When you want to make the most of your outdoor space, adding a retaining wall can be a great solution! Depending on the size and shape of the structure, you may even be able to construct it yourself. Regardless, consider these basic tips before making or maintaining this landscape feature, and let us know if you need any help (with the maintenance part). Here’s what to know about retaining walls.
You may have an idea about where you want your retaining wall to go, but without hammering out the details (in advance), you could be wasting your time and efforts. Typically, they’re placed as dividers to keep the soil in place at two different levels. So, while you may have a clear division naturally, more likely than not you’re going to have to create and maintain this separation. All of the shifting soil can make keeping the area level complicated, but it’s essential for a well-constructed and long-lasting retaining wall. Don’t forget to plan for your drainage, too! While your lawn may have a natural grade or slope, you’ll probably need to add an additional drain at the base to prevent your wall from eroding over time.
Retaining walls are mainly built for function, but you can still be creative! Rather than building a plain brick or stone form, consider adding curves and/or patterns. In many backyard designs today, the retaining wall actually becomes the backdrop for an entertaining space. So, try to coordinate with the overall appearance of your house for a natural extension of your style. Curves, terracing, and eye-catching top features can all enhance the appearance of this hardscape. Just keep in mind, you may need to consult an engineer (as well as your local permitting office) for any wall over 4 feet tall. Also, manufactured blocks/stones are often easiest to work with—especially when you’re building the wall yourself—but they have a more modern look that may or may not work with the rest of your home.
Maintain, Maintain, Maintain
A lot of people think of retaining walls as a “set it and forget it” project. However, remember, they’re surrounding by shifting soil that requires upkeep! Performing regular (seasonal) checks will help you to stay ahead of the game and spot issues early on. Especially since we’ve had a really wet season this summer, you’ll want to make sure your drainage system is still working correctly and there are no signs of settling problems. You can also remove weeds growing in between the bricks/stones and plant flowers, bushes, or trees around the structure that have slow-growing root systems. Those with aggressive roots will cause damage to your retaining wall over time.
From an appearance standpoint, you want to keep your surface looking fresh and clean! After a few seasons out in the elements, retaining walls can look a little dingy. To remove stuck-on dirt, mold, or mildew, call the professionals for a thorough pressure washing! At Peak Power Wash, we work with a variety of materials, including stone, cedar, stucco, brick, vinyl, and veneer. So, contact us for a free power washing estimate today.