The Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Retaining Wall.

A retaining wall is generally a pretty straightforward DIY project. It is one landscaping adventure that many homeowners can tackle on their own, without the need for hiring expensive landscaping crews. However, that does not mean that building a retaining wall is all sunshine and rainbows. Just like with any DIY project, there are numerous ways that things can go horribly wrong. With that in mind, here are some simple ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of building your own retaining wall. Click here for more information Kyle Retaining Wall CO.

Do

Do choose materials that will be simple and easy to work with–especially if you are new to this. While retaining walls CAN be made from a whole host of different building materials, not all of them are fun or easy to work with. For first timers, it’s generally easier and will produce better results if you choose pre-made blocks/stones/timber designed for the task. 

Don’t

Don’t ever lay blocks on an unlevel surface. An unlevel wall will not only look bad aesthetically, but it will not hold up over time structurally. It is absolutely critical that you check that each new layer of blocking is perfectly level top to bottom, front to back. This can be a painstaking process but will pay off in the end. 

Do

Do make sure to back fill your wall for proper storm and water drainage. Ideally you will place a thin layer of pea gravel or drainage scoria between the soil and the wall after each layer of blocks. This will ensure that water is properly drained after heavy rainfall, and the soil and wall will not receive unnecessary pressure. 

Don’t

Don’t try to get too ambitious with your retaining wall height. Anything over 4ft tall should be done by a professional to ensure structural integrity and overall safety. If you must build a wall higher than 4 feet, consider splitting up the process by building dual offset walls in a step form–this is both stylish and effective. 

Do

Do contact your local authorities before beginning excavation for the project. This could require you to apply for a construction license on your home and might make an area inspection necessary. Contact the DigSafe hotline at 811 to check and see if there are any hazards or issues with digging in the area you wish to place the wall. 

Don’t

Don’t try to build a wall on an unstable or soft surface. Always make sure to build a proper retaining wall footing surface that can adequately support the weight of the retaining wall, as well as keep the wall level over time. An unbalanced wall built on a soft surface is almost guaranteed to fall apart sooner or later. 

In Conclusion

Retaining walls need proper care and a fair bit of know-how to get just right. When built improperly, they can not only pose a safety hazard, they can also fall apart rapidly (wasting time and money). Always make sure to take the time to manage every step of the process carefully, and thoroughly. This will ensure that you have a gorgeous and strong retaining wall that will last.

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