When you’re looking for a way to improve the look and feel of your yard, building a retaining wall is always a good idea. Not only will it have a dramatic impact on the aesthetic of your yard, but it will also serve a practical purpose.
Unfortunately, many people who build a retaining wall themselves may do so incorrectly, which can lead to breakdowns and disaster if you’re not careful. At B&D Rockeries, we don’t want you to experience such issues, which is why we’re here to help with the planning phase.
Overall, the more time you can spend planning your retaining wall, the better chance you have of it being successful and lasting for decades to come. So, with that in mind, here are some crucial things to remember before getting started.
Consider the Size
How long will your wall be? How high? Will be it be at a slope or will it have the same grade throughout? Depending on the size and complexity of your structure, you may have to consult some professionals to make sure that you’re not making any mistakes. However, if you’re just building a simple two-foot high structure, you can probably do it yourself with minimal issues.
How Will it Look?
Although retaining walls can be practical, one of the primary purposes of installing one is to add a vibrant centerpiece to your yard. Thus, you want to pay attention to how it will be constructed, and how the materials will appear once it’s done.
For some people, the thought of using a variety of rocks for a mosaic effect can be tempting, but not budget friendly we highly recommend using manufactured stones for the primary structure. The reason we like these better is that they provide a uniform look, they’re easier to install, and they will stay in place better.
If you still want a mosaic design, we suggest adding different-sized rocks to the top layer of the wall. This way, you get the aesthetic without impacting the integrity of the wall.
What About Drainage?
If your wall is sloped, then you’ll have to make sure that water won’t erode the foundation. While constructing your base, you’ll have to put a drainage pipe alongside the wall. We suggest placing a cloth or a screen at the opening so that it won’t fill in with dirt or debris. There’s nothing worse than having to dig out a drainage pipe, so make sure that you protect it well during installation.
Keep it Level at All Times
Sloped retaining walls have the most problems for DIYers, which means that you have to take extra care to ensure that you don’t mess things up along the way. One thing you should be doing as you go is making sure that each layer is perfectly level. If it isn’t, then you’ll risk the structural integrity, and it will look off when all is said and done. Overall, it’s much better to go a little slower and do things right than to redo it later on.
Build the Right Foundation
It’s easy to think that you can start building a retaining wall from the ground up. However, as with any construction project, you need to start with the foundation. Gravel is an excellent choice because it allows for drainage, but no matter what materials you use, you have to start by digging a few inches and compacting the foundation before building anything. Also, make sure that you’re level with the rest of the ground first to ensure that the wall’s integrity will stay stabilized.
Backfill Along the Way
If you’re planning on building the wall first and then adding the dirt, this could lead to complications later on. Instead, it’s much better to backfill as you go so that you can get the additional support of the dirt or gravel while building. Also, it will save you a lot of time in the end because you should be done when the wall is finished, rather than having to add material after the fact.
Also, when backfilling, be sure to compact the material as much as possible. If the soil or gravel is too loose, then it could lead to erosion, which will destroy chunks of your wall.
Think About Functionality
While most people will consider creative flourishes when building a retaining wall (i.e., mosaic pattern, terracing, etc.), what about practicality?For example, can you add a stairway to the wall and incorporate it into a stone path? What about a pond and waterfall? If you’re going to put a retaining wall in your backyard, can you include a barbecue pit?
Before starting on construction, it helps to think about ways that you can make it even more functional. This way, it will not only enhance the visual aesthetic of your outdoor spaces, but it will be even more practical.
Contact B&D Rockeries Today
Whether you do it yourself or you need professionals to do the heavy lifting, we’re here to help. We have many different stones to choose from, and our design team can help you get the perfect look for your yard. Contact us to find out more and how you can make your retaining wall shine.