“It’s time to start defying gravity”, one song goes.
This may be something you can do to your house on the hill, with the help of your Utah landscaping company. But rather than floating, you can also try defying gravity by preventing things from breaking apart, especially with slopes and uneven areas. These can pose a serious problem if you want to create beautiful landscapes. This is where Utah retaining walls can come in.
Retaining walls hold up an area of your landscape that would fall victim to erosion or prevent certain plants from flourishing. Retaining walls can also add points of interest to your landscape by defining multiple levels or terraces in a flat area. These can also provide much needed support to level areas – such as your driveway or patio.
If you are thinking about hiring a professional Salt Lake City landscaping company, it will also be helpful that you understand the concept behind the construction of retaining walls:
– Drainage. Water flows downwards in slopes and it will always find a way to do this. You need to understand how to direct the flow of the water. Heavy rains can collect behind the retaining walls (since the walls prevent the water from passing through) and compromise their stability. This may cause the walls to have cracks and bulges, as may come tumbling down. There should be a means for the water to flow efficiently through drainage systems. This can be done by filling the area behind the walls with gravel. Next, drainage pipes and perforations (weep holes) on the retaining walls may be installed. There should also be a way to prevent the water from staying at the base of the retaining wall.
– Earth pressure. Depending on the type of soil, the amount of moisture it holds and the slope of the soil, the earth will provide pressure on the retaining wall. The landscaper’s job is to ensure that the wall is designed so as to withstand (and even harness) the earth pressure. This can be done by providing enough weight to the wall (if the wall is short in height) or reinforcing the wall with steel bars or by sheet piling.
– Approval and licensing. In some areas, the law requires you to get a permit or show a structural plan approved by a licensed engineer before you can build retaining walls higher than four feet. Another consideration would be your homeowner’s association and any restrictions it may place on houses in the area.
– Kinds of materials available. There are a number retaining wall materials you can use for your retaining walls:
- Wood. Wood can be used for low retaining walls. Since this is lighter than concrete, it usually needs a concrete footer to keep the wood in place. The wood should also be treated so that it can resist rotting and termite infestation.
- Railroad crossties. These make use of old railroad ties, which you can stack like wood. These are already treated against rot and are generally cheaper to build compared to blocks or bricks. You will need to reinforce the bottom and sides of the wall so that the ties don’t slide or fall over.
- Landscaping rocks in Utah. The natural beauty of the rocks and boulders is a big plus. There are a number of stones, rocks and boulders you can choose from – these can be man-made or natural. You can pile these rocks one on top of each other so long as the base and inner sides are properly supported. The great thing about this is that each rock is unique and the resulting retaining wall is one-of-a-kind. Boulders can also be used to make natural pathways and to add texture to the landscape.
- Concrete. Concrete need not be plain – with today’s innovations, you can actually create a concrete wall that has a natural or modern feel, depending on your preference. It is important that there is adequate support and the concrete is properly cured and sealed.