5 Things Homeowners Should Know about Retaining Walls

Oct 27, 2017

Some homeowners seem to be blessed with a flat and entirely usable expanse of land on their property. Of course, while this arrangement is certainly functional, it can look a bit boring. Then there are homeowners left scratching their heads over what to do with a yard that features significant grading, such as hills. How can this land be made usable?

In both cases, adding retaining walls could provide needed solutions. In the case of flat yards, the addition or retaining walls could add visual interest and break up the space. As for hilly yards, retaining walls could help to create terraces for planting and even adding patios or other entertaining spaces.

They can also help to stop soil erosion and even increase curb appeal and home value. Before you start buying pavers and bricks for your Sioux Falls retaining wall project, however, there are a few things you should know.

1. Practical and aesthetic concerns

During the planning phase of your project, you’ll want to consider not only utilitarian concerns, but also the aesthetics of your design. For example, you may be building retaining walls for the practical purposes of holding back soil, adding terraces, curbing soil erosion, or adding planting areas, just for example.

However, you should also think about how your retaining walls could contribute to multiuse spaces, such as creating a terrace for planting on one side, but also adding bench seating on the other side. Don’t forget to think outside the straight and narrow.

Retaining walls don’t have to be narrow ledges, nor do they have to travel in a straight line. You can curve walls to add aesthetic appeal and visual interest to your yard, and you can make retaining walls as thick as you want. You could even build a square or a circle in a flat yard to create the focal point of a raised planting bed, and add a seating area at the same time.

2. Drainage

Whether you plan for retaining walls is to create planting zones or patio areas, you need to consider drainage before you install your wall. The last thing you want is for water from irrigation or rainfall to spill over the sides of retaining walls, or worse, create enough pressure to break through and cause an avalanche. Planning for proper drainage is a must.

3. Base and backfill

While you may be able to install a retaining wall on your own, it’s probably wiser to hire a professional with the skill and experience to install a sturdy base and backfill the area behind the retaining wall with properly compacted soil for lasting safety and performance.

4. Wall height

The height of your retaining walls could depend on both the terrain you’re working with and your personal preferences. However, it’s important to understand that different heights will entail different support structures and safety precautions, which is another reason to hire professional help.

5. Making the most of retaining walls

A retaining wall need not be just a wall. When you’re building it you can easily add features like bench seating, a built-in fireplace, or even water features. Getting creative can help you to meet multiple goals for your backyard renovation and make the most of your retaining walls.