By definition, a retaining wall is a structure that is used for supporting the soil mass laterally, so that the soil on different sides of the wall is retained at different levels. Retaining walls are, thus, used to bound two soils between two different terrain elevations in situations where possessing slopes would be undesirable. Such situations include building a basement, but the more common instances when we use retaining walls are gardening and landscaping.
With it now being June, gardening season is in full swing. Below are the most common retaining wall materials and their pros and cons to consider for your next project.
- Durability – A concrete wall can often last up to a whole century.
- Variety – Concrete blocks come in different shapes and sizes and can be used to create curves.
- Ease of installation – Concrete block walls are usually much easier to install than some other, more labor-demanding block types.
- Low maintenance – You can clean the blocks only once per year.
- Eco-friendly – Concrete walls are non-toxic and they do not emit allergens or dangerous chemicals.
- Architectural demands – Concrete walls have to be carefully designed, so you should ask for a professional advice about the issues of drainage and effective support. Also, the lack of proper support may affect durability.
- Lack of height – Concrete block walls can be used only for walls that are no taller than four feet.
- Complicated to remove – If you ever decide to change the placement of the wall, you will have to undergo a lot of trouble to dismount it.
- Affordability – Cheaper timber pieces are much more affordable than some other materials used for building block walls.
- Durable – Thick timber pieces are much heavier and more durable than wooden planks.
- Good-looking – Any kind of wood ought to bring a lot of old-school charm into your backyard and make a very strong impression on the observer.
- Easy to install – Timber retaining walls have a lot of structural integrity, even if you simply stack the pillars on top of each other and a nail them together.
- Wood rots – Although timber walls are said to last at least 15-20 years, many of them are not that lucky.
- Lack of flexibility – Timber pillars are very large and bulky. Making any kind of advanced design with such building blocks is not that easy. Of course, you can always cut timber into smaller pieces or combine the materials.
- Susceptible to termites – Again, much like any other piece of wood, timber is vulnerable to these pests as well.
- Natural look – Boulders are a great match for any kind of rustic home or landscaping design.
- Ease of use – Boulder walls are extremely convenient to build. Some of the projects can be easily accomplished simply by stacking the boulders on top of each other. Building the wall doesn’t involve expensive equipment depending on the size of the boulders.
- Availability – Boulders of all colors and sizes are extremely easy to obtain and at a very affordable price.
- Durability – As we already mentioned, boulder constructions are in use since the beginning of humanity. Some of them are still alive and well. That should serve as an enough of a testament to boulders’ durability.
- Size – Boulders tend to be quite large. So, if you own a smaller yard, you should probably skip them – they will eat you a lot of space.
- The lack of flexibility – Boulders are what they are – there is very few interventions you can make on them. Therefore, they can be used for the most basic tasks (elevating a section of soil), but not so much for some of the more complex projects (controlling the water flow).
- Transportation – If the blocks are not locally available, transportation can burn you a lot of money.
- Height – Boulder walls can’t be built as high as concrete walls.