIC WALL ELEMENT – Sectional Construction
EXTERIOR BRACING – Without Anchor Holes
A diverse range of shapes and sizes can be built in rammed earth, limited only by the builder’s skill in making the desired form.
Rammed earth loves being formed into curvilinear walls.
CURVING RAMMED EARTH WALL – On Slab Footing
BENDER BOARD FORM – Exterior Bracing
Casting a monolithic wall is vastly different than building one from modular units.
Block walls require a skilled masonry crew.
Once your set of forms are built to specification, no other skilled labor is required to either setup the forms, ram the earthen lifts, or in stripping them.
Beyond the reusable forms’ costs, the earthen materials are, cheap as dirt...
A rammed earth structure does not have to be painted or sealed and needs little if any maintenance, as opposed to a block structure.
And, environmentally speaking, building doesn’t get much, Greener.
TYPICAL SECTIONAL SLIDE FORMING
There are a variety of ways to build the forms.
Plywood is the norm for the forming panels.
Bracing is generally whatever the builder has on hand, such as dimensional lumber or steel studs.
When anchoring, between panels (see illustrations), utilize threaded bar through sections of pipe.
Small compositions, such as seating walls, can be braced externally, without anchor holes through the wall proper.
TYPICAL COMPONENTS – Plywood Forms, Wood Bracing and Metal Anchors
TYPICAL TAMPING – Earthen Lifts
Enhancing exterior living environments with rammed earth features, will accentuate peaceful and grounding experiences for your clients.
A rammed earth garden wall is a spectacular way in which to showcase their outdoor living space.
But why stop there?
Other landscape features such as seating walls, counters, BBQ’s, and water features also lend themselves to rammed earth construction.
It’s essentially the same construction methodology as for building walls.
Consider the bench a thick, short wall in terms of its forming.
For BBQ’s, water feature basins, and under counter storage internal forming is required to the create voids.
Walls can also be enhanced in this same fashion, creating windows and doorways
MOON GATE IN RAMMED EARTH WALL
As a designer I love to spec rammed earth into landscape projects.
And as a builder I get to have a whole lot more fun. Working in rammed earth is a joy.
High-end home builders figured out the value and allure of rammed earth structures decades ago.
And in the ‘3rd’ world it’s been around as long as Eve’s desires, for a place to get out of the rain.
So, what’s going on in landscape design? – As far as I can see, Nada Mas.
In that spirit, I’ve begun a second How-To manual. This one on Rammed Earth Landscape Features. It will be available late Spring 2021. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
The Steps & Specs for the fabrication of rammed earth forms along with an installation guide for the making and handling of the earthen wall materials.
Like the first manual, Hillside Staircase, it will be a straightforward design guide for builders.
Hillside Staircase is available for purchase here. Go to my Contact/Sales Page.
RELIEF ON RAMMED EARTH WALL