Title:
Concrete structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A first hollow block is placed over or next to a second hollow block. Both blocks are filled with soil so that the roots of plants that are planted in the blocks are permitted to grow through openings of the blocks to interconnect the blocks, the roots and the existing ground.



Inventors:
Anderson, John S. (Klamath Falls, OR, US)
Application Number:
09/737009
Publication Date:
10/18/2001
Filing Date:
12/14/2000
Assignee:
John S. Anderson and Bio-Rock Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/169.11, 52/311.1, 47/33
International Classes:
E02D29/02; (IPC1-7): E02D27/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GREEN, CHRISTY MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FASTH LAW OFFICES (ROLF FASTH) (SOUTHERN PINES, NC, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A concrete structure comprising: a first block having a first left side wall and an opposite first right side wall, the first left side wall and the first right side wall being integrally joined by a first front wall, the first left and right side walls protruding away from the first front wall and converging towards one another, the first left side wall having a first side opening defined therein, the first side walls being joined by a first bottom wall, the first bottom wall having a first front width at the first front wall and a first rear width remote from the first front wall, the front width being greater than the back width, the first bottom wall having a first bottom opening defined therein, the first bottom wall having a front opening and a rear opening defined therein, the front opening being adjacent to the ground; a second block having a second left side wall and an opposite second right side wall, the second left side wall and the second right side wall being integrally joined by a second front wall, the second left and right side walls protruding away from the second front wall and converging towards one another, the second left side wall having a second side opening defined therein, the second side walls being joined by a second bottom wall, the second bottom wall having a second front width at the second front wall and a second rear width remote from the second front wall, the front width being greater than the back width, the second bottom wall having a second bottom opening defined therein; and the second block being placed on top of the first block so that the second bottom opening is aligned with one of the openings of the first bottom wall.

2. The concrete structure according to claim 1 wherein the first block has a steel netting attached thereto.

3. The concrete structure according to claim 1 wherein the first block contains a plant that is planted in a soil so that roots of the plant are permitted to grow through the first side opening and into a third block adjacent to the first block to interconnect the first block to the third block.

4. The concrete structure according to claim 1 wherein the first block contains a plant that is planted in a soil so that roots of the plant are permitted to grow through the one of the bottom openings of the first block into the second block to interconnect the first block to the second block first block to tie the first block to the third block.

5. The concrete structure according to claim 1 wherein the first block has a cavity defined in a front corner of the first block, the cavity having a fastener disposed therein.

6. The concrete structure according to claim 5 wherein the fastener extends to a third adjacent block to attached the first block to the third block.

7. The concrete structure according to claim 1 wherein the first block has a groove defined at an underside thereof and the second block has an upwardly protruding notch that matchingly fit inside the groove of the first block.

8. The concrete structure according to claim 1 wherein the first front wall is curved to form a convex front face surface.

9. The concrete structure according to claim 4 wherein roots are permitted to grow in through the second side opening of the second block.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to a concrete structure that interlocks with roots of plants that are planted in a hollow set of blocks to create a strong interconnection between the concrete structure, the roots and the ground.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Sloping areas, such as stream banks, road sides, landscapes, sea-wall units, jetties around oil derricks, underwater fish habitat or wherever there is a tendency of erosion with time due to rain and other settings in the ground. In the past, it has been difficult to construct retaining walls that stabilize the hillsides for a long period of time, mainly due to the drainage problem. There is therefore a need for a retaining structure that may handle various drainage characteristics of the sloping area and last for a very long period of time.

[0003] The present invention includes a first hollow block that is placed over or next to a second hollow block. Both blocks are filled with soil so that the roots of plants that are planted in the blocks are permitted to grow through openings of the blocks to interconnect the blocks, the roots and the existing ground.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 is a top view of the concrete structure of the present invention;

[0005] FIG. 2 is a side view of a concrete block of the concrete structure stacked on top of another concrete block; and

[0006] FIG. 3 is a side view of the concrete block.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0007] With reference to FIGS. 1-3, the present invention is a concrete structure 10 that includes hollow concrete blocks 12, 14. More than two blocks may be used so that roots may grow from one block to another and create a strong interconnection between the blocks, the roots and the existing ground. In fact, an entire retaining wall containing numerous blocks may be constructed wherein the blocks are both stacked on top of one another and placed side by side to form a retaining wall.

[0008] The block 12 is tapered and identical to the block 14 and, for simplicity, only the details of the block 12 are described although the block 14 has the same features. The block 12 has a central cavity 16 that is defined by a front wall 18, a first side wall 20, a second side wall 22 and a floor section 26 so that the top and back of the block 12 is open. The front wall 18 includes a first section 19 and a second section 21 that are joined at a front peak section 23 at an angle relative to one another so that the section 19 and the section 21 form an obtuse angle alpha at the peak section 23.

[0009] The floor 26 has two holes 28, 30 defined therein. An important feature of the present invention is that the central cavity 16 may be filled with plants such as shrubs and trees so that the roots of the plants may extend through the holes 28, 30 and into a cavity of a concrete block positioned below the block 12. The holes may be rectangular or round or any other suitable shape. The block may also contain one large hole that is most suitable in applications where no piling is used.

[0010] A steel webbing 32 may be attached to an upper portion 33 of the block 12 by fasteners 34, 36 to anchor the block 12 to the hillside behind the block 12. Similarly, the webbing 32 may be attached to the block 14 by fasteners 38 and 40. To further improve the structural integrity of the structure 10, the fasteners 36 and 38 may be connected by a flat steel bar 42 allowing the blocks 12, 14 to be lined up to form a straight or curved retaining wall. The blocks may have two holes defined therein at a bottom of the blocks. The block 14 may be placed on top of the block 12 so that the block is set back relative to the block 12 so that the front hole of the block 14 is lined up with the rear hole of the block 12.

[0011] When the structure 10 is used as a hillside retaining wall, the blocks 12, 14 may be stacked vertically on top of one another so that the openings on the floor of each block line up to allow a piling to be driven through the openings of both blocks to further strengthen the structure 10, as discussed in detail below.

[0012] A front corner 44 of the block 12 has a receiving cavity 46 extending downwardly through the block 12. An opposite front corner 48 has an I-beam-shaped fastener 50 extending sideways outwardly. Similarly, the block 14 has a receiving cavity 52 at a front corner 54 so that the fastener 50 may engage the cavity 52 by lowering the fastener 50 from above. When the fastener 50 is inserted into the cavity 52, the block 14 is held to the block 12 to prevent any undesirable sideways movement of the blocks 12. However, the fastener 50 may move slightly within the cavity 52 so that the block 12 may be turned slightly relative to the block 14 so that a curved retainer wall may be formed, if desired.

[0013] FIG. 2 shows a block 54 placed on top of a block 56 so that the block 54 is set back relative to the block 56 and a plant 57 may be planted in front of the block 54. The block 56 has an upwardly directed steel reinforced notch 58 on a top side of the block 56 that engages a cavity 60 defined at a bottom side of the block 54. Similarly, the block 54 has a notch 59. Preferably, the block 54 has a second cavity 61 defined therein also so that the notch 58 may extend into the cavity 61 when the block 54 is stacked vertically above the block 56. This engagement prevents the blocks 54, 56 from sliding relative to one another in an undesirable manner. In particular, it prevents the block 54 from sliding forward.

[0014] The block 54 has a side opening 62 defined therein that allows the roots 64 from a plant 66 to extend therethrough. Of course, roots from other adjacent blocks may also extend through the side opening 62. Similar to the function of the openings 28, 30 described above, the side opening 62 allows the roots 64 to grow in through a side opening of an adjacent block to interlock the block 54 to the adjacent block. It should be understood that the roots 64 may also grow through the openings at the floor of the block 54 and into a central cavity of a block, such as the block 56, positioned below the block 54. In this way, the plant 66 may interlock the block 54 both to the block 56 positioned below the block 45 and to a block beside the block 54 to further strengthen the integrity of the entire concrete structure.

[0015] The block 54 may have a receded back corner 68 that is adapted to receive the steel web 32 while allowing another block to be stacked on top of the block 54 without being interfered by the steel web 32. The steel web 32 should be designed to allow roots to grow through the web 32. This is particularly important if the blocks are stacked on top one another so that the blocks are set back, as shown in FIG. 2. The roots of the plant 66 could also grow through the web 32 that is attached to the block 56.

[0016] After the block 56 has been filled with dirt, a fabric 70, such as a coconut mat, cast into the front face of the block 56 may be laid back over the dirt. When the block 54 is place on top of the block 56, the fabric 70 holds the dirt in place in the block 56 and prevents the dirt from eroding in the event water came up around the block 56. The weight of the block 54 holds the fabric 70 firmly in place.

[0017] It should be noted that the openings 28, 30 are dimensioned so that a piling 71 may extend through the openings even if the block 54 is set back relative to the block 56. The piling 71 is particularly important to use before the roots of the plants are established and grown through the various openings of the blocks. In other words, the piling 71 may extend through the front opening 30 of the block 54 and through the back opening 28 of the block 56 while the notch 58 engages the cavity 60. The piling 71 is preferably smaller than the openings 28, 30 to allow the roots of the plants to grow through the openings also although the piling 71 extends therethrough. Because the blocks are open in the back, the roots may grow into the hillside through the open back also to anchor the blocks to the hillside.

[0018] While the present invention has been described in accordance with preferred compositions and embodiments, it is to be understood that certain substitutions and alterations may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the following claims.