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Choosing the Right Design for Your Retaining Wall

Retaining wall

Exterior of homeWhen it comes to the design and build of a retaining wall for your property, there are numerous factors to consider before making the leap. Are you adding it for a functional purpose or just to make your property look more aesthetically pleasing? Once you decide the reason for a retaining wall, there is some homework you need to make sure you do before beginning the process. The four main factors that you should take into consideration are:

• Location

• Soil

• Drainage

• Design

Retaining wallIt is advisable to get an opinion from an expert before you jump into the planning of a retaining wall by yourself. Even if it is just to get a second opinion, it could be helpful to take into consideration what they have to suggest. it is important to take into consideration the location and the environmental factors that could have a tremendous impact on the functionality of your wall. The layout of your wall will be vital in the prevention of it becoming a hazard or even collapsing. When done right, retaining walls can add elegance to your property as well as great functionality.


This is the most important factor to consider when planning for your retaining wall. You should have a detailed understanding of your property lines, permit requirements, and above and underground utility lines. You also have to consider if your wall is going to be built on a slope. Where you will store excess soil or additional infill is another question that you should plan to have solutions for. Many yards also have natural drainage patterns so it is helpful to know them and if your retaining wall will be impeding on it. It is also important to note if there will be additional weight or vertical forces above the wall, including factors like guardrails, fences, driveways, or swimming pools.


Many people might make the assumption that the soil in their yard can hold whatever is built on it, but that isn’t always the case. The soil that creates the foundation needs to be examined in order to determine if it can support the retaining wall. An expert should evaluate the type of soil, bearing capacity, stress parameters and friction angle of the soil used for the foundation. It is vital that the base soil is firm, soil and strong. It also shouldn’t be naturally moist, as wet soil is not recommended for infilling. 


Water is one of the most common reason why many retaining walls end up failing, therefore it is essential to make sure your wall has proper drainage and there will be no build up. Drainage in front, behind and around the wall has to be considered. A drainage system might have to be put into place in order to help water pass through and not build up. this type of drainage system could be something like backfilling with gravel, using drain pipes or using weep holes that will allow for water to pass through the wall.


After thorough research is done, choosing which kind of material you want for your wall can be the more fun part. Although not all materials might work for your situation, there are many types of materials to choose from when it comes to building your retaining wall.

Construction in front of houseChoosing the type of wall that is best suited for your landscape, whether it is a dry laid or mortared wall, is the first step in design. Then, you will need to choose the stone you want to use, as they vary greatly in type, size and shape. Sometimes the type of stone can also be dependent upon the availability of it in your area.


Sandstone and Limestone: ranges in color from white to shades of tan or gray. They can be cut in regular or irregular shapes. Granite: durable and solid stone that is typically quarried into large, rectangular shapes that are easy to use in a rock wall. They can come in a variety of colors.

Fieldstone: usually rounded and easier to get, therefore often times it is less expensive. This stone varies in sizes from boulders to small rocks the size of a hand. Concrete: Concrete stones are uniform in size, so they are easy to work with and affordable. Man-made concrete stones usually make attractive retaining walls. 

White fence bordering newly tarred groundA retaining wall can become a beautiful asset to the landscape of your home, but only if you do proper research and planning first. Our experienced contractors can provide you with vital support when it comes to the evaluation of your property and planning of your retaining wall design. Choosing the right type of stone is crucial for the beauty and functionality of your wall. We are here to help!


We know how overwhelming it can be to research and design the best design for your retaining wall, so let us give you a hand! Our team of experts can provide you with all the options that will work for your property so that you can choose the design that best suits you. Give us a call to schedule a consultation today!

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