Retaining walls will add to your home's beauty and make those difficult areas more manageable. Retaining walls are used to give support to vertical sloping land. By installing retaining walls, such sloping land can be leveled and hence be of greater use. Plants, trees, and gardens can be incorporated to once useless land. Any hillside or even flat land can benefit from retaining walls. Erosion and drainage is the most common usage for walls but they can be added to create useful flat areas for lawns, playgrounds, patios, and decks. There are many different materials used in wall construction. Some of the most common types are block walls, timber walls, boulder walls, natural stone walls, concrete and brick walls. If you are looking to make a retaining wall a part of your landscape, you will need to choose the type of materials that are appealing to you and your existing landscape, along with your budget.
Block walls - Block walls are durable, long-lasting and can have very unique looks with different shapes, sizes, and colors. Block walls can have many uses such as retaining hillsides, raised planting beds, borders, and stairways.
Timber walls - Timber walls are economical but expect 10-15 years before they will need a face lift. Also, more towns and municipalities will not allow timber walls for new construction permits, so check with your local building department. The size most common are 6" x 6" x 8' with larger lengths, sizes, and colors available. Timbers are usually pressure-treated to increase the longevity of the wood in contact with the ground over time.
Boulder walls - Boulder walls are very unique when it comes to color, shape, and size. Boulder sizes ranging from 12" to 60" or more can be rounded, flat and multisided. Retaining walls, raised beds, borders, and shoreline rip-rap are the most common uses for boulders.
Natural stone walls - Natural stone walls are similar to boulder walls except flat or split rocks are used. Stone walls are long-lasting and can be constructed straight, curved, or just about any shape desired. There is also a large variety of colors, shapes, and textures.
Concrete and brick walls - Concrete and brick walls are similar to block walls with a few important differences. Most poured concrete walls require footings and in this region a depth of 3 ft. minimum is required. Block walls do not need this type of footing. Poured concrete walls are also rigid structures that may require steel reinforcement. Poured concrete when "faced" with brick can offer many design possibilities