Retaining walls, despite their name, are not just for retaining dirt.
They also serve to improve outdoor space in the form of more living area and a sense of privacy among neighbors who share property lines.
Though it may seem simple at first glance or design-wise (there is no shortage of options), there’s plenty you can do with them: made from rock or concrete blocks; short and tall; flat toped/convex shaped etc., so don’t let this statement deter your creativity!
The cheapest types of retaining walls are wood and concrete blocks, followed by concrete and stones or bricks. Each material has benefits and drawbacks, including strength, longevity, and attractiveness. For those who are planning on building their own retaining wall, it is vital to plan and research.
This article will explain the basics of a retaining wall, the different materials and approaches that can be used, and things to watch out for when building.
Building a retaining wall
Retaining walls can be made of many different materials, and each has its own pros and cons. While wood is the cheapest option, it doesn’t last long or provide much strength; concrete blocks offer a balance between cost-effectiveness and durability but are unattractive; while stone bricks have more longevity than other options at this price point but may not look as nice in your backyard. For those who plan on building their own retaining wall themselves (which would require some research), balancing all these factors out becomes key to make sure you’re getting what you want for the best value possible.
Built-in seating areas are a great way to enjoy time outdoors, and this is exactly what retaining walls can provide. Whether you’re looking for additional space or just want your yard to be the most attractive it possibly could, adding built in furniture like seats create more enjoyable outdoor experiences!
Size your project first
When we discuss the design and material of a retaining wall, it is important to do your research. You want to plan what you would like your retaining wall’s aesthetic look be as well as how much work needs done for success in its installation:
- Due to the amount of lifting and moving of soil and materials, this project would require more than one person.
- Depending on the size of the retaining wall, a building permit may be needed before starting construction.
- Proper drainage must be included in your design as the soil can become very heavy when wet.
It is important to find a material that you can feel comfortable with in order to make your project run as smoothly and effortlessly as possible. For those who are not experienced enough for this type of work, there are blocks made specifically for retaining walls which will help turn the task into an easy process.
Types of Retaining Walls
Wood is the most affordable material to use and has relatively few disadvantages. However, it does have some drawbacks- wood rots in moist climates, often gets infested with termites or bugs like carpenter ants that can damage structures from within, then there’s also fire risk! Concrete blocks are not as popular because they’re heavy but this weight actually protects them against seismic activity which means your building will be better able to withstand earthquakes if you choose these for a foundation. They cost more than wooden foundations though so make sure you do lots of research before deciding on what’s best for your project.
Cost: $1,000 – $2,800 total (source)
Though it is inexpensive, there are many downsides to using wood rather than more durable materials. Wood will not last nearly as long as stone or concrete blocks would and the pieces can be large and difficult for transportation.
Concrete Cinder Blocks
Cost: $3,184 – $8,652 (source)
The concrete blocks are primarily used in construction, paving and parking lots. They can also be found as landscaping blocks or decorative accents for your garden walls. These environmentally friendly materials offer a variety of benefits over traditional brick and block building products that require costly transportation to the site from other states or countries: they’re lightweight and easy to transport; durable but less expensive than many types of stone material like marble , granite, limestone ; comes in various colors such as natural gray (with white mortar joints) black with yellowish-tan coloring sandstone buff color jasper hue
The most popular style is Interlocking Concrete Blocks which come designed with different patterns on each side so you have options when designing your wall’s look.
Cost: $20-$25 per square foot (source)
In order to save time and money, you might want to hire a professional for your retaining wall. Building one requires experience in pouring concrete vertically – something that even professionals have trouble with! It is also very costly if the need arises to repair cracks or do maintenance later on down the line because of all of this verticality business.
Stone or Brick
Cost: $11-$15 per square foot (source)
The most expensive materials, stone or brick, are a great option for those interested in retaining walls with an attractive but sturdy appearance. For more cost-effective options that still provide appealing looks and durability, one can gather stones on site to stack along the edge of your property using either bricks or cinder blocks as well.
How To Build a Strong Retaining Wall
By designing and building a retaining wall properly, one can reduce the chances of damage over time. A well-designed retaining wall has strengths while different materials have weaknesses; however, with an in addition to reinforcing material such as steel bars it is possible for even weaker walls from collapsing or breaking under pressure.
Products like My Supply Shed Retaining Wall Geogrid from Amazon.com are designed to be installed while the wall is being built and can provide additional support.
How To Avoid Potential Issues
Three commons problems could potentially lead to the collapse of your retaining wall:
- The soil behind a retaining wall is both wet and sticky. The moist ground can cause hydrostatic pressure to build on the material, which could lead to damage of the dirt if left unchecked. To prevent this from happening, proper drainage should be put in place as well as 3/4-minus or bank-run gravel for most backfill materials; anything else will just become too heavy after getting saturated with water and lose its structural integrity over time.
- When the soil becomes overly saturated and freezes behind a wall, it can lead to breaks. Drainage during cold temperatures is important for fortifying against frost that could form in places where dirt would typically freeze without any melting or drainage happening first. When heavy frost may be expected, concrete blocks are sometimes used as an added measure of safety to keep walls from breaking open due to freezing moisture being trapped inside them by ice formation on their inner surfaces.
- If you have a heavy load, it is best to remove them from the wall or dispose of them in an appropriate manner. This will ensure that they do not cause tipping and leaning on your retaining wall. Tiebacks should be installed by professionals if this may happen frequently so there won’t be any damage done
Familiarize Yourself With Available Resources
A lot of people like to do projects themselves, but there are a number of resources available for those who don’t have the time or know-how. Online videos and forums provide instructional directions from experienced engineers, landscapers, and handymen that can help make it easier.
A large percentage of homeowners will try their hand at DIY if they find an easy project with detailed instructions online – whether in video form or written out step by step via forum posts. This is why some sites offer free PDFs on how to complete certain tasks around your house such as replacing cabinetry handles; while others charge $4-$6 per download because these guides save you money over hiring someone else to come fix something small on site (or worse).
This Ultimate Guide: Walks, Patios book is a must-read for any homeowner who wants to build retaining walls. With detailed descriptions and illustrations of the building process as well as design ideas and directions in this highly reviewed Amazon bestseller, you’ll be able to create your very own luxury walkway or patio that will make everyone jealous!
Additionally, there are many books about how people can help themselves when it comes to construction projects like constructing their own DIY shelves with some cheap plywood from Home Depot. One such useful guide would be “Shelving Solutions” by Owen Arthur Smith available on both Kindle PDF format at $3 USD or paperback version starting at just $6 USD – which also includes links where readers could buy all necessary