Is your home built on hilly terrain? Soil erosion and surface runoff are some of the problems you will need to handle. And one of the most effective solutions to such issues is the construction of retaining walls. Besides controlling soil erosion and surface runoff, retaining walls have aesthetic functions. You can transform the retaining wall into an incredible landscaping feature in your home. Therefore, with the benefits that come with building a retaining wall, it would be best to ensure that it's designed the correct way. To do this, here is everything you need to know about building a retaining wall.
Building Codes and Regulations
Before you start to dig or build a retaining wall on your property, check with your local council and acquire the necessary permits (if any). You may need to submit your plans to aid in the location and management of underground utilities such as electricity and gas pipes. It's imperative that your digging doesn't interfere with the utilities for safety reasons. A failure to get the necessary permits will often result in fines and penalties.
Generally, your retaining wall should be built in the areas around your property that are affected the most by soil erosion and surface runoff. However, it's also crucial to consider things such as property lines. If you plan to build a retaining wall adjacent to your property lines, it would be best to consider hiring a land surveyor to rule out any issues about the boundaries of your lot.
Concrete, rocks, stone, and even treated timber are some of the standard retaining wall materials. The material you choose will determine the amount of money you will spend and the structural integrity of the wall. Therefore, choosing the right material is always important. While timber is usually cheaper and tends to blend well with the environment, it's not as sturdy as concrete, brick, or stone. This means that while your upfront costs would be relatively low with timber, the longevity of your wall could be compromised. Eventually, you may find yourself in need of repairs or even replacement.
Proper drainage is imperative in the construction of a functional retaining wall. Poor drainage causes water to saturate the soil, which in turn results in the soil swelling and exerting pressure on your wall. The soil on your property plays a significant role when it comes to drainage. Soils such as sand usually allow proper water drainage and are ideal for the construction of retaining walls. However, if your property has soils such as clay, which is compact and has poor drainage, you may have to think about soil fill (preferably sand soil). It would also be beneficial to add extra drainage by installing drainpipes.