Recon blocks have quickly become the product choice for retaining wall water applications because of their proven durability and ease of installation. By using wet-cast, air-entrained concrete, Recon blocks can perform in numerous harsh environments, including exposure to chlorides, exposure to repeated freeze thaw cycles, and water sub-merged applications. Since Recon blocks do not require steel reinforcement, they are not susceptible to the effects of corrosion. In addition, Recon blocks allow for rapid installation and reduce the footprint when constructed as a gravity wall.

Low Permeable Soil

Installation of low permeable soil at the top of the retaining wall prevents surface water infiltration behind the retaining wall.

Extended Free Draining Backfill

Free draining backfill should be installed at a 1:1 from the bottom of the base block to 12” (30cm) above the high water elevation.

Filter Fabric

Installation of filter fabric is recommended between the onsite soils and the free draining material to prevent soil migration into the free draining stone.

Free Draining Backfill

Installing free draining backfill behind the wall in a water application helps to prevent hydrostatic pressure build up and easily allows water that comes in to get back out.

Leveling Pad

A compacted stone or unreinforced concrete leveling pad ensures proper bearing and levelness for the blocks above.

Wall Toe Protection

Proper toe protection should be provided to prevent scour at the base of the wall and prevent erosion and undermining of the wall.


Special considerations should be taken when designing a retaining wall for a water application.

To ensure proper and long-term performance, designers must consider the following:

Reduced bearing capacity of saturated soils
Increased magnitude of driving forces
Decreased block and soil weights due to buoyancy

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Water Application Resources

Construction Detail Drawings

We have a comprehensive set of details for both retaining wall designers and retaining wall contractors. There are also downloadable options.

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Kinnickinnic River Naturalization, Milwaukee, WI

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