Building a retaining wall seems to be a straightforward project. However, there are many variables: the type of building block, the height of the wall, the type of gravel, the dirt, the depth of the trench, or labour involved. It’s hard to write a guide that will accommodate everyone’s taste, but this article describes good gardening practices and the most common mistakes in building retaining walls.
Do Plan Your Desired Landscape
A retaining wall certainly is an upgrade to your landscape, but to use its full decorative potential it requires some planning. Spend some time brainstorming different ideas and write down your conclusions. These questions will help you search for inspiration: What type of blocks is the best for you? What is your desired height? Have you considered substituting one tall wall with two or three short ones? Do you plan a wall that ends sharply or gradually blends in the landscape?
Don’t Forget to Lay Solid Foundations
Building a retaining wall is labour intensive. Therefore, you definitely don’t want your wall to shift or settle within a year or two. How deep should you dig your trench to prevent it? Consult the gardening professionals in your region: retaining wall in Saskatoon. If that’s not possible, you can follow this general rule: Dig a trench that is an eighth of the wall plus 8 centimetres. If you’re planning a wall of about 100 centimetres, plan a 21 centimetres trench (13 – an eighth of the wall plus 8 centimetres for gravel).
Do Consult the Local Authorities and Experts
Some community guidelines or regulations require homeowners to consult whether they can build a retaining wall. It may change the water flow and cause a drainage problem that may affect your neighbours. Be prepared to undergo a property inspection and present the plans of your retaining wall.
Don’t Forget About the Drainage
The accumulated water on the backside of the wall may create excessive pressure and cause the wall to collapse. In particular, clay-type soil absorbs large amounts of water, which significantly increase the pressure on the wall. Install a perforated drainpipe (or drain tile) at the base of your wall. The pipe should end at both ends of the wall, making space for water, but you can cover it with crushed stones, so it won’t affect the look of your garden.
Do Level the Surface Before Laying the Blocks
The first row of blocks will determine whether your wall will be a decoration to your garden. Don’t hope that the foundation doesn’t have to be perfect, and it will straighten out later. If the first row is not even, the differences will only become larger with the next rows. Spend sufficient time on this stage, otherwise, your wall will look lopsided and amateurish.
Developing good gardening practices brings a lot of satisfaction. There’s no better feeling than looking every day at the successfully finished project that cost us a lot of work. However, with a retaining wall, it’s good to check whether we have the time and the strength to carry it out independently. Our experience tells us that it’s worth hiring a company or a friend.