Do you have a sloped surface and you want to create a level entertaining area or tiered garden? A retaining wall supports an excavated or filled bank of soil or stone. Soil is held by one side of the retaining wall, while the other side is freestanding. This is a very common approach to maximising usable level ground on sloped housing blocks.
Purposes of a Retaining Wall
Although it can be quite costly, a retaining wall serves many purposes in a landscape.
- Prevents the erosion of soil on steep slopes with limited plant cover.
- Helps accommodate the changes in grade when a landscape has an uneven structure.
- Transforms an idle outdoor area into a productive one by creating usable gardens and entertaining or play spaces.
- Create raised living spaces above the grounds that surround it.
- Elevate planting areas for better drainage.
- Provide a low wall that can be used for seating.
- Serves as a buffer zone between the main structures of a residential or commercial property with a natural slope.
- Becomes a decoration and therefore adds appeal to a landscape as retaining walls come in different shapes, materials, colours and designs.
A challenge posed in installing a retaining wall is its ability to carry incredible loads, called lateral earth pressure, which is brought about not just by soil but by the water, also known as hydrostatic pressure. We can engineer a strong retaining wall with deep foundations and ties back into the hill to ensure it has a long and stable life.
Retaining walls, no matter how attractive, should function the way they were designed for and this is only possible if you avail the services of professional contractors, such as Jason Reading Landscapes, and use the proper materials.
Retaining Wall Materials
Here are the types of retaining walls built according to the materials used:
This type of retaining wall is known for its stability, especially when supported by concrete and rebar. Under this are the different types of blocks used:
Standard Concrete Block (CMU) – with two identical cells or openings that contribute to its stability.
Split Face Block – it has an attractive texture on one side and therefore brings decoration aside from its being a structural unit.
Retaining Wall System Units – it gives a true stone-like look appearance.
A retaining wall built out of pure brick is called a “cavity wall” where two standard brick walls, which are just a few inches from each other, have the same foundation. There is space between them for steel to run from the foundation to the upper part of the wall.
Poured concrete retaining wall is best for modern homes and those in mild climates. It should be designed by a landscape architect to ascertain that enough steel and footings are used.
With its name derived from the Italian term for “cage”, this retaining wall uses an ancient way of building a wall where a cage, made out of wire or wire mesh, is filled with rubble or rock. Recently, as a green alternative, gabion wall uses crushed waste or recycled materials instead of rock as filler.
Rock and Boulder
It follows an old way of building walls and reflects the art of “dry walling” where stones or boulders are laid to make sure that the core remains dry in any kind of weather. While this type of wall gives a dry stacked look, it actually gives block support structure.
A timber retaining wall blends more naturally in a landscape, is more attractive and more affordable, making it a popular choice for DIY home improvements. If built with the right materials, it can last for more than 20 years.
Ensure your retaining walls are a long-term investment and leave the construction of your retaining wall to the hands of the experts of John Reading Landscapes for it to last a lifetime.