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How to easily build walls and vertical features with U-CARA®
U-Cara is the genesis of a new landscape wall era. “Cara” is the Spanish word for “face” describing exactly what makes U-Cara so unique. The U-Cara Landscape Wall System is a platform that allows for the mixing and matching of face panels to create that one-of-a-kind look. The system is comprised of “backer blocks” which are molded with horizontal rails which allow the fascia panels to be mounted on the wall. This allows for many variations of color and texture. The backer block supporting rails also allow the fascia panels to be placed anywhere on the backer blocks, creating some interesting patterns. Because the U-Cara Wall System is a dual component system, the individual units are not too heavy to handle. Also, the U-Cara two-block system conveniently facilitates wiring for under the counter or under the coping lighting without additional cutting.
Although this system might sound complicated or difficult, it is not. As with all walls, it all starts with a solid foundation. The last thing that you want to do is build a wall or an outdoor living feature and have it settle over the next few years. There are several things to consider when building a U-Cara retaining wall seat wall or outdoor living feature:
All walls must be constructed on an undisturbed subgrade. This means that the subsoil below your project has to be solid and not dug up over the last 3 or 4 years. A loose subgrade will continue to settle for years to come and before you know it, settlement will begin.
In order to prevent settlement or frost movement, it is also important that the area is well-drained. The best way to accomplish this is to have approximately 6 to 12 inches of clear gravel below your project. Clear gravel refers to gravel that has no sand or powder mixed through it, which means that it can’t hold water. Not holding water means there will be little or no frost affecting the wall. The other advantage of clear gravel is that it will not settle overtime. Other gravels may be used, but they will require much more compaction before constructing your wall or feature. Refer to the Unilock Advanced Tech Guide for additional information regarding base preparation for walls.
Some Outdoor Living features such as grill Islands, fireplaces, or fire top bars will have a lot of weight to them, which means that you should construct the outdoor feature on top of a poured concrete pad supported by sono tubes down below the frost line. This concrete pad should be poured on a 6-inch layer of clear gravel as well. For lighter walls such as seat walls or small retaining walls, we recommend that you install the U-Grip/Universal Base Units. These base units are used as a levelling surface and will allow you to build your U-Cara wall quickly simply by stacking up the components, almost like a Lego project. You may wish to refer to the U-Cara installation manual or videos to learn more about how these base units are installed.
Because of the way the U-Cara panels are designed, they are dimensionally very precise. Simply lay out the dimensions of what you want to build on a sheet of graph paper, and then break it down into the unit panel sizes. When you design within the parameters of the unit sizes, it allows you to construct walls and features that require little or no cutting, which is a huge advantage of the U-Cara System.
Unilock Outdoor Idea Center staff are a great resource when planning a project. If you bring in a diagram of what you want to build, our in-house designers can help you plan and execute your project. In many areas of the country, Unilock dealers can also assist you in determining the best way to design and construct your U-Cara project.
Just to recap, the main reasons that make U-Cara ideal for retaining walls or other vertical hardscape features are: lightweight, easy to handle (even for DIY’ers), easy to plan within panel dimensions, easily facilitates wiring for lighting and little or no cuts needed.