Garden and retaining walls give an exquisite look to your property. They also prevent soil erosion, prevent flooding and increase the overall value of the property. When used to create terraces, they can help you use and organize the available outdoor space so much better.
Do You Need A Retaining Wall?
Retaining walls, also called garden walls have two main functions:
- To prevent soil from getting eroded or running off
- To give your landscape a more clear vertical definition
When it comes to installing retaining walls, the rule of thumb is that the taller the wall, the more planning and preparation has to go into putting it together. The reason is simple: tall garden walls need to be able to withstand a lot more pressure from the larger volume of soil they are holding back.
These are the reasons why you should consider installing a retaining wall:
- If you have issue with flooding and soil erosions
- If your house’s foundation is situated somewhat downhill and it is threatened by erosion
- If your house is located near a soil fault line and you need to prevent movements and slides
- If you want to better organize elevated areas or small hills located on your property
- To give your property a relaxing, yet functional look and feel
Types Of Retaining Walls
A very popular choice for homeowners, gravity walls hold back the soil through the weight of their composing blocks. They are best used for structures up to 4 feet high. Taller walls will probably need to be designed by a specialized engineer who can take into consideration all the factors, such as lateral soil pressure, soil consistency, slope, etc
There are some more specialized types of retaining walls, designed to take on more punishment from the elements and the soil they hold back:
- Piling walls – they use piles or poles that are buried into the soil, but also extend over it to hold back the wall. The role of the piles is to distribute the weight and take a goof part of the weight off the wall
- Cantilever walls are L or inverted T shaped concrete blocks. The lower part of the wall is buried deep enough so it can take on more pressure than a gravity wall
- Anchored walls are retaining walls that use cables anchored deep in the ground, meant to prevent them from buckling or sliding away
Retaining Walls Materials
The materials used to build a retaining wall have to be chosen carefully, after inspecting the soil type, ground elevation, structure height and drainage system of your property, to name just a few of the factors.
Concrete and Concrete Blocks
They are a durable and low-maintenance way to build a retaining wall. Concrete looks clean cut and gives a very organized, modern look to any property. CMUs can also be covered with stone veneer which acts as a purely aesthetic enhancement.
They add to any property’s appeal with a welcoming, warm feel. Bricks are durable, resist more extreme weather and are low maintenance.
They give a natural look to your landscape and are easy to install. However, wood retaining walls have a shorter lifespan and may require more maintenance.
Natural Stone, Boulder and Limestone Retaining Walls
They are some of the best looking and durable garden walls. However, they are more costly than other building materials and drainage has to be planned carefully for such projects.
If you need help with installing a retaining wall, R&G Almanza can give you a free estimate and a lot of professional advice on how to get the best structure for your landscape.