5 Reasons to Use Concrete for Your Retaining Wall

Retaining walls add an eccentric visual component to your landscape design, but also help protect your property from natural elements and processes. While planning your construction project, it’s essential to give attention to the overall purpose a retaining wall will serve on your property to ensure the best option is selected.

What is a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall is a protective structure that supports the earth and creates a barrier between one spot on your property and another. Additionally, installing a retaining wall can also stabilize a sloped area of your landscape, and control soil erosion and water run-off. Both natural processes can be detrimental to your home and foundation if left untreated.

When determining what retaining wall is suitable for your property, it’s essential to identify what purpose the installed wall(s) will serve. Retaining walls can also be utilized to meet aesthetic, and landscape design needs such as elevated garden beds, enclosed outdoor living spaces, and privacy barricades.

Benefits and Property Improvements

Depending on your reasoning for installing a retaining wall, you will find many ways in which your property will benefit and be improved from choosing this addition. While there are numerous benefits to highlight, a few are more prominent than others for you to consider.

  1. Functional Production: Unfortunately, we cannot prevent nature or the elements from running their course. However, homeowners can take proper precautions to be prepared. Installing retaining walls help stabilize sloped landscapes, create level surfaces on inclines, and prevent sinkholes from destroying your landscape.
  2. Reduce Maintenance: Run-off from rain has the potential of causing erosion, depending on the run-off’s movement cycle. Large pieces of soil and rocks are dislodged during erosion, and these items can cause severe damage to your property. Installing a retaining wall will protect your landscape design, reduce maintenance needs, and prevent excessive erosion from occurring.
  3. Protective Structure: Retaining walls can be installed to help counteract the forces of gravity by keeping soil in place. Having a retaining wall on your property prevents any pressure from downslope movement and supports vertical or near-vertical grade changes as well.
  4. Best Run-Off Solution: Run-off from rain can extensively damage your land if no preventative measures are taken. Retaining walls substantially reduce the flow and speed at which run-off reaches your property. Installing a retaining wall will prevent flooding in areas of your property and help protect your landscape design.
  5. Decorative Feature: Property owners are always looking for the next best way to improve their landscape design, and retaining walls provide an appealing addition while enhancing the functionality of your property. Retaining walls bring a unique look into your property as they are very versatile and can be utilized in several ways. For example, if your property is located on an incline, retaining walls can be installed to create level surfaces allowing you to plant greenery and other landscaping decorations.

Features of Retaining Walls

As landscaping design has evolved over the years, many different materials and methods have been utilized to alter properties across the world. There are many different elements and details to consider when designing your retaining wall, such as the purpose, unique additions, and many more. As retaining walls continue to improve and mold with what property owners desire, there is undoubtedly an option for you.

Materials and Types

Professional landscape designers recommend implementing the same type of material across your landscape features as it creates a harmonious aesthetic. There is a wide assortment of materials from concrete and stone to timber that can be utilized to develop your retaining walls, but different materials throughout your property can create a busy appearance.

Gravity

If your property is struggling with erosion and damage to your landscaping, a gravity retaining wall is an excellent choice. This wall is primarily utilized for supporting soil laterally, which creates a slope that soil doesn’t naturally form to. Gravity walls rely on their own weight to stand up as they are designed to have a thicker base and a thin top, which allows the structure to adjust with the earth over time.

Cantilever

This structure is formed with a single-layered wall with the same thickness throughout. The base is connected to a slab, and these pieces require steel reinforcement. Steel reinforcement allows the wall to resist the pressure of the earth and the structure to work as a cohesive unit.

Sheet Pile

If your property is trying to combat softer soils, a sheet pile retaining wall is a beneficial method. Initially, planks are pushed into the earth to create a support system on all sides for the finished product. The planks can vary in material such as vinyl, wood, or steel. In more extreme cases that require more support, the wall can be anchored with a steel cable.

Anchored

This structure is another great candidate if you’re dealing with softer soils. The construction of an anchored wall is very similar to a sheet pile wall as cables are utilized to connect the top and base of the wall to enhance the strength. Anchors are also attached to these portions of the wall and inserted into the ground, where they expand to provide additional support.

Counterfort

This style of retaining wall is designed with vertical concrete webs along the soil side as this function allows the structure to adjust and be flexible when the earth moves. The slab and base of the structure are also tied together to lower the effects should forceful impact occur.

Height

Identifying the purpose of your retaining wall before installation is crucial, as this will help you determine the best height for your property. If you’re installing a retaining wall for decorative purposes, a short, small wall is recommended. While utilizing a retaining wall to prevent further property damage from the elements, a taller wall is more likely to give you the results you’re hoping for.

Wall Caps

These are located on the very top of a retaining wall and protect and preserve the actual structure from rain and other elements. This is a wonderful opportunity to add unique, personalized features to your landscape design as retaining wall caps come in a variety of colors and materials, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your project.

Design Elements

Retaining walls are incredibly versatile and can be designed in a variety of patterns depending on the reasoning of your build. If your retaining wall is in place as a preventative action, design elements will likely be more limited. However, if being utilized as an ornamental addition, nearly any design is possible from straight lines to circles and curves to complement your landscaping and help your vision come to life.

Start Your Project Today

Overall, retaining walls have proven to be a very beneficial addition to properties should you be struggling with the effects of natural elements and processes or would like to add a little extra flair to your curb appeal. It’s imperative to explore all avenues such as material, structure type, height, and design elements before starting your project. Each style of retaining wall serves a different purpose and may be more effective for your property.