Uneven terrain on your property may be charming, but it sure is annoying if you want to install a patio or such. That’s where a retaining wall comes in, a versatile structure that holds or retains soil and water. Retaining walls are smartly engineered systems because they have to fight with gravity on a daily basis.
Construction of a Retaining Wall
How a retaining wall is constructed depends on the type of wall and its application. Common construction methods for these walls are cantilever, counterfort, gravity poured and semi-gravity walls. When planning this structure, different things need to be taken into account such as the rate of flow, where water runs off the most and drainage. You don’t want your retaining wall to hold standing water, and gravel and rocks are great at keeping water from running into retaining walls. The most popular construction method is a retaining wall made from concrete. Other popular choices are brick, stone, reinforced soil, brick masonry and hybrid systems. As a general rule, these walls are usually installed in a way that they are at least six inches higher than the ground around it but no more than five feet tall.
Drainage is Important
Water and soil that find their way into the structure of the retaining wall can destroy it very quickly. It’s important that you backfill properly by adding loose rocks and stones between the earth and the wall. Additionally, adding perforated piping to retaining walls is recommended. Perforated drains allow water to flow out of the wall, which prevents pressure, decay and collapsing of the wall. Incorporating weep holes is crucial too, as these allow moisture to escape and provide ventilation. You don’t want to have to deal with water seepage and the associated issues of green slime and rust. Freezing and thawing can cause problems as well, which is why a drainage membrane is recommended for areas where the winters are cold and summers are warm.
Retaining walls are a wonderful addition to your property. The installation is best left to a professional who has the expertise and tools necessary to guarantee that your wall will last for many years to come.