Once upon a time, retaining walls only had one purpose: to hold back the soil that would otherwise be washed away. Soil erosion is a common phenomenon that can occur due to both natural and artificial environmental factors. However, this washing away of the soil can be a problem for your garden or even the foundation of your home.
However, a lot has changed in recent years and retaining walls are now used to also improve the aesthetics of yards and gardens around the world. When installed by a hardscaping expert, the result can be both practical and appealing.
Who Needs Retaining Walls?
Retaining walls can be a useful addition to many types of gardens. Retaining walls can:
Hold the garden soil and prevent erosion
Divert water away from the foundation of your house
Prevent damage to your lawn and structures built on it
Reduce the occurrence of sinkholes
Help to create an attractive outdoor area
Reduce the need for maintenance on your yard
When installing a retaining wall, it's a good idea to work with a professional, especially if you have to deal with a lot of rainwater. A poorly constructed retaining wall may not be able to withstand the water pressure after a heavy downpour.
Choosing Materials for Your Retaining Wall
If your yard or garden needs a retaining wall, you also need to decide on the material that will be used to construct it. Railroad ties have been used for this purpose for ages, and now treated lumber is also proving popular. However, these have to be properly treated and installed due to the high risk of rotting.
Materials such as natural stone and concrete blocks are much better alternatives. They offer a nice natural look, and the resulting wall will also be quite sturdy. However, these materials are much more expensive, so you may want to limit the height of your wall.
Other Tips for When You Build a Retaining Wall
Putting up a retaining wall in your garden can be an issue for you and others. Therefore, you should do the following before you start working on your wall:
Get in touch with the local council and ensure you have the right permits and operating in accordance with zoning laws.
Consult your neighborhood's homeowner's association.
Consult a structural engineer if your wall will be taller than 4 feet high to ensure it'll be strong enough.