Most landscapes in So-Cal have some sort of elevation change and the need for a simple garden wall or retaining wall is often the solution to a bothersome issue. A small garden wall can help to level off an area which can be used for a flower bed or vegetable garden. It could help divert water away from a house, garage, patio, swimming pool or koi pond and prevent a small disaster.
Building a retaining wall helps guard against soil erosion, allows you to use the unusable areas of your property and enhances the aesthetics of your house. Retaining walls can be designed for their basic functional utility or for creating a raised planting bed. A retaining wall is a specially designed structure that holds soil on one side and is free standing on the other. They help to accommodate changes in grade in a landscape with uneven topography. These walls often allow steeper cuts to a slope to yield more usable space on a cut-and-fill hillside lot. Hard working retaining walls can be key to creating a level sports lawn or driveway too.
Using retaining walls for terracing in the landscape creates mini-gardens and is an excellent option for homeowners with steep slopes where planting is otherwise impossible. Terrace gardens help prevent erosion by dividing hilly areas into smaller level sections where water is more easily distributed and soaked into the ground. Hillside terrace gardens are an attractive addition to the landscape and can be planted with a variety of evergreen creeping shrubs, perennials or annuals.
Walls have innumerable practical uses, but beyond their function they give definition to the landscape. The strong lines of a wall can be used to create a sense of enclosure, like an outdoor room, or used to divide up in the landscape in other ways. Plus, you can add accessories such as planters, benches and lighting to create your one-of-a-kind ideal landscape.
Retaining Walls or Garden Walls can be created from the following materials
Garden walls composed of brick can be dry stacked or laid with mortar.
Natural stone is a classy choice for garden walls, though it can be quite expensive. Stone can be dry-stacked, meaning it is laid without mortar, or each individual stone can be held in place with mortar.
Small fieldstones are a good choice for dry-stacked retaining walls under the feet in height, the standard that is allowed in most building codes for mortarless walls.
Larger boulders can also be laid end to end for an informal retaining wall where the heft of the stones is what holds them in place rather than mortar.
Landscape timbers are long sections of wood that are somewhat thick, frequently 6-by-6 inches. These beams are used in many ways, from creating trellises to constructing benches, but they are also a great source of retaining wall material.
Landscape timbers can be added to areas to build up the soil for a plant bed or to hold back an embankment that is unstable.
Always remember that however beautiful these walls may ultimately be, they are a powerful structure that must function as designed. This can only happen when they are composed of the proper materials and constructed by quality contractors. Get these things right and you’ll be able to count on your financial investment maintaining both beauty and integrity for many decades to come.