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A retaining wall is an attractive addition to landscaping, while also delivering functional benefits for a homeowner who wants to improve the usability of outdoor space. The design experts at Visionary Landscaping in Shelby Township, MI, work with customers to customize plans for high-quality landscaping enhancements using retaining walls.
How Retaining Walls Work
The purpose of a retaining wall is to serve as a secure, strong structure that keeps hilly, sloping earth in its place. They receive horizontal pressure from natural elements and must be built according to specific hardscaping standards, especially because of the weight they hold. Retaining walls are sometimes called a gravity wall, piling wall, cantilever wall, or anchored wall.
- Usually higher than 3 feet.
- Require building permits and approvals.
- Need footing for a secure foundation.
- Often includes drainage pipe.
- Typically built with a stone front.
Garden walls are different than retaining walls and stand only about 2 feet high or less. Their purpose is to line a landscape with a hardscape element, highlighting the yin and yang of the hard and soft features. A garden wall is purely ornamental.
Problems Corrected by Customized Retaining Walls
Because retaining walls offer both physical solutions and aesthetic appeal, it’s important to discuss what’s needed for your outdoor space to ensure this feature is the right option. There are many things a retaining wall can do. Some of the most common functions are:
- Improve unusable yard: If your home has a section of seemingly unusable yard, a retaining wall firmly footed in the ground can make that problem disappear.
- Stop runoff: Soil and water runoff are common problems. Carefully positioned and crafted retaining walls are strong drainage systems that stop this problem from creeping through your yard and prevent foundation damage and leaks.
- Protect infringing elements: A sloping yard or encroaching hillside can be held back by a carefully appointed retaining wall that delivers a feeling of safety, increasing usable space by reducing the slope and making room for a flat area ideal for patio or garden.
- Stop soil erosion: If your home is on a slope, you may have a problem with soil erosion that also shifts out from under your house. A retaining wall keeps a home’s foundation intact by holding back soil.
- Divide yard into sections: Freestanding landscape retaining walls can be built strategically throughout the yard to divide it into sections to highlight flower beds, designate patios, and identify entertaining or lounging areas.
Materials for Retaining Walls
Because every homeowner has a unique vision for their yard, it helps to know that retaining walls can be built using a variety of materials that match your preferences and existing hardscaping:
- Stone: The porosity of semi-dry stone allows room for both drainage and freezing for a safe, weather-friendly hardscape. A stone wall is slightly wider at the base.
- Brick: Concrete footing and block backing are necessary for brick retaining walls. This material is often best for a small area or short ornamental seating wall.
- Treated timber: Pressure treated timber is strong and secure thanks to environmentally safe preservative. Retaining walls made with lumber contain steel rods and spikes for anchoring and are adjusted accordingly to manage drainage problems.
The materials you and your landscaper select to create the wall, plus its design, height, and weight, all impact the final product.
Get a Customized Retaining Wall in Shelby Township
If your yard needs a support wall to hold back nature’s design but also blends into your landscaping, schedule a consultation with Visionary Landscaping in Shelby Township to schedule a consultation. Find out if a customized retaining wall is right for your outdoor living area.