How to Plan Retaining Wall Construction
Retaining walls are a great way to control erosion and provide a level of definition to landscape areas. They also add a touch of style to any property, and they can help you make the most of your land. However, the construction of a retaining wall is a labor intensive process, so it is important to plan your project carefully.
There are a variety of materials that you can use to construct a retaining wall, including bricks, stone, and concrete blocks. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you should weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
Choosing the right material to build your retaining wall is a matter of personal taste. Whether you want to create a classic rustic setting or a contemporary contemporary space, you can find the perfect masonry wall for your home.
The most important step in constructing a retaining wall is to have the proper footings. Depending on the soil and frost levels, you’ll need to dig a trench about two feet deep and a little less. For clay or silty soils, you will need to install a drainage pipe.
You will also need to decide what type of blocks to use, and how to lay them out. Concrete blocks are easier to install than other block types. Depending on your requirements, you can choose from interlocking or rectangular wall blocks. Generally, you should consider purchasing 10 percent more material than you need.
Another popular choice is cast-in-situ concrete. This construction method is ideal for creating a strong, smooth surface that looks like it was cut and poured on site. In addition, this form of masonry will last for up to a century.
One other choice is anchored retaining walls. These include cables, anchors, and steel reinforcements that are fastened to the face of the slope to be supported. Aside from being a solid, structurally sound option, anchored retaining walls can be constructed in just about any design you can think of.
Once you have chosen your wall material and your footings, it’s time to start the actual retaining wall construction. Begin by measuring the area you will be working in and marking it with stakes or string. Be sure to measure both the length and the width of the space. After you’ve made a good measurement, you’ll need to decide where you’ll place the first course of blocks.
When laying out the blocks, you’ll need to stagger the seams a bit. To do this, you can either tie a piece of string to each of the stakes or use a mason’s line. Also, make sure to keep the wall’s height to a minimum.
It’s also wise to install a drain pipe to prevent any water from leaking behind your new retaining wall. Ideally, the drain will be placed on the front of your base course, but you can also choose to locate it anywhere you see fit. If you have a large area, you may need to construct a larger retaining wall in order to get the desired effect.