Preventing Damage to Your Retaining Walls

Preventing Damage to Your Retaining Walls

Here are a few ways you can design your retaining walls with durability and effectiveness in mind.

Retaining walls are used to help work with uneven ground and changes of grade in a landscape, which can be effective for making more usable space, creating a space for landscape plantings, and adding a level area for a driveway. As useful as retaining walls may be, some thought needs to go into their installation.

When planning and designing new retaining walls, it’s important that you go through all the proper considerations and set yourself up for success. That’s because details like the height, length, and location of your retaining walls can end up preventing damage and help retain longevity. Here are a few ways you can design your retaining walls with durability and effectiveness in mind.

Your Base and Foundation

Since retaining walls are so heavy, the soil underneath will often get squashed and the wall ends up shrinking since it lacks enough pressure to keep it upright. This is a recipe for disaster. Think of your retaining wall’s base as the foundation for the whole project. Use solid and level soil that ideally hasn’t been used in previous landscaping projects (as that soil tends to be sturdier). Using a level foundation allows you to avoid using shims that take up more time and aren’t as structurally sound.

Compacting the Backfill

The backfill of your retaining wall is important as it can offer the drainage your wall needs to stay sturdy. This is why it’s important to fill the space behind a retaining wall with sand or gravel, materials that won’t absorb water but still allow for drainage, minimizing the overall risk of cracks or other damage. Your contractor should know how to properly compact your backfill and make sure everything is structurally sound.

Creating Efficient Drainage

These kinds of structures are used to hold back layers of soil, which can get heavy. Adding more water into the mix that has nowhere to drain will just add to that weight. Water can also end up washing out the base material or collecting behind the wall, which will impact the overall structure of your retaining wall. Gravel can help control your drainage and keep water away from your retaining wall.

Designed to the Right Height

Like the other factors, the height of your retaining wall is just as important if you want to avoid damage. Building up to a height of 4 feet shouldn’t require any additional supports, but if you go taller, you’re going to need more elements in order to ensure structural stability. Additionally, anything higher than 4 feet may require additional permits.

Reinforce Your Wall

Adding additional reinforcements to your retaining wall can help ensure that it’s strong and secure. Often times, you’ll see rebar (or steel bars) used in this kind of construction. Just make sure that rebar is properly installed such that the wall won’t separate from it.

Contact Sposato Landscape

For over 25 years, Sposato Landscaping has been beautifying and nurturing countless landscapes throughout the Delmarva area. We offer many services, including landscape design, installations, residential maintenance, hardscape, commercial maintenance, and turf nutrient management.

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