Factors to Consider When Building A Retaining Wall

retaining wall

Factors to Consider When Building A Retaining Wall

If your home is in hilly terrain, landscaping is one of the tricks that you should employ to control soil erosion. One of the methods you can use is by building and retaining wall. Building a retaining wall goes hand in hand with transforming steep slopes into beautiful landscapes and at the same time creating focal points on the landscapes. Landscaping also helps to decrease the amount of time your home is on the market to as much as six weeks.

Retaining walls are some of the main ways in which one can transform ugly looking hilly areas into beautiful landscapes. When utilized well, these walls have the capability of creating unusable outdoor areas into places that become useful, such as gardens and relaxation areas. It might sound simple, but some of the walls require a lot of planning, and in some cases, you might require engineering expertise guidance.

Before building the wall, you should be aware that soil is heavy, especially during the rainy season. For instance, a space measuring 15 feet long and its 4 feet deep can hold a pressure of about 20 tons. If you then take into account the pressure because of stepping on the soil, the pressure can go up considerably. Therefore, if you miscalculate by even a small error, the wall might end up bulging or even collapsing and ruining the entire project. The following are some factors that you should consider when building a retaining wall.

Inform the Authorities

If you have basic knowledge of masonry, you can construct a short wall. However, if the wall will be taller than four feet, then it is advisable to look for a professional. Retaining walls can affect water flow, which may affect your neighbors and the surrounding environment. Therefore, you should consult the authorities and submit your plans first before you commence with the project.

It is also advisable to place a call to DigSafe which is a national authority whose main purpose is to notify the authorities in your area that you plan to conduct a dig in your property. They should alert you about any buried cables and lines in the vicinity and mark the exact locations.

Retaining Wall Design

There are many materials one can use when building a retaining wall. Landscape design is all about making your outdoors and garden look beautiful. You can use many different materials, but the most common include natural stones, large timbers, and poured concrete. You can also use manufactured blocks to build a retaining wall. A good example is textured or smooth earthy or grey stones. These manufactured materials are available at many local home improvement stores.

Strong Foundation

Everything is as strong as its foundation. The same goes for retaining walls. Retaining wall installation requires a strong foundation. If the wall will be no longer than four feet, a three-inch deep trench full of crushed rocks is sufficient.

The depth of the trench is dependent on the height of the wall. However, the rule of thumb is to dig a trench that is about one-eighth of the wall plus three more inches. As mentioned earlier, soil exerts a lot of pressure, and if the wall ends up collapsing, it will be a waste of time and resources.

Use A Flat Surface

The first rule of construction is to make sure that the surface is level. The same applies when building retaining walls. When setting the first course, it is imperative to ensure that the first course is on a flat level. Having a flat surface from the start will determine whether the subsequent courses will be level. You can use a carpenter’s level to make sure that the area is completely level. Failure to that will result in an unattractive lopsided wall.

Allow For Drainage

The biggest enemy of retaining walls is groundwater, especially if the soil around your yard is clay soil. If groundwater saturates the clay soil, it will swell and exert excess pressure on the wall. To make sure that you transform your yard for good without problems in the future, make provisions for drainage. You can achieve this by placing a perforated pipe at the ends of the wall.

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