We often fail to notice the most important things around us. Retaining walls are found around homes, businesses, office buildings, and schools, but until you realize you need one, you don’t really pay attention to retaining walls around your neighborhood.
The fact is, a retaining wall can and will be a beautiful addition to your house landscaping, as long as you hire a contractor who understands your aesthetic taste and listens to what you want.
Here is what you need to know about retaining walls before you start shopping around for contractors.
Functions of Retaining Walls:
Retaining walls are often found in places where extra support is needed to prevent the earth from moving downhill with erosion. The most basic function of a retaining wall is to battle gravity. Retaining walls can also:
Provide more usable land
For the longest time, people have used retaining walls to create terraces of usable land on slopes. A retaining wall serves the purpose by providing you with a larger amount of leveled area.
Manage water runoff
Retaining walls also help slow the flow of rainwater.
Provide extra seating
Once your retaining wall is up, it will provide several other services, for example, landscaping seating. Depending on the location of your retaining wall, it may prove to be a very useful area for sitting and chatting.
You Need a Retaining Wall If:
You have to control downhill erosion
Retaining walls minimize erosion by decreasing the angle of a slope and holding back soil.
Your home is downhill from soil fault lines
As any landscaping contractor will tell you, even if erosion isn’t threatening your home now, it could under the right conditions. In an earthquake, land typically slides away from fault lines. If your home is located downhill from a fault line, a retaining wall can provide stability and peace of mind.
Your foundation is threatened by a sliding hill
If the soil around a downhill foundation is washing away, or erosion from a slope is compacting an uphill foundation, a retaining wall can help.
Retaining Wall Design Options
Timber retaining walls are least expensive. You should keep in mind that timber walls may not last as long as other retaining wall options, since moisture in the soil can weaken the timber.
These designs pair well with homes and businesses with a modern feel.
This most expensive retaining wall option is also usually considered the most attractive.
Whichever design you choose, it’s best to hire a professional house landscaping expert to install your new retaining wall. A professional landscaping contractor will have years of experience to bring to your retaining wall project.
For example, a poorly constructed retaining wall can suddenly break, unleashing a flood of stones and mud. Also, consider that retaining walls contribute to the stability of your house. Landscaping that is improperly packed behind a retaining wall can shift, taking your home with it.