Tips for planning a retaining wall


There are multiple factors to consider when planning a retaining wall. The location of the wall is as important as the aesthetics. However, the most important part is the base material used to construct and how to preserve the installation in a proper manner.

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To ensure that the wall lasts for extended tie, it is important that it incorporates drainage, is of an appropriate height, and uses stabilization fabric. Any restrictions of wall materials, locations, and heights need to be checked with local regulations.

Wall layout

The property where the retaining wall is to be installed needs to be identified as the first step in a retaining wall project. For a general layout, use a garden hose laid on the grass on the determined location. After you have the layout, it is essential that you evaluate the area on several parameters. How are the soils of the area and how much water passes through? This way you will have a clear idea of the amount of drainage needed behind the wall. Backfilling with three-quarter inch clean stone is likely to suffice if you have sandy, well-drained soils. However, with heavy clay soils that do not allow percolation and retain water, you may require three-quarter inch drainage stone along with a perforated drainage pipe.

Wall height

After the layout is planned and complete, you next need to figure out an appropriate height of the wall. Run a string line with a line level off the top of slope, you can easily determine the height. Measure from the bottom of the slope vertical to the string line using a measuring tape. This way you will get the measurement of the exposed wall height. Around 6-12 inches of buried walls too needs to be added to this measurement, depending on the material used. You may however have to check with local codes to identify any restrictions on height as may be prevalent in your area.

Wall material

When it comes to the construction material used to build the retaining wall, you have plethora of choices. Some of these options are natural wall stone and timbers, decorative concrete block etc. However, your options are not limited to these. You can opt for decorative concrete blocks that come in a variety of finishes, colors, textures, and shapes.

However, if you choose a decorative concrete block, you need to be sure that the blocks you use are rated for retaining. Some of these decorative blocks are so designed for freestanding walls only. Just as with decorative concrete blocks, natural wall stones too come in a variety of choices that are likely to suit just about anyone’s style and choice. Though the natural stone may come as a slightly higher cost, they are likely to perform much better and last much longer than other products in the market. The least expensive option still is timber when talking of construction materials for retaining walls, however it has become loss popular over time.

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