Landscape Design Tips: How to Effectively Use Retaining Walls

What is a Retaining Wall?

As the name suggests, a retaining wall is a support structure built to retain something. Normally, retaining walls are used in yards and landscapes to transform a hill or sloped area into two surfaces of different heights. This is accomplished by holding back soil from a higher ground with a retaining wall to create distinctive lower and upper levels.

Purposes of a Retaining Wall

There are many reasons one may need or want a retaining wall. They can prevent erosion and landslides from damaging your home or land, and they can be helpful in diverting rainfall away from your house or yard. They can create an area of flat, usable land where there was a hill or slope before, or act as a physical barrier that breaks up the different components of a landscape.

For aesthetic purposes, retaining walls add character. They form attractive terraces on slopes which create a unique, layered look to your outdoor space. They also make great gardening and planting areas. Multi-functional retaining walls are simply wonderful additions to your outdoor living spaces.

Materials and Design

Retaining walls can be made out of any material strong enough to serve its purpose. However, most retaining walls are made of stone, concrete, or wood. Timber retaining walls are typically the most cost-friendly, although wood doesn’t last as long as stone or concrete. If you want to use wood, be sure to choose one that is rot-resistant such as redwood, cedar, or pressure-treated wood.

There are several different types of retaining walls such as gravity, piling, cantilever and anchored. Gravity retaining walls rely solely on their own weight to hold the soil behind it. Reinforced walls, such as cantilever retaining walls, are reinforced by a slab foundation and soil backfill. Anchored walls feature an anchored cable driven into the soil to prevent toppling.

The design of retaining walls can be simple or complex, from practical to ornate. They can be the focal point of your landscape or they can blend in and be used as a way to exemplify your exciting landscape design. You can choose from modern and sleek retaining walls made of concrete or have a more rustic feel with a natural stone boulder wall. Low, capped retaining walls can create an attractive perimeter around your outdoor patio and also serve as planting beds or a seating area. The design options for retaining walls are endless and they can be incorporated into almost any outdoor space.

There are many different types of retaining walls, so finding the perfect one for you will depend on your specific landscape as well as your ideas and goals for your space. Glenn Landscape has tons of experience building and designing retaining walls and can help you decide which will be best for you.

Hire a Professional to Build Your Retaining Wall

Whatever design you imagine, be sure to contact Glenn Landscape. We can help in the designing process and provide you with an estimate of the cost of your project. We suggest you browse through our portfolio to find inspiration. Retaining walls are complicated, functional structures, as well as decorative features for your landscape. All retaining walls require some kind of drainage system, some require a permit and others a soil report. This is why it is important to hire a licensed landscape contractor to design and build a proper retaining wall that won’t collapse or fail.

Whether it’s for practical or decorative purposes, the contractors at Glenn Landscape can design and build retaining walls that will perfectly suit your outdoor space.

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