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Jav Leech

5 Things You Must Know about Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are amazing pieces of simple construction that provide a lot of benefits. They have become a part of landscape designing with more and more open house designs using them. They have many benefits, including both functional and aesthetic. There are many options and some of these things are must know about retaining walls.

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A retaining wall is intended to hold back soil. This soil could be an obstruction or it may have been placed there intentionally as part of a landscaping plan to create visual interest or separate one part of the yard from another. Best of all it can add value to your property.

Here are some important tips that you should keep in mind about retaining walls before starting the project-

Type of Stone

Retaining walls stones come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Retaining walls are can be made from natural stones, using concrete blocks or even wood in some cases. You can go for the authentic look with real stones or save some money by using concrete blocks that are shaped to mimic the natural stones. You also have the option of experimenting with wood which has a rustic appeal.

You also get a lot of options in terms of textures and colors as there are small stones, large ones, roughly textured, mortared or mortar-free and tall, short, thick, thin, multi-colored or monochromatic.

The final choice will come down to your design needs or your existing landscape design. You can always contact a retaining walls contractor to know about the various options they have available.

Base is Important

It is one of the most important elements of any successful retaining wall project. The base on which you build will largely determine how long the wall will hold its shape. You start by digging a trench that is deep enough to hold the lowermost part of the wall.

It should not contain softer topsoil as it will make it unstable. The base should be perfectly level. This is especially important for designs that are mortar-less. The whole strength and holding power of the wall will come from the base and the stones themselves.

Water is Bad

The worst thing you can do to any retaining wall is to not plan to include proper water draining lines. Even small leaks because of lack of drainage will render the whole wall useless. The water from rains or sprinklers will soften the base soil. This slowly displaces the stones and reduces the retaining element of the walls.

Plan the drainage holes beforehand. A good system should have drainage gravel, perforated pipes, and proper weep holes. Ensuring this will make sure your walls last a long time.

Proper Planning for Slopes

If your landscape or garden is flat, it becomes easier for installing retaining walls. In such cases, it’s more of aesthetic and functional choice. But in case of small hills or angles, retaining walls become a necessity.

The retaining walls in such cases should be made to work with the hills and not against them. The level should always be kept straight. Put some force on it and see if it moves. If it moves then something needs to be changed. Make the trench base level and start again.

Check the Regulations

Just like any house related construction project, it is always advisable to get some basic info about the local regulations. Some local bodies have restrictions on how high the wall can be made. A basic research should do the job. This is more of a problem if you are DIYing the project. If you are hiring a contractor, he should handle most of these details.


Retaining walls are amazing pieces of simple construction that provide a lot of benefits. There are many things you must know about retaining walls before starting a new project. We have compiled 5 such things to get you started. So, read on to find out.