The current wall construction used in SRW (segmental retaining walls) like the one above, or almost any landscaping block wall system in this day and age actually started long ago in ancient Egypt. There is a science to the overall structure and design of these walls... or at least there is supposed to be. At first glance it appears the pyramids of Egypt are structurally sound due to the step-like overall design. That is a factor, along with the huge blocks of stone used in the construction. However, researchers and structural engineers were a little more baffled at the sight of some of these structure where time and weather had bested the blocks/stones, leaving only a pyramidal shape of dirt. Why did this dirt stand alone? How did it keep its shape over the sands of time? As curiosity got the better of them, they began to excavate into one of these structures only to find woven fabric covered in a waterproofing agent and compacted soil. These two factors of construction were the essence of the longevity and durability of the structure. Today, we model this very practice in our retaining wall designs. There is a right way, and a wrong way, and not everyone is certified to install these structures.
The problem with a bad install is that it could look good initially. This wall took about 2 years to sink and tilt. The repair would have to be foundation up, so the entire structure would have to come down to the base. It could cost more to repair this old block wall than to install a new one... so make sure your contractor is certified by the NCMA (National Concrete and Masonry Association) prior to hiring.
Harvell Landscaping is certified by the NCMA and the ICPI. We love every aspect of hardscaping and SRW... from the history, to the structural engineering standpoint, and to the design/install that fits your backyard or business. Results that stand the test of time!