Benefits of a Retaining Wall

February 8, 2022
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A retaining wall, like a house, is a utilitarian structure at its base. The practical uses of retaining walls are to prevent erosion, provide flat land for cultivation, and to fight against gravitational force to keep your land stable. Retaining walls can also be used to implement additions to your property’s landscape such as patios or terraces. There is essentially no downside to installing a retaining wall on your property and you can buy everything you need from JK Enterprise. 

Retaining Walls Look Great

Aside from the practical benefits of a retaining wall, they can also raise the aesthetic appeal of your curb and, concurrently, raise the value of your home. A properly installed retaining wall makes for solid edges — there’s no awkward slopes that are hard to maintain and collect weeds and litter. If you choose to add a retaining wall to your property, there are many different options and styles to select from which we will highlight below. Choosing the right wall that matches your properties characteristics will improve the image of your house and it’s value in the market. 

Retaining Walls Define Space

Retaining walls give a space definition and weight. Steep yards can be made beautiful with terraced beds. Walkout garages or basements, sloping driveways and other altitude changes are also candidates for retaining walls. If the slope is very high or steep, the wall will have to be professionally engineered, but smaller slopes, such as mounded earth around a foundation, can be DIY jobs.

If you want to build your own retaining wall, it is necessary to do some research before beginning construction. First, it’s imperative that you figure out if your municipality allows retaining walls and if you need a permit to start building. Secondly, make sure that there are no pipes, electrical wiring, or any other fixtures of your property underneath the ground before you start digging. Thirdly, if your retaining wall is of a certain height, you may be required to have a guardrail on top of your wall. Lastly, ensure that the desired height for your wall is permissible in your respective state.

For example, in Texas, building a retaining wall over 4 feet high requires a professional engineer to construct the wall, and before the engineer begins construction, you must submit the project plans to be reviewed and approved by your municipality and the engineer in charge. Once you have researched and met the legal requirements to build a retaining wall, there are a couple necessary things to keep in mind: You will want at least ten percent of your wall to be below ground to ensure that the foundation of the wall will not be affected by weather conditions. Additionally, creating an area of at least three feet in length behind your wall will allow for proper drainage because water will not be able to build up behind the wall. 

A Wealth of Choices

Retaining walls have endless variations. They can be made out of wood, natural stone, brick or concrete; curved, round or straight. There are several different styles which homeowners use for their retaining walls. One popular style is an interlocking system of concrete blocks which helps to fortify the wall and effectively protect your property from soil erosion. Another common style uses natural stones stacked on top of one another to give a native-born feel.

Using walls constructed of wood is also a popular style that typically works best with smaller walls. If you are to use wood for your retaining wall, it is important to keep note of the fact that termites may be present and could deteriorate the wall over time.

When considering installing a retaining wall, consider how it can be mixed and matched with other design elements like patios, raised beds, decks or water features to make a truly unique and compelling addition to any landscape. For instance, if you want to build a pool in your backyard, a retaining wall will ensure that the land you want to use is perfectly flat and appropriate for a pool. 

Creating Drainage

The most important aspects of retaining wall design is proper drainage and a strong foundation. Retaining walls are holding back tons of earth. Add the weight of water or the pressure of frost heaves to that, and your retaining wall will crack and split. Specifically, if your house is on the top of a hill, you will likely not have to worry about drainage, but you will not have a lot of flat ground to use for activities and additions to your property.

A retaining wall, or several, allows you to maximize your sloped land so that you could implement a patio, terrace, walkway, or anything else you come up with to add to your landscape. A gabion retaining wall is constructed of wire baskets with large stones inside and they are great for a house atop a hill that endures a lot of rain as the water can filter through the wall with ease. On the other hand, if your house is below a hill and on flat ground, drainage and flooding can be serious problems. Having a retaining wall will help prevent flooding when it rains. In the same light, as flooding happens, your soil will consistently erode and damage your property and its value. Walls that are constructed of concrete that is poured in are the best when trying to protect your property from flooding. Sometimes, they are not always the best solution as they will require some extra excavation. Constructing a wall out of poured concrete does not mean there will be a concrete slab on your property. These walls can be detailed after their implementation to create a pleasing aesthetic. 

Having a proper drainage system and a strong foundation is crucial to the life of any property, and if these factors matter to you, retaining walls will be an excellent investment for you. Also, if you want to add to the aesthetic appeal of your home, a retaining wall could be just the right thing. If you have any questions about retaining walls and retaining wall materials, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out.