Whenever you start the process of building a retaining wall, one of the big decisions that you face is how to choose the type of retaining wall material that is right for your project. Because of the variety of different materials available, you will need to take into consideration your total budget, the purpose of the wall and the overall look when deciding on which type of wall is best for you. In addition to considering these factors, having at least a basic understanding of how a retaining wall is constructed will help you make your final decision. This is important, regardless of whether you choose concrete blocks, wood timbers or natural stone.
Here are the pros and cons of some of the most common retaining wall materials that many homeowners use:
Concrete blocks are very popular when it comes to building retaining walls. Concrete gives you a very diverse range of styles, shapes and comes in a uniform package that is relatively easy to install. One top reasons that this type of material is chosen is because it is relatively inexpensive and can be used to create curved walls. If you are looking to build a wall higher than 4 feet tall, however, you will need to consider a different type of material. Because concrete blocks lack footings, they do not have the strength to build a safe and secure wall that is any taller than that. In regards to drainage, concrete walls create an ideal drainage environment, as you can modify them in any way necessary.
Natural stone is by far the most natural choice for creating a retaining wall of any type. This type of wall creates a very rustic, colonial or country feel for your yard and garden. Though it is typically more expensive than a wall made up of concrete blocks, natural stone walls make up for this fact with their natural beauty. Some of the major issues that homeowners experience with a natural stone wall is drainage. Drainage must be very carefully managed or you run the risk of water accumulation wearing at the integrity of the wall.
A retaining wall made of wood timbers is desired for many of the same reasons as natural stone, Under the right settings, timber walls can blend perfectly into your landscape, giving your wall a less jarring look than some other materials. In addition to this natural look, timber walls have a fairly low cost and are very easy to construct. When installing a timber retaining wall, the main concern is water. Because it is made of wood, water should be drained very well to ensure that it does not accumulate. Furthermore, the timbers should be properly sealed to help prevent rot and damage. With the proper care and professional installation, a wood timber retaining wall can look great for many years to come.
Whether you choose one of the popular materials above, or decide to go with other options such as stone veneer, it is important to focus on drainage and the overall function of the wall itself. Combine this with a great look, and you can use retaining walls for a number of purposes around your landscaping to help enhance your home’s beauty and improve its function.