Retaining walls are common in many settings, including residential properties, roadways, and major commercial structures. These walls can enhance the aesthetics of a property, but their primary purpose is to manage slopes and control erosion. A correctly designed retaining wall can help beautify your property while preventing erosion damage and making your yard more functional.
However, installing a large retaining wall on your property can be a major project. Even small retaining walls are still substantial engineering projects that often require expert design and construction. This guide will help you understand if your property can benefit from a retaining wall so you can decide if this project makes sense for your home's needs and budget.
Understanding Slope Management and Erosion Control
The primary purpose of a retaining wall is to hold back a section of earth, although secondary considerations such as water drainage and aesthetics are also critical. Soil retention can benefit your yard in three primary ways:
- Preventing parts of your property from eroding
- Managing slopes or creating flat terraces
- Minimizing water runoff and flooding
Steep slopes can sometimes lead to substantial erosion since water will follow gravity along the path of least resistance. Heavy rains can produce large amounts of runoff, carrying soil and parts of your landscaping. In addition to altering the slope of your yard, this erosion can damage your turf and carry away essential nutrients necessary for plants in your yard to thrive.
Strategic placement of retaining walls can keep soil in place while allowing water to drain away. As a result, you can dramatically slow the process of yard erosion. Using a retaining wall to create a flat or less steeply sloped terrace, you can also manage the amount of water flowing down your yard, controlling ponding or flooding.
Knowing When to Consider Installing a Retaining Wall
Installing a retaining wall for purely aesthetic purposes is always an option if you want to enhance your yard's beauty. This approach can be particularly beneficial if you have a sloped portion of your lawn that you want to use as a garden or a recreational area. A retaining wall can allow you to landscape this area into a terrace, creating an area that's easier to use and more functional.
However, retaining walls can also be useful for addressing existing problems. If you have a steeply sloped yard and notice significant drainage, erosion, or flooding issues, one or more retaining walls may be able to help.
Contact a professional to learn more about retaining walls.