Constructed within residential yards with slopes, dips and inclines, retaining walls hold back earth that would otherwise collapse or erode. If properly built, retaining walls can keep soil steady, particularly in elevated yards.
Given such a magnitude of support, this wall may be an investment worth consideration. So, if you'd like to set up a retaining wall, here are the four most critical parts of the structure that you first need to know.
1. The Slope
Even with the most basic construction skills, you can build a steep sloping wall that slants towards the earth you'd like to contain. Since the structure acts as a step-back wall, it can easily resist the soil's pressure and therefore control erosion.
In some cases, the slopes may need additional structures, such as vertical walls three feet higher than the slopes, to provide additional pressure against the soil. The vertical walls don't need to slope towards the soil. In some cases, you may have to construct tiebacks, buried footings and cantilevers to provide additional reinforcement to the slope.
You may opt for the support of a gravity wall, which is heavy enough to provide enough pressure to keep the soil from eroding. However, this option quires many pieces of stone and a lot of concrete to build.
2. The Foundation
To build a retaining wall foundation, you have to dig up a trench and fill it with gravel, and then layer it with three to five courses of construction blocks.
To be clear, large retaining walls must have a buried foundation, which you can build by pouring concrete further below the ground that freezes in winter. Burying the foundation to such a level prevents it from shifting under pressure from the soil.
Local construction bodies and authorities can provide details on the frost levels in your region since there's a variation from place to place
3. The Backfill
The dirt used to fill the space behind the constructed wall exerts an unnecessary force against the wall when the soil becomes saturated. So instead of using dirt, you should use gravel or sand to fill this space because these materials neither swell nor retain water.
4. The Drainage
For a sturdy and reliable retaining wall, you'll need to include a draining mechanism to allow water to pass through the backfill made of solid concrete. Otherwise, water will accumulate behind the wall and cause a crack.
You can build retaining walls in any backyard to keep soil on steep slopes from filling the yard. Not to mention prevent water from building up behind the walls, which would otherwise lead to draining problems.