Building a retaining wall is an art that if not performed properly can put the entire project in jeopardy. A well-designed and constructed concrete retaining wall can hold back soil for years and withstand hydrostatic pressure. Apart from its core purpose of preventing soil erosion, a properly installed retaining wall can increase the aesthetic function of your home, thus improving the value of your property. Here are some fundamental tips for homeowners to bear in mind when building a concrete retaining wall.
Approvals and Permits -- A concrete retaining wall project is a huge investment for homeowners. Therefore, ensure that all the local building codes are followed to prevent potential violations. Have the design of the retaining wall made by an expert, who will consider the nature of the terrain of your home. The local authority should approve all your construction plans before you can kick-start any groundwork. If you own another property in another state, never assume that local building codes, especially regarding retaining wall works, are similar.
Consider Drainage -- One main reason why many concrete retaining walls never survive for years is because of poor drainage around them. Poor drainage automatically compromises the integrity of the concrete retaining wall because it weakens its foundation. The design process should ensure that the drainage factor is considered prior to construction. The type of soil around the site will determine the nature of drainage design to be adopted. Soils that have poor drainage capability will need to be removed and replaced with gravel. You will also have to install polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes beneath the wall to drain water behind the retaining wall.
Explore Different Designs -- Traditional retaining walls were made in a straight fashion that left no room for alterations. However, modern homeowners have started to explore diverse designs that add texture and aesthetics to their homes. Curved concrete retaining walls are becoming trendy due to their elegance. As for the height of the wall, it is recommended that you stay within four feet, especially if it is a DIY project. Otherwise, you can extend the height beyond four feet if you will incorporate reinforcements and seek the professional services of a structural engineer. Also, when designing a retaining wall, integrate them with the natural environment to create a sense of unity. For instance, you can build a raised flowerbed off the retaining wall. An elevated flower bed that extends from the concrete retaining wall is indeed a thing of beauty.