Understanding retaining walls in the landscape

Adding structure to a room to create a focal point is a common practice for professional landscapers, and a very popular element to create is a retaining wall.

Retaining walls can be used to help clients negotiate sloping areas in their garden and often add visual interest to a landscape while serving a functional purpose. Retaining walls can also be used to increase the floor space available in a yard and they can even provide environmental benefits, e.g. B. protecting areas from saturation and reducing soil erosion.

If you find yourself in the middle of a retaining wall installation project in the coming months, take a look at some tips to keep in mind as you create this eye-catching piece.

Special features when building

When working with steeper slopes, you can use interlocking concrete blocks, riprap areas (loose rock), wooden retaining walls, rock retaining walls, and decking, among other things. Remember, it is a good idea to treat the wood with a preservative to prevent rot when using wood.

If you know the wall is more than 3 to 4 feet tall, zone codes and regulations require an engineer to assist the project.

The wall should lean into the mound a minimum of 1 inch per 12 inches of height for safe loading of the wall. This can also help with drainage if the soil becomes saturated. It is also possible to redesign the slope of the slope before installing the wall, as this can help move the water away from the wall and reduce the slope required.

To keep water accumulation in check in poorly draining floors, consider placing drainage tiles behind the wall. However, make sure these tiles are covered with a 12 inch deep layer of backfill that is freely drained, such as. B. gravel, are constructed.

The cost, height, and function of the wall all depend on what materials your client selects for the project. However, if the wall is used exclusively as a decorative piece in the garden, then almost any type of material is suitable for work.

For walls designed to carry larger loads, you need to use durable, durable materials that are suitable for the conditions of the site.

Wood and solid concrete walls are recommended in areas where the wall height is less than 4 feet. Keep in mind that wooded walls deteriorate faster and concrete walls have drainage problems that can cause water saturation conditions to appear above the wall.

Look out for …

While maintaining your client’s landscape, look for areas that need a retaining wall.

One focus to focus on is the slopes present in the courtyard. If you see an area sloping more than 3: 1, contact a technician. If the slope is greater than 2: 1, then structures or specialization techniques are required.

Ask yourself and your client how much freeze or frost both the wall and floor will come into contact with, and always check the wall drainage to see if it is working properly. If it looks like the water is flowing heavily on the wall and floor, you may need to add some drainage.

Make an inventory of the type of soil in your client’s yard, as high-clay soil does not pull water well but is less prone to erosion. Sandy soil, on the other hand, has opposite properties.

Look for other structures near the site that may need a retaining wall and see if any existing structures will be affected if or when a retaining wall is installed.

Also, remember that if you are in an area where earthquakes are prevalent, speak to an earthquake engineer to analyze the wall and make it more earthquake proof.

Types of retaining walls

Once you’ve determined that your client’s yard needs a retaining wall, it’s time to determine what type of wall your client will need.

Gravity walls will hold the earth by the weight of the wall material. They can be formal paving stones or even a pile of large stones, but they can easily fall and should be used for short slopes of 3 feet or less.

Anchored walls are the strongest type and can be combined with other techniques. An anchor is wrapped around the wall and a base is placed deeper into the mound, which provides stabilization.

Stack walls Use long stakes or poles that go deep into the ground and above. Posts can be made of metal or treated wood and have a good ability to hold back the ground.

Cantilever walls They are similar to pile walls, but are given additional strength by a kind of “arm” that extends back into the hill. This can increase the ability to stabilize pressure.

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