Retaining walls serve a dual purpose in landscaping: they are both functional and decorative. These structures are used to hold back soil and rock, preventing erosion and supporting vertical or steep grade changes. There are several types of retaining walls available, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits.
Gravity walls, also known as mass retaining walls, are built from large natural stones, boulders, or landscape blocks. These walls rely on their mass to resist loads and stabilize the soil behind them. However, the use of railroad ties as a building material has fallen out of favor due to environmental concerns and their tendency to decompose over time.
Segmental block walls, or modular block walls, are constructed using interlocking concrete units that are anchored into the earth. These pre-engineered systems offer a cost-effective, durable, and attractive alternative to stone or poured concrete retaining walls. They are also highly flexible in design, allowing for a wide range of site constraints, project sizes, and aesthetic preferences.
Boulder and natural stone retaining walls provide a more natural look, and can be an affordable option for sloping sites. However, these walls can be difficult to install and are typically used more for function than aesthetics. Natural stone walls are typically stacked and have a more stacked appearance, while boulder walls serve a more practical purpose.
One of the main benefits of retaining walls is that they can be used to create usable space in a yard that would otherwise be unusable due to a slope. By building a retaining wall, the slope can be turned into a functional and attractive feature, rather than an obstacle. Retaining walls can also be used to separate different areas of a yard, or to create visual interest and focal points.
Another advantage of retaining walls is that they can be built using a variety of materials, including natural stone, concrete blocks, or bricks. This allows for a great deal of flexibility in terms of design and aesthetics, and allows homeowners to choose a material that best fits their personal style and the overall look and feel of their property.
In addition to their practical and aesthetic benefits, retaining walls can also add value to a property. A well-designed and well-built retaining wall can enhance the overall appearance of a yard, making it more appealing to potential buyers or renters.
Overall, retaining walls are a versatile and useful addition to any landscape, and can provide a variety of benefits to homeowners. Whether used to create usable space, add visual interest, or simply to add value to a property, retaining walls are a smart investment for any homeowner looking to improve their yard.