How to plan and install a backyard retaining wall

Posted on: 13 July 2021

A retaining wall built into your yard's landscaping is a great attractive addition to your yard's design, and it provides protection against sliding soil and erosion that can occur over time. When you install a retaining wall, there are some elements you need to implement into its design construction to make sure it works well and lasts through weather and other exterior conditions. Here are some considerations to use when you are installing a backyard retaining wall.

Plan For the Foundation

Before you can start building your retaining wall's structure, you need to make sure the base of the wall and the surrounding soil is prepared with the right materials and drainage. Drainage of the soil behind your retaining wall is essential because the weight of the soil alone should be considered in the wall's construction, but when you add moisture to the soil from irrigation or rainfall, the soil will become extra heavy. To protect your retaining wall from collapse or buckling, you need to plan for some release of the pressure behind the wall when the soil is wet. At the minimum, you should install drainage gravel at the foundation of your wall and behind the base of the wall. This gravel will help water percolate downward from the soil above so it can exit from behind the wall's structure.

A drainage pipe made of perforated materials along with a covering of landscape fabric will provide you with the drainage base for your retaining wall. The landscape fabric will ensure that your drainage pipe does not fill with soil and become clogged. Then, be sure your drainage pipe has an exit for the water to drain from. This can be through the face of the retaining wall or at a side position where both ends of the drainage pipe extend from behind the wall.

Know When to Hire Professionals

A backyard DIY retaining wall project is an easy solution to hold back an amount of soil and keep it from eroding down onto the lawn, bedding areas, or concrete patio. And you can build a retaining wall that is a half meter in height using materials such as interlocking concrete blocks or railroad ties.

However, when you are not using a cement mortar to construct the height of the wall, keep in mind you don't want to build it too tall because it may be prone to collapse. So when you are building a retaining awl that is taller than a half meter, you should look into professional construction of your retaining wall. A professional contractor can evaluate the weight of the soil you are holding back and engineer the right strength of your wall and prevent its failure.

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