7 Things to Know About Retaining Walls

While designing the landscape of your garden, sometimes you may have to manage or utilize sloping yards. Leveling the ground with other parts of the landscape may not be feasible in such cases as it will cost you a lot of time, effort and money. If you have slopes in your garden or backyard, you can utilize them to create different ground levels that are connected with beautiful stairways or other types of landscaping features. Building a retaining wall to use slopes is a good way to enhance the beauty of your yard and add a personalized touch to it at the same time. These walls are usually used to prevent the erosion of an embankment or hold back material on a particular side. Retaining walls can be installed where neighboring free-standing walls have a bizarre junction between them or in areas where a sloping bank would have otherwise slumped.

To build retaining walls of different types such as freestanding, dry-laid, or short flagstone, you can use different materials including stacking, concrete, brick, loose masonry and wood. While some are easy to build, some may be complex and time-consuming. If you are planning to build a retaining wall in your garden, here are seven things that you need to know:-
  1. Back fill in several layers – It is important to back fill in multiple layers to ensure a solid structure. Make sure you do it with increments of 8, 10 and 12 inches, against the wall. It’s advisable that you compact it well to avoid having a sunken wall in the future.
  2. Take your pick from different materials – Stone, brick, timber and concrete are some of the most common materials used for building retaining walls. Stone is often preferred for the rustic look that it offers, but it is a little more expensive as compared to the other materials. If you need a formal and dignified look, brick can be a good choice. You can try building a retaining wall with timber as it is way cheaper and easier to handle than other materials. You may even opt for stacking or loose masonry to build a sturdy retaining wall.
  3. Get the design done by a professional – A retaining wall is not just a fence wall. Since it has a complicated construction process, it is advisable to hire a professional who will design the structure of your wall.
  4. Use cap-block finishing parts – Consider putting blue stone caps on the wall and cementing it. This way, you will be able to back fill dirt right up to the top.
  5. Install a gravel base In case you are building a retaining wall to hold back the soil which slopes down to it, it is wiser to install a gravel base. You can do it with a filter fabric and pipe. This will help you direct the water to your preferred route.
  6. Maintain the right level – You should check each block of your retaining wall for alignment and level. This will help avoid shimming the blocks to make incremental alterations. It’s advisable to start with a level foundation as it will help you do the job smoothly.
  7. Consider creating a curve – If you don’t want to build a straight wall, you can try creating a curve. An easy way to do it is by placing a garden hose along the spot where you want to build the wall, and dig about four inches in front, following the hose’s curve.
By keeping in mind these seven things about retaining walls, you can set up one to add definition to your landscape.