|Retaining walls offer a visual interest
to your landscape and often are used to prevent areas of
erosion on hillsides. If you have a flat yard, you need only
build a landscape wall for your bedded plants and flowers.
Retaining or landscape walls may be made of timber, block
covered with stucco, interlocking decorative concrete
blocks, or natural or artificial stone. When planning your
wall, consider style, cost, durability, and ease of
Landscape timbers are easy to install and relatively
inexpensive, but are less durable than concrete or stone.
You can expect a good, pressure treated timber wall to last
for 15 to 20 years.
Concrete block can be bought as regular cement blocks and
covered with stucco or you can buy decorative concrete
block. Concrete block requires mortar and will make a good
landscape wall, but if you are building a retaining wall,
this type of block is not recommended, as the mortar joints
will hinder drainage, and your wall will eventually crack.
Stone walls of natural rock stacked as a wall are use both
for landscape and retaining walls. This is a lot of work as
the stones can be heavy, but it is less expensive than cut
stone or interlocking block. Do not use this material if
your wall is more than three feet high.
Interlocking concrete block is the easiest of all materials
to work with and will last a lifetime if installed properly.
Itís flexibility makes installation easy, as you can make
curves that add visual interest to your garden or yard very
easily. It is quite expensive, but the durability and ease
of installation make up for the cost is the long run.
Landscape walls are generally built to add visual interest
to your yard or garden and are relatively easy to install.
They can be free standing or act as a retaining wall for a
garden bed, and may be made out of any of the materials
listed above. Try to limit the height of your landscape wall
to three feet, as your local building code may require deep
concrete footings for taller walls.
Make sure you have a solid base that is level to begin with
and you should have no problem building your wall.
Retaining walls are a bit more complicated. It is important
to remember, retaining walls are subject to thousands of
pounds of pressure from the weight of the soil and water.
Even a three foot wall can collapse if not installed
correctly. If you have a tall hill, it will be easier to
terrace the hill with several short walls. This is a very
big job, and you may want to hire professionals who are
knowledgeable in this area, but if you want to tackle it
yourself, there are three major steps:
1. Preparing the foundation: This is the most important
step, as it will be the base for the wall. It is important
to add drainage to prevent erosion and make sure that you
have an adequate base. If this step is skipped, and water
saturates the soil behind the wall, damage can occur.
2. Installing the first row: When you set your first row,
you are establishing the shape and scope of the wall. It is
very important to get the first row level, or your wall will
be leaning when it is finished.
3. Installing the remaining rows: This is usually the
easiest part of the job. If you have installed your base
correctly, this step should go smoothly.
Block Retaining Wall
Wood Retaining Wall
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