When they’re improving their hardscaping, many people turn to retaining walls. Retaining walls provide structural support, but they can also create a beautiful focal point. Shore up the hills in your yard or create multilevel spaces to show off your gardening skills—these retaining wall tips will help you get the most out of your new hardscaping features.
What is a retaining wall?
Retaining walls are installed to provide structural support for large areas of soil. If you live in a flood- or erosion-prone area, retaining walls can help prevent your yard from washing away in extreme weather. Many retaining walls are also outfitted with drainage channels and pipes. These allow water to flow away from the soil and retaining walls, without damaging the yard. It also helps normal amounts of water to soak into the ground rather than run off, which helps your plants survive and thrive.
You may have seen references to “sleeper walls,” which is another name for retaining walls. Retaining walls can be made from masonry, wood and other sturdy materials as desired.
Dos and don’ts
Here are some tips to get the most out of your retaining walls:
- Do think about your goals: When you get ready to install retaining walls, make sure you keep your goals in mind. For example, are you installing them to prevent erosion and flood damage, or are you trying to terrace your garden for eye-catching effect? Whatever your goals may be, plan your design around the practical and aesthetic features you’d like to accomplish.
- Do get creative: When choosing materials for your retaining wall, pick something that’s going to complement your home or building. For example, if you have ultra-modern architecture, you probably wouldn’t choose traditional red brick for a retaining wall—unless the contrast is echoed in other areas of your hardscaping. Not sure what you should choose? Your contractors can help you design the yard and pick the perfect materials.
- Don’t skip the base: Retaining walls need a solid base upon which to stand, so make sure your contractors are taking their time where it counts. The ground will need to be level, and you’ll need enough solid fill to support the walls and the earth they’re supporting.
- Don’t forget structure: When you work with great hardscaping contractors, you won’t have to worry about structure—but it doesn’t hurt to know that walls over four feet tall may require the expertise of an engineer. This will ensure they’re strong and supported, and won’t sag or collapse over time.
Retaining walls can be an incredibly attractive and functional addition to your home or commercial property. Now that you’ve read these retaining wall tips, don’t forget to call the team at MSE Hardscape Design and Installation for a quote. We can help you design the perfect outdoor space, then execute your plans flawlessly, whether you need a retaining wall, a new patio or a new walkway. Call us today to learn more and get started on your dream yard.