Building a Retaining Wall for Your Backyard

If your backyard requires a retaining wall, then you want to make sure that it is solid and can handle the wear and tear of being out in the elements for years. It needs to have a solid base that will not crumple under heavy weight, but also has room for drainage so it does not give way when the fertilized soil for plants gets very moist. It is also important to build a wall in a way that it does not become an eyesore for your yard, but rather a feature that is both practical and visually appealing.

Adding Support to Soil

In short, a retaining wall is built to wedge soil in place, either to build a raised garden or to rescue a declining slope. Given the nature of this project, you must remember that gravity will be working against you so you will need to make sure you divert pressure appropriately to prevent your wall from tumbling under the weight. This means you will need to build your retaining wall out of very heavy materials such as boulders or poured concrete to help it stay in place.

When you have selected the appropriate material for your project it is time to start building. Bury the bottom layer of your retaining wall at least one tenth of the height of the course to prevent soil from sneaking out below the wall and knocking it loose. When you start adding new layers make sure you set them back on an angle so that they push into the bottom layer, helping to hold each additional layer in place. Allow the layers to rest against the soil they will be holding in place so all the materials are working together rather than pushing against each other.

One of the main issues you will need to avoid when assembling your retaining wall is the base bowing or sliding. If you are worried about this happening use compacted material for your base that will hold firm and offers plenty of surface area for the rest of the wall to sink into. However, no matter how much room your base offers, do not try to build your wall in a straight vertical line. If you do this the soil behind the wall will be pushing on the stones constantly and as soon as they start to bow forward you run the risk of your wall toppling.

Once you have the wall erected you will need to make sure you have adequate drainage to avoid excess water weakening the structure. Keep the soil behind your wall even with the top block so excess water does not pool but rather runs down over the top of the wall. If you are constantly having trouble with moist soil install a drain tile in the bottom of your wall to allow extra water to drain out so you do not have to worry about your garden becoming waterlogged.

Building a retaining wall in your backyard can be quite the focal point. There are many attractive stones or decorative bricks you can choose from. You can either use these as the foundation of your structure or build a base layer that will hold up the weight of your soil and add decorative accents in front of it to make the space more appealing. As long as you have a solid foundation that has plenty of room to settle and a means to drain then you are sure to have a retaining wall that will last for years in your backyard.

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