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Add stylish accents when designing a manufactured wall system

December 06, 2012

As an increasing number of landscape architects, designers and contractors, turn to manufactured wallstones, they are discovering — with the help of leading manufacturers of hardscape products — interesting techniques and points of interest that cannot be easily achieved when building walls with natural stone. Manufactured wallstones come in various shapes with differences in heights, lengths, depths, textures and other design/build characteristics, which can make choosing the best product for the job both tricky and time-consuming. One manufacturer, Cambridge, has stepped up to the plate by publishing a multi-purpose handbook for their contractor-customers and professional hardscape specifiers.

“Our DesignScaping Handbook is revised annually,” says Charles H. Gamarekian, Chairman of Cambridge Pavers Inc., manufacturers of Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec™, Cambridge Wallstones and a collection of pre-packaged and also fully-assembled components for outdoor living rooms, “We have included step-by-step, illustrated instructions to complete dozens of applications of our wallstones.” Content including a cost analysis pricing guide organized in easy to decipher table formats was derived from information received from input from professional contractors on the East coast.

Some examples of what you will find in the handbook are installation instructions for
random placement of “jumpers” — wall units randomly placed vertically in the wall system. In separate instructions, defined layer-by-layer, the vertically placed units are shown with faces flush with the other wallstones as well as 3-dimentional with minimal or no cutting requirements. Cases in point include this application on single-sided walls and double-sided walls, vertical and setback. This practice is perfect when your design calls for arbitrary placement of the wallstones in a pattern that maximizes resemblance to a natural stonewall. The publication also covers executing different types of radius walls, tailored and radius corners, and inlaid staircases using Cambridge wall products.

There are three types of walls that can be built with pins: vertical freestanding, double-sided walls with zero batter, vertical retaining walls with almost zero batter, and setback retaining walls with a 7-degree batter. Installation instructions for these walls using MaytRx® wallstones from Cambridge are outlined in the book as well.

Homeowners often favor a patio setting that integrates casual seating options. The book explains a technique commonly referred to as a “domino” wall whereby Cambridge Olde English Wall™ units are placed vertically and then the stretch of “domino” wall is capped, creating a graceful perimeter with the dual purpose of providing informal seating. Spaces are left between the vertically positioned wall units adding a unique airy appearance. This approach and other possibilities are included.

Popular in wall system design is also the integration of columns as terminations,
planned interruptions and supports for gates at entranceways. Detailed instructions on building columns with Cambridge Olde English Wall and a Cambridge Pre-Packaged Column Kit can be found as well. A functional yet attractive point of interest is a mailbox insert into a column. Cambridge offers this in two pre-packaged kits. Alternative capping ideas for columns include effects like a “cap and hat” design and cast stone styles. Columns are also ideal locations for accent lighting at entranceways and at corners. Cambridge column construction allows for a cavity to run wiring for a fixture. Many manufacturers such as Cambridge also offer wall lights in various styles that are designed to fit into the pattern itself, under caps and on the columns of pergolas and pavillions.

The handbook is available from any Authorized Cambridge Distributor or online at “The examples rely on field-proven techniques and problem solving strategies,” Gamarekian adds with sure-fired confidence. Generally speaking, a good place to source design information is