A retaining wall is an excellent way to turn property that slopes or has multiple elevations into usable space. Designed to keep soil in place, retaining walls enable the creation of highways through mountains or a terraced hillside at your home. While important to prevent erosion, they can be a beautiful addition to your home as well.
For sloped yards, finding a flat area for a pool, patio, or garden can be difficult. If your home is built at the lowest point of your yard, you may need a retaining wall to protect your driveway from onslaughts of soil and debris. This structure can help you maximize the space, prevent erosion, and protect the integrity of your yard. When areas atop the retaining wall are landscaped, they can add to the visual interest of your home as well.
Types of Retaining Walls
When you need to keep soil in place, there are several types of retaining walls that can do a beautiful job in separating parts of your yard with different soil heights.
Boulder walls. Made of round, square, or irregular-shaped rocks, a boulder wall uses smooth pieces of stone to create a long-lasting wall that is among the least costly type of stone retaining wall. Due to the weight of boulders, you need a professional to design the wall for structural stability and install it with heavy duty equipment.
Natural stone walls. Made of quarried stone such as granite, limestone, or flagstone, natural stone walls are constructed with a technique known as dry stacking that uses gravity and the weight of the stones to keep the wall in place without mortar or adhesives. Walls made of natural stone are a great complement to walkways, patios, and driveways that may also incorporate these products.
Segmental block walls. Using precast, pre-engineered concrete blocks, segmented block walls keep soil in place in an orderly manner as its components have a standard size and shape. The wall can be compactly built in a straight, curved, or tiered pattern, and it takes up the least amount space with the materials used.
Stable Retaining Walls Depend on Quality Engineering
Each type of wall has its own method of construction, which must be properly followed in order to keep it safe, standing, and effective. The International Building Code has strict guidelines about retaining wall construction to prevent sliding, overturning, excessive foundation pressure and water uplift. No matter what type of wall you choose, proper engineering is necessary to make the dirt it supports resist the pull of gravity. Another consideration is to have proper drainage installed to aid stability.
When you are considering a retaining wall for your home, finding a good hardscaping professional to construct it is very important to ensure beautiful, sturdy, long-lasting results.