Retaining walls are an invaluable component in an attractive landscape. They live up to their namesake by “retaining” the shape of the land, preventing soil from washing and eroding away while subsequently creating a textured appearance.
Retaining walls are commonly used in well-manicured gardens and residential lawns to achieve a more visually attractive appearance. But if you’re planning to use a retaining wall in your landscape, there are a few things you should know.
Check for Utilities
First and foremost, you should check to see if utilities run underneath the area where you want to build the retaining wall. Accidentally digging into a gas line is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
Thankfully, you can usually check to see if active utilities run through a particular area of your landscape by calling the utility companies that service your home. Here in Texas you need to call 811 and have them come out and mark all of your utility lines. You can learn more about this at www.texas811.org
Check for Development Requirements
Additionally, you should check with your city or county’s development center to see if any permits are required when building a retaining wall.
Normally, most areas don’t require homeowners to obtain a permit for building a retaining wall, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and check beforehand.
If a permit is required, you’ll typically have to pay a small fee, after which you’ll have the green light to construct a retaining wall in your landscape.
Designing a Retaining Wall
Now comes the fun part of designing and building your retaining wall. To begin, you should go around your landscape and mark the ground where you want to build the wall with stakes.
After marketing the area, sketch out a rough design of your retaining wall on paper. This will allow you to specify the dimensions for your wall, including height, width and depth.
When designing your retaining wall, it’s important to note that size will directly influence its cost. The bigger your retaining wall is, the more it will cost to build. So, if you’re on a budget and not looking to spend a ton of money, stick with a small retaining wall.
Keep in mind that constructing a retaining wall is somewhat technical. You must prepare the soil by ensuring it’s level and compact, and then place the supporting structures to hold the blocks, bricks or other retaining material in place. If this sounds too difficult, though, you can always hire a professional constructor to build it for you.
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