Retaining walls are an important part of many homes, commercial properties and public landscapes. They are not only used to accentuate the look of the landscaping but they also perform several key functions.
Most people may not even realize it but retaining walls are a regular feature in our everyday lives. They are used to contain soil and reclaim spaces on sloped or uneven properties. They are often used to level a yard and allow the construction of new patio or outdoor kitchen areas, lawns, garden beds, parking pads and more. These walls are constructed from a variety of building materials and are designed to withstand the lateral forces that are created by the weight of the soil they hold back.
Whether they are made from natural stone, block, wood or concrete retaining walls are a great way to add value and function to your property. If your retaining wall is purely decorative then you can choose any material that meets your design aesthetic. However, if it has to be functional and able to drain the soil behind it properly then more guidance will be required to ensure that your design is sound.
The most common type of retaining wall is the built-in retaining wall that is constructed when a home is built on a hillside or in conjunction with a landscaping project. In this case the wall is built into the ground to help bind the soil from a slope that could cause the home to slide and create a safety issue. In these situations a structural engineer will be required to review the plans to ensure that the retaining wall is safe and able to support the lateral loads created by the soil behind it.
Retaining walls are also used in other situations to create new outdoor spaces on sloping or uneven land. By constructing these walls we can reclaim areas of your property that were once impossible to use. The retaining wall can create a new space for a patio or garden area and can allow terracing of the land to yield more usable space on a hillside lot.
Many retaining walls double as seating areas. Depending on the design, they can be an attractive accent piece to any yard or patio and provide a place for family and friends to gather.
Almost all retaining walls have some sort of drainage system. Without proper drainage a retaining wall can fail in a very short amount of time and create safety issues for those walking or driving by. This can be caused by the water leaking through the wall or by the wall collapsing.
If your retaining wall has drainage problems then it’s essential to get them fixed as soon as possible. This will save you from any potential safety issues and will keep your retaining wall looking good as well as functioning properly. Call Vancity Retaining Walls today to schedule a free estimate for your retaining wall installation or repair project.