Retaining walls are created to perform a function. Most of the time, that function is holding back soil while reducing the slope of a yard. While the mechanics behind building retaining walls or the basic types of retaining wall designs will only excite engineers, the fantastic options and transformational possibilities of building retaining walls in your yard are often overlooked.
Homeowners can get excited too! The right retaining wall design will enhance your outdoor area, increase usable space, increase your home’s value, and protect your yard. That’s a quadruple whammy!
What Is The Best Retaining Wall Design?
When it comes to retaining walls, you want to go with a Gravity Retaining Wall.
Gravity retaining walls are the best choice for all types of retaining wall projects, both small and large. These walls use the weight and mass of the wall design materials, such as concrete pavers, to hold back soil and form the wall.
It’s important ot keep in mind that any retaining wall over 4 feet must be designed by a wall engineer, who will determine the best type of retaining wall depending on soil type, location, drainage, and multiple other factors.
Pro Tip: Any contractor you contact to build a retaining wall should have vast experience working in your local area, know the soil and substrate conditions well, and have a strong working relationship with a wall engineer.
Why Do I Need a Retaining Wall?
One of the main things to consider when building a retaining wall on your property is the function it will serve. Making this determination first can help determine the retaining wall design you need. Ask yourself the questions below to help you determine what you want from your retaining wall:
- Do you want to improve your landscaping or gardening abilities?
- Do you want more useable yard space?
- Are you using it to delineate property lines or increase privacy?
- Are you building a retaining wall to help with drainage and erosion?
- Is your retaining wall going to be largely aesthetic?
Retaining walls created purely to increase usable yard space by leveling the space will have a few more options than those needed to prevent erosion. It’s helpful to know the desired function of the wall, but it’s important to note that any change to the grade of your yard will impact water runoff or the future stability of the yard. A retaining wall pro will keep this in mind when deisgning and installing your retaining wall.
Pro Tip: While we love to see people taking ownership of their yard with DIY landscaping work, it’s best to leave retaining wall construction up to the pros who understand water run-off, soil erosion, and flooding issues in your local area.
You might think you’re creating a fun barrier between your yard and your neighbor’s yard with a DIY retaining wall, but in reality you might redirect water run-off directly into their home or make an unstable area of your yard. Quite the opposite of loving thy neighbor!
What To Consider When Choosing a Retaining Wall Design
The great thing about using a contractor who truly understands retaining wall design and construction is that they’re pros at knowing what exactly needs to be done and what can be added to the retaining wall to serve your space. When you work with a pro you can get more than a singular wall function. Instead, you can make the retaining wall do a variety of functions and build a more complex wall, like adding complex drainage solutions or adding seating benchs, water features, and a nice set of stairs to help you easily navigate your new space.
Pro Tip: It’s important to keep your budget in mind! Tackling multiple issues in one project can help offset costs now instead of tacking singular projects one at a time. For example, you could consider installing a retaining wall and tacking drainage at the same time.
1. Privacy + Aesthetics
Retaining walls are a great option if you want to enhance your privacy. You can add privacy to your yard but also bring an exciting feature to your yard that will provide room to hang out with family and friends. Adding a wall seat will help to create a cozy hidden nook that’s perfect for star-gazing on cool fall nights while also surprising your guests with a custom feature in your yard.
2. Useable Yard Space + Increased Drainage
Creating a driveway retaining wall is a simple way to increase useable yard space while controlling water run-off. Driveway retaining walls are a great way to reclaim useable space in the yard while concealing newly installed catch basins or french drains along the driveway to redirect water to the street.
Pro Tip: Adding low-voltage lighting into the driveway retaining wall can also increase safety at night. It’ll also wow your neighbors!
2. Improve Landscaping + Prevent Erosion
Erosion strips away the healthy layer of soil, leaving behind ugly cracks where plants and grass can’t grow. Revive your green thumb and get a retaining wall installed. You can then add some grass seed, and get ready to bring your yard back to life! To take things up a notch, with a few extra steps, you can create simple landscaping on top of a singular retaining wall or turn your yard into terraced layers with hidden pockets of dreamy landscaping. Both options would protect your yard while increasing curb appeal and the value of your home.
Pro Tip: Need to learn more about Catch Basins and French Drains? Read our blog to learn about the difference.
Hire Local Professionals You Can Trust
Working with retaining wall pros, like Pavertime, will take the worry out of retaining wall design and installation. Think about it! How will you know if the design parameters, analytical geometry, and variables, or anchors and angles for a retaining wall are correct? How can you best ensure the retaining wall won’t fail, leaving behind a very unsafe and costly mistake? The best decision you can make when building a retaining wall is to hire a professional.
As seasoned professionals with decades of experience in the Houston area, Pavertime is the contractor you can trust.
Whether you want to build a retaining wall, outdoor kitchen, paver walkway, or even like to discuss options in a free consultation, we’re the team you can trust. Because of our extensive experience in Houston, we know the different soils, substrates, and flooding issues. We’re experts at water runoff in our sub-tropical climate and can help you plan for heavy rain events accordingly. Don’t wait! Call us today to schedule a consultation.
You can reach us by calling 832-831-6058 or filling out our contact form on our website! Your new retaining wall is one call away!