The main purpose of building a retaining wall is to prevent the soil from eroding away and stopping the water from finding an escape route.
If you live in a hilly area then you may know about these issues and have a retaining wall around your property.
The wall has to keep the water in its places especially during heavy rainstorms. Federal Emergency Management Agency decided to build retaining walls in the village of Orland Hills after the 1966 flood for protection.
If you search for designs for an outdoor wall, you will come across several options. The one you choose has to be sturdy enough to handle any pressure without toppling down.
No one likes flimsy structures that fall to pieces during a storm. A retaining wall will prevent damage to your property from soil movement. Here are the steps on how to build a retaining wall.
1. Consult Authorities
The construction of the wall has certain complications. It may cause trouble by stopping the natural flow of water to your neighbors. As a result, you will need a permit from the concerned authority of your local planning and permitting department to start the construction.
You have to hand over the blueprint of the wall and get ready for a property inspection. Click here to see some of the rules regarding the construction of the wall.
2. Choosing the Material
A variety of materials can be utilized for constructing an embankment around your home or garden. If you are working on a DIY project, choose the substance you can easily work with. Usually, people prefer manufactured blocks and stones.
They are easy to install as they have an even base which ensures that the wall is level. Moreover, they have a locking flange on the bottom edge which creates securely fastened rows.
If you have a budget to hire a professional, then go for concrete or timber. These materials are known for their durability and handling high pressure. Furthermore, if you like to recycle products and keep costs down, then select scrap tire.
3. Always Start with the Base
Before starting to build a retaining wall, focus on its base. First, mark the ground with a shovel where you want to build the wall.
Then move on to placing wooden stakes in the ground on each end. Tie the string with the stakes while keeping it hanging at the preferred height of the wall.
Now start digging a trench and filling with crushed rocks or gravel. The depth of the trench depends on the height of the wall.
In other words, the depth of the trench should be more than 3inches of an eighth of the wall. Fill the 3inches with the crushed rocks for a strong base. Ask for help from a building company if you are not sure about the measurements.
4. Height of the Retaining Wall
The height of the wall is the most important thing you have to consider. You cannot compromise on it. Height is an essential aspect of holding the foundation of the wall and keeping the earth behind it.
Through height, you can judge how much pressure from soil and water a wall can handle. For instance, a standard four feet wall can control 20 tons of soil pressure.
Before deciding on the height, focus on the rate of soil erosion. If you live on a high slope, then chances are that you need a higher wall.
If you don’t know about the technicalities, then contact an engineer to help you to build a retaining wall on slope.
5. Avoid Unlevel Surfaces
Make sure that your whole wall is at the same level. If you don’t focus on keeping the consistent levels, you will end up with a wall that won’t hold the load behind it.
To make the wall level, first, see whether the gravel is spread evenly or not.
One of the best retaining wall ideas is to build it in a curved shape. The shape will not only look attractive but it will also increase the surface area, thus reducing the load. Consequently, your wall will able to keep more soil and water at bay.
6. Drain the Water
The retaining wall has the ability to manage the pressure exerted by water-soaked soil. However, with time, cracks can start to develop because of excessive pressure. To avoid such circumstances, install a proper drainage system within the wall.
First, backfill the space present behind the wall. After that, insert the perforated drainpipe. The pipe will drain the groundwater out from each end of the wall. Camouflage the drainpipe with some gravel.
7. Ideal Backfilling
To ensure that water gets a free pass through the drain, the process of backfilling should be done correctly. Utilize sand or pea-gravel for this process so the water doesn’t get absorbed and moves freely in the drainpipe.
Add a few inches of material and then pat it down. Then add more material. By compacting the material, you will provide more support to the wall.
8. Join the Capstones
If you are working with capstones, securing them in position is one difficult task. You have to be ready to spend hours outside handling the blocks. First, fill its concrete spaces with gravel.
Then apply concrete adhesive on the blocks. You can also use a caulking gun for application purposes. After doing that, press the blocks together so they are attached to each other firmly.
Leave the concrete adhesive to dry.
9. Make it Eye-Catching
Add some appealing tiles or lay the material in a unique way. You can also select rocks with a unique pattern such as jagged rocks.
The wall not only acts as protection but also makes your yard a special place. People who enjoy landscaping will love to experiment with the design of a retaining wall. Add some wooden barriers such as a plywood fence or construct an entwined brick wall.
Never Compromise on Quality
Building the retaining wall may solve your soil erosion problems.
To save a few bucks, do not buy construction materials that are of lower quality. The flimsy material will only cause problems in the future as it won’t be able to perform like it supposed to and you may end up replacing your entire wall.
Furthermore, ask the authorities for the correct paperwork, planning permission and building codes. Without it, you may end up having to pull down the wall you just built.
For more information on retaining wall construction, contact us.