We encounter retaining walls every day in our lives, but we often do not take notice of them. Especially here in Western North Carolina where many homes and other structures are built on the slopes of our mountains these types of walls are commonplace. These types of walls provide support for soil that would otherwise slide downhill and cause other problems. NC Grading & Excavating would like to take the time today to explain to you the different types of retaining walls that can be created.
Stonewalls & Boulder Retaining Walls
The most natural solution to creating a retaining wall is by using naturally sourced stone. For example, you can have large boulders brought in and arranged to build a wall. These types of walls fit in with the natural surroundings and are very attractive.
It is not uncommon to find this style of retaining wall in landscaping within a rock garden. However, their main drawback is that controlling the flow of water around them is nearly impossible. While planting shrubs and plants in their soil help, water does eventually erode the dirt.
That is why we suggest naturally sourced stones and boulders for gardens, small slopes, and for landscaping.
If you are looking for a more durable solution, then you may consider creating a stone veneer retaining wall.
The interior of these walls can be created from a variety of materials that are extremely strong such as poured concrete or even concrete block. However, the exterior of this type of wall is finished with stone on its exterior to give it a polished look.
That way, you can still have water controlled via professionally installed drains and have a wall that is striking in appearance. It is vital to have a design in place before creating these types of barriers to ensure you achieve the vision you have for them.
Poured Concrete & Concrete Block Retaining Walls
Poured concrete retaining walls are the most durable and long-lasting of barriers to hold back soil from erosion. What gives them such strength is that once cured, they become one solid slab against the movement of earth. Draining solutions will be built into the foundations to control the flow of water which can be directed to wherever you want it to go.
Another benefit of these walls is that they have a sleek solid appearance. This appearance gives them a modern look which is on-trend right now.
If you find you need a more cost-effective solution, then consider a concrete block retaining wall. While perhaps not as attractive, they are strong but don’t last as long as a poured concrete solution. However, concrete blocks can be used to create curves within a wall, and you can find them in a variety of textures.
Gabion Basket Wall
The gabion basket has been in use for centuries! Essentially what makes them up is a large rectangular wire or mesh basket filled with various material to hold back dirt. Often, they will be filled with stone or even recycled concrete. The fact that they can be filled with recycled materials makes this type of retaining wall a “green” option. However, these types of walls do require an adequate system for drainage.
Over time they become stronger as particles of soil, and other organic matter build up between the cracks of the original materials used and settle. Gabion baskets allow for some flexibility which makes them ideal for areas where there can be a massive flow of water such as along beaches and riverbanks.
Wood & Railroad Tie Retaining Walls
Finally, you can also create a retaining wall out of wood and railroad ties. However, keep in mind that using wood as your building material does not last as long as any of the above solutions it can work.
Locally sourced timber logs can add a rustic aesthetic to an area where you may want to plant shrubs or other vegetation for landscaping.
Another option is to use railroad ties as a solution because they already contain tar which is a natural barrier against water. Either of these types of retaining walls is perfect for landscaping which is their intended use. Nevertheless, keep in mind a draining solution for these walls as well.
Overall, retaining walls serve the purpose of preventing erosion and rerouting the flow of water from both residential and commercial structures. There are many options to building them and if you need any help in deciding which solution is right for you, contact NC Grading & Excavating! We can assist you in choosing what is best for your slope, and we offer free estimates; so don’t wait, call us today.