As the name suggests, a retaining wall is a structure that is used for holding soil behind it. There are a number of different types of retaining walls used for a variety of purposes. Also, a number of different types of materials are used for creating retaining walls such as concrete, rocks, boulders, treated timber as well as concrete blocks among others. Here is everything you need to know about why use a retaining wall.
Why Use a Retaining Wall?
Typically, a retaining wall is used when one part of the ground is at a much different height than the neighboring part of the ground which leads to a too steep slope between these two parts. The retaining wall is used for maintaining the slope in place and supporting the soil on higher level.
One of the biggest uses of a retaining wall is to slow down erosion. Soil on a sloping land tends to erode over time as gravity, wind and water causes it to slowly travel downhill. This may lead to a variety of problems and may even compromise the structural integrity of the land. A retaining wall helps in preventing soil erosion by holding back the soil on the higher part of the ground at that particular level and prevents it from flowing downwards.
Another common use of retaining wall is for increasing the usable space in a property. In case you own a property that is highly sloping, you may not be able to use all the space on your property. In such a case, a retaining wall can be of great help as by getting a wall system installed on your property, it will allow for the space to be leveled off.
In simple terms, you will have a lot of additional space which can be used for a variety of purposes. Once a proper retaining wall has been erected, the low land can be backfilled for leveling the ground which will provide completely usable flat land.
One of the main problems associated with sloping land is that it leads to drainage issues. On a sloped land, water always flows in a particular direction which is down the slope and this may lead to huge challenges in terms of drainage. For avoiding flooding and improving drainage, retaining walls are often built for preventing the water from travelling downhill.
Retaining wall system can also be used for redirecting water to improve drainage. Redirecting the water can be especially helpful in case the land slopes towards a building or house where it may lead to internal flooding issues. Redirection of water is also useful in case the land slopes towards a driveway, patio, parking lot or any other usable space.
Retaining walls are also being increasingly used for enhancing privacy between two properties. A retaining wall can be constructed in to enhance privacy when one building or home is on a higher land as compared to another. It is important that the proper type of retaining wall is used to make sure that it not only provides privacy but also prevents erosion and drainage issues.
Retaining walls are also increasingly being used for enhancing the visual look of a property’s landscaping. The retaining walls not only prevent drainage and erosion issues but can also be used for creating a variety of visually interesting levels and the overall design.
For enhancing the overall visual appeal of the space, a number of different types of attractive and colorful materials can be used for creating the retaining wall. Some of the common materials used for landscaping include concrete blocks, stones, pavers, natural stone and other such things. Professional landscape artists design retaining walls to coordinate with the surrounding features.
As mentioned above, there are a number of different types of retaining walls and each of these types of retaining walls is used for a variety of purposes. Some of the common types of retaining walls include gravity walls, sheet pile walls, cantilever walls, anchored walls and counterfort falls.
The gravity walls usually have a maximum height of 4 feet. As the name suggests, it relies on its own weight for retaining the soil behind it. The base of gravity wall is much thicker than its top and it leans backwards. Due to this inclination that is known as battering, the structure remains strong.
Over time, the material behind the wall keeps pushing it forward which may lead to bulging of the wall outwards. If the wall is deformed, it means that it’s unstable and needs to be constructed again. While this type of retaining wall is great for smaller slopes, these are not meant for taller slopes as the base needs to be much thicker than the top. Gravity walls require a lot of construction material.
Cantilever walls are built in uniform thickness with the base of the wall connected to a slab for additional strength. These walls are not only capable of holding back significant amount of soil but these can also support tall slopes. As far as the strength and capacity of this wall is concerned, it depends on the structure of the wall. This design is quite complex and therefore, it is recommended to hire the services of an experienced landscaping company to get this wall built.
The counterfort wall is similar in construction to cantilever wall with the only difference being that it also includes thin vertical concrete walls that are known as counterfort at regular intervals. These counterforts connect the base and top of the wall together which reduces the bending and shear forces due to the soil behind. In simple terms, the counterfort provides additional strength to the wall.
Overall, there are a number of different uses of retaining walls. Hopefully, you now know why use a retaining wall.