Walls serve many purposes, and the objective of a retaining wall is to keep soil from being washed away. Although many of these walls are purely functional, built only of cement, many others are a thing of beauty that can add curb appeal and value to your home. In many instances, they can turn a yard with steep bankings into a delightful terraced garden.

Material Selection

Round-edged concrete blocks are a popular choice for many retaining walls, but their pervasiveness may detract from any effort you put in to make your wall unique. Natural stone is a beautiful choice, and construction with this type of material is as much art as it is science. The results are impressive, but if natural stone isn’t in your budget, you could consider faux stone or railroad ties as well.

Walls for Gardens

Some retaining walls for gardens can be built by handy homeowners in a weekend. A truck bed of railroad ties, a sledgehammer and some good weather are the main ingredients for success with this type of project. If you have something more stately in mind, however, you may require assistance. Steep slopes that have heretofore served as wasted parts of your precious plot of land can be converted into a series of terraces blooming with flowers and greenery. Though you will see people attempt to complete a project of this magnitude with railroad ties, it’s not a lasting solution. Stone, brick or concrete are better choices.

Walls for Soil Retention

If your retaining wall is going to be shoring up a large swath of land, you will want to skip the flagstone and go for something more heavy duty, like concrete blocks. Concrete doesn’t have to be ugly though — you can get it in various colors and styles so it doesn’t end up looking like the local elementary school, and you can’t beat its strength. Another option would be to use poured concrete for your wall, then cover the façade in more decorative brick, stone or tile. With this type of wall, safety and strength are the priorities, and DIYers shouldn’t attempt construction on their own. Trust a big job like this to the experts.

Weep Holes

Proper drainage is also critical for retaining walls. Too much moisture buildup can compromise the integrity of the structure. Drainage systems must be built into heavy-duty retaining walls; if this isn’t done at the time of construction, remediating the situation later is backbreaking work, not to mention unrewarding, as the retrofitted solution is often not the panacea that was expected.

Earthworks Landscaping has expertise at building retaining walls of all kinds. They can transform your haphazard terrain into an orderly arrangement of beautiful — and functional — retaining walls of any length, height or material.