Should You Hire Professionals for Building a Retaining Wall?
If you have issues with soil erosion, one of the easiest landscaping solutions is a retaining wall. However, for most residential and commercial property owners, this is not an easy DIY project. Let’s talk about why building a retaining wall is a job left to the professionals in most cases, as well as a few tips for ensuring you hire the best team for the job.
Retaining Wall Placement
The first decision you’ll need to make about your new retaining wall is where it should be located. It might seem like common sense to simply put the retaining wall at the bottom of whatever hill or slope is causing issues. However, retaining walls can only hold back so much soil. In some cases, the retaining wall you build may not work well over time or can even create more hazards if it is not placed correctly.
Here at Landscape Solutions & Design Inc., we have experience not only with building the wall, but also with land grading and innovative solutions to sloped yards. In some cases, depending on the materials you want for your wall, we may recommend a tiered approach or grading the land first to remove some of the soil. We have the expertise to figure out exactly how much soil a retaining wall can hold back, and how to build your wall so it’s stable.
Materials for Your Retaining Wall
You can build a retaining wall from several different types of materials. This includes stamped concrete or concrete blocks, brick, wood, stone, and more. There are pros and cons of each type of material. One of the biggest advantages of hiring an experienced landscaping contractor like our team is that we’ll recommend the material that will work best and look good with your landscape.
So which materials are right for you for building a retaining wall? Here are some of the pros and cons of each:
With concrete, we can either pour the wall using a removable structure or we can build the wall with blocks. Poured concrete walls are extremely strong but do require an experienced team. Even the best concrete walls with proper drainage can crack over time, since it is a solid piece, especially if they are near tree roots. Similarly, they are harder to repair. However, poured concrete gives you a sleek, modern finish. Or, you have a variety of stamped concrete options to match your style.
Concrete blocks are typically less expensive than poured concrete. They are a popular DIY option, since they are easier to install than other materials. However, they are only appropriate for shorter walls. If installed incorrectly, they can also be a safety hazard.
Brick walls are a popular option if you want a traditional look, but they do require an experienced mason to create. If you hire an experienced team like Landscape Solutions & Design, your brick retaining wall can last for decades. Brick comes in a variety of styles and you can paint it, but there are fewer ways to customize it compared to some other materials such as concrete.
Over time, a wood retaining wall will rot. However, when installed properly with weatherproofed materials, it should last just as long as many other types of retaining walls. You can also stain or paint the wood to match your personal style, and it is easy to replace just a single board if needed. Wood, however, is best for shorter retaining walls.
Many people love the appearance of stone, as it looks more natural with your landscape. Large boulders or “dry stone” retaining walls need a trained eye, since they must be selected to fit together well. This job also requires heavy machinery for transporting and lifting the stone. It’s definitely not a DIY weekend project!
You also have another stone option, which is stone veneer. With this type of wall, we’ll create an inner core using another building material (typically concrete) and then lay stone on the outside using masonry techniques. There are dozens of styles available for stone veneer, but since rock can vary so greatly it may be hard to match existing stonework perfectly.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, consider a gabion wall. This kind of retaining wall uses a cage-like structure with mesh or wire, which is then filled with rock, crushed concrete, or other types of waste/recycled products. This type of wall is easy and inexpensive to build, on top of being green, but the structure does tend to rust and need repair over time.
If you’re not sure which type of wall makes sense for your landscape and will bring the most value to your landscape, give us a call. We’d be happy to come out to your property and design a retaining wall that would work best for you based on your style, budget, and retaining needs.
FAQs About Working with Our Team
When you work with our team, you can rest assured you’re getting a high-quality retaining wall that is both beautiful and functional. We’ve been in business since 2005, and our landscape specialists have a combined 45 years experience! Here are a few questions we commonly hear about working with our team when building a retaining wall:
How deep will the retaining wall be?
Depth requirements depend on the height and materials used for your wall. In many cases, the recommended depth is about 1/5 of the wall height. So, if your wall is 5 feet tall, it needs a base buried at least 12 inches deep. However, this does depend on the specifics of your retaining wall project. This is another reason why hiring a professional contractor is important; we can ensure your wall is installed properly so it lasts a long time and is completely safe.
What will be behind my new retaining wall?
Again, it depends. We typically use gravel and drainage at the base of your wall and then backfill with soil. Exactly how we place this gravel depends on the material and size of your wall.
Can you provide landscaping for my retaining wall?
Yes! We are a full service landscaping contractor. In addition to building a retaining wall, we can provide hardscapes such as patios, kitchens, walkways, planting and irrigation installation, annual maintenance, and so much more. Contact us today to see how we can help you create the beautiful property of your dreams.