Retaining Walls

Unlike Regan’s request to “tear down that wall”, many of us use a smaller retaining wall within our yards and borders to literally “retain” the soil from erosion or severe sloping. The purpose is generally to maintain soil levels between two varying elevations. A retaining wall is merely a soil stabilizing structure not a political triumph, and is a fairly easy DIY (Do It Yourself) task, if necessary.

Materials used for a retaining wall vary from concrete to brick. The most commonly used option in Colorado is cinder block which can be found at any landscape supply store or your neighborhood Home Improvement outlet. It’s very convenient to have the block delivered to your home so you are only moving it once, hopefully to its final destination. Estimate the length of the wall and height so you can calculate the number of blocks needed to cover the area before ordering. Your local Home Improvement Store Assistant will be happy to help you with this math assignment.

Using a cap block for the foundation like blue stone cap cement is a good idea as it can be back filled with dirt as you continue to build along the wall’s length creating solid stabilization. Gravel is used if starting from a lower grade, stepping the base up in small increments to support a change in grade level. If your wall is adjacent to or next to your home, use seal to keep water out. Also, using a loose hose or robe on the ground as your marking line for a curved wall can give a softer look than a straight line wall as you continued to stack the blocks upward. Use a level to maintain a balanced and level look and start small. If you need a larger wall, or want to include steps such as we have pictured in our portfolio of projects, consult a Landscape Architect or Designer.
Many retaining walls include steps like the one pictured in our portfolio. Not only is the block holding the soil from sloping further but allows for movement from the lower level to the upper by using he built in stairs. A nice efficient feature that will retain it value for years to come. Keep in mind, getting assistance from a Landscaper is best when taking on a sizable project.