Retaining walls control erosion, create terracing, sculpt the landscape and provide ‘hardscapes’ with year-round appeal – all at the same time!
Sure, retaining walls look like simple stacked stone, block, timber, brick or concrete. Yet in reality good retaining walls are carefully engineered systems that wage an ongoing battle with gravity. They restrain tons of saturated soil that would otherwise slump and slide away from a foundation or damage the surrounding landscape. Flat-topped walls also make inviting spots to sit, create more planting possibilities and increase usable yard space by terracing sloped properties.
Along with sloped landscapes where water runoff causes hillside erosion, ideal locations for a retaining wall include spots downhill from soil fault lines and where the downhill side of a foundation is losing supporting soil or its uphill side is under pressure from sliding soil.
Although retaining walls are simple structures, a casual check around your neighborhood will reveal lots of existing walls that are bulging, cracked or leaning. That’s because most residential retaining walls have poor drainage, and many aren’t built to handle the hillside they’re supposed to hold back.
Such walls have to contain enormous loads; for example, a wall 4 feet high and 15 feet long could be holding back as much as 20 tons of saturated soil. Double the wall height to 8 feet and you’ll need a wall that’s eight times stronger to do the same job. Any wall that will be holding back a significant load is best left to a professional and any wall higher than 4 feet requires an engineer’s approval.
Frontier’ Landscaping’s installation team enjoys creating attractive walls using materials that suit a homeowner’s tastes and making them valuable landscape features. However, their No. 1 goal is to build you a solid retaining wall that performs its job excellently and that will go the distance. We can help in all aspects of your wall-building project including design, grading, excavation, drainage and wall construction.
Frontier Landscaping installs retaining walls, water features, patios and other landscape features throughout Clark County, Wash., Vancouver and the Portland Metro area.