A retaining wall is a classic piece of any California home. Retaining walls, as the name suggests, hold or retain soil behind them. They are used for supporting soil laterally so that it can be retained at different levels on the two sides of the constructed wall. There are many types of materials that can be used to create retaining walls like concrete (pre-cut blocks or poured), treated wood, rocks or even boulders. Some are easy to use, others have a shorter life span, but all can retain soil.
First you’ll need to consider a few questions in order to build the best type of retaining wall. For example, is the soil sand, clay, or something else? Is anything above the wall like a driveway or pool? Will the ground above or below the wall be level or sloped? How high will the wall need to be? All of these factors will determine what type of wall you need.
Gravity retaining walls are walls that depend on their own weight and setback to retain the soil and are typically shorter in height. Reinforced retaining walls are walls that use some type of reinforcement to give the required strength to the retaining wall structure. In layman’s terms, the reinforced wall and soil work together to make one large, heavy retaining wall structure.
One of the most important considerations in proper design and installation of retaining walls is to recognize and counteract the tendency of the retained material to move downslope due to gravity. You must also consider whether any groundwater behind the wall that is not removed by a drainage system will place pressure on the wall. But not worry: our design team will consider drainage regulations and your design goals when crafting your retaining wall.
A retaining wall can also play host to several lighting options that will accent your project while providing ambiance and safety. Solar-powered or wired lighting systems are a great addition to any retaining wall project. The proper lighting systems along a retaining wall can enhance a backyard patio, your private pool oasis, or the driveway that leads guests to your perfectly landscaped home.
Your new retaining wall can also help you meet any xeriscaping goals by adding space that requires little to no water or maintenance. Your retaining wall might be the perfect place to add complementary plants, stones, and other features to deliver a space you are both proud to show off and spend little, if any, time maintaining. If you have xeriscaping in mind, it’s best to consider those needs when choosing material so that your xeriscape and retaining wall choices are complementary.
Your retaining wall is, however, just one facet of good landscaping design. It would be a shame to invest in a new retaining wall and not design the perfect yard around it. Our landscape design team brings all of these factors together to create the ideal retaining wall and landscape for your home, style, and budget. Contact us to get started with an on-site review of your options and we’ll begin laying the groundwork for your specific project goals!