Retaining walls are the most used vertical design element in a landscape. They are highly functional but can have a beauty and grace all their own. The companys making the block materials used are looking more and more like natural stone and rock outcroppings.
A properly designed and installed retaining wall should last for 70 to 80 years. What more and more people are coming to realize is that a retaining wall is much more than the beautiful stone face that you see. The hidden structure behind the wall façade is the real work horse behind the stability and longevity of a wall. It should include a combination of a good drainage field of clean drain rock and perforated pipe to allow any water approaching the wall to be eliminated. It is also imperative that sufficient compaction of the subsoil, back fill and drain rock take place.
Here are just a few things to consider when planning a retaining wall project:
- What kind of soil do you have? Is it a well draining sandy, loam or is it a clayey soil that tends to hold water for a long time?
- What kind of a load is the finished wall going to be holding up? Driveway or vehicular traffic? Lawn and landscaping? New storage shed? Pool and patio? A line of fence?
- How tall does the wall need to be? Will it be tiered or terraced?
- Will a set of steps be required for access?