11 Things To Think About Before Building A Retaining Wall
The slope of your land is steep. Looks like a retaining wall will be the only way to go. But before you dive in, while building a retaining wall sounds straightforward it isn’t.
Sure, get a bobcat or excavator, create the two levels required where the levels meet, buy some stuff to build a retaining wall and Bob’s your uncle.
How hard can it be?
Like any building project, preparation is king and retaining walls are no different. In fact retaining wall construction is full of costly mistakes for the DIY and inexperienced.
Some of the things you need to consider before even starting your retaining wall are:
• What type of material will your retaining wall be? Sandstone, timber, blocks and so on
• What is the soil like? Is it clay, soil, rock?
• Are there any pipes, drainage or building regulations to consider before build a retaining wall?
Below are 11 things to consider and check before building a retaining wall.
#1. Depending on the lay of the land, do you need a high retaining wall or can you get away with building a terrace of say three lower walls? You could save thousands if you can get away with it.
#2. What is the retaining wall for? Structural or just for looks Garden bed or driveway cut out? Many different options with very different building techniques and strength will play a part here
#3. If your wall is for a garden bed and less than a metre in height and you are fit and able, enjoy Meccano sets or building that flat pack Christmas gift, then yes you could maybe build your retaining wall yourself
#4. Do you need a Gravity Wall or a Reinforced Wall? What’s the difference? Gravity walls rely on their own weight and setback to hold up the soil behind them. Reinforced walls use layers of geogrid to combine the soil and block together to form a reinforced soil mass.
#5. Are you aware of the conditions above and below a retaining wall? Once you know this your decision on gravity or reinforcing has been made for you.
#6. Will there be a slope above your retaining wall? If so you will likely need reinforcing, a slope puts a lot of extra pressure on any wall.
#8. Once you have decided to build your wall, what material are you going to use? Do you want it to look attractive and add value to your home?
This can come down to budget. Blocks, rocks, stones or sleepers Yes, you can use bottles for a special effect with the correct preparation.
#9. Do you have easy access to the site? There is a lot of heavy lifting, digging and filling to be done. Can a bobcat get in there? Will you need to replace the soil behind the wall and if so can you spread it on your property or need dumping at an appropriate waste site?
#10. Is the area prone to heavy rain? Where and how do you disperse the water? You may also need to allow drainage within your retaining wall depending on which application you are using.
Type of materials for the construction of the wall, solid blocks versus rocks will have different drainage requirements as well.
#11. A retaining wall is like any building project. Spend time on preparation including testing the soil. Price your blocks or rocks and any other necessary materials.
Allow for obstacles like a big rock under the surface where you are going to dig. Is there any power, gas, telephone or water mains nearby?
As they say in the building game cut once measure twice.
Building a retaining wall for a garden bed or a driveway, both require a level of skill. After all, you do not want it to come crashing down and hurting someone, yourself or waste your money.
If you’d like a point in the right direction or other tips about building a retaining wall using a bobcat or excavator give us a call at AB Earthworks on 0405 538 678 before you start or email me here.
0405 538 678