How NOT to Build a Retaining Wall

1. Using the Wrong Material

There are more than enough materials to choose from for your retaining wall project. And because there’s so many to choose from, you could be using the wrong material. 

How do you know what kind of material would be best for your wall? 

An important tip is to check your area’s general climate — do you live in a tropical or temperate country? If you live in a generally wet area, it’s better to use concrete than wood as termites might feast on it, or humid weather may reduce the wood’s strength. 


2. Starting on Bad Foundation

You want your retaining wall to last a longtime  and reduce the number of times you need to maintain it. If your foundation is shallow, especially if your wall is high, don’t expect it to be strong enough.

To ensure that your foundation is deep enough to support your retaining wall . For example, if you’re building a wall that’s around 600mm high, make a trench that’s 100mm deep and wide enough to use a plate compactor to start the wall’s foundation, roughly 400mm wide. Road base/Scalps can be used with Adbri interlocking blocks or build a concrete foundation.


3. Disregarding Inadequate Drainage

Water issues are one of the biggest problems when building/maintaining retaining walls. Ensure that your wall drains properly, else the water can weaken the structure as well as weaken the soil around your retaining wall.

You can install a layer of gravel and lay down an ag pipe to keep your retaining wall from absorbing too much water behind the wall.


4. Not focusing on the foundation

Everyone loves a beautifully designed backyard, and, of course, you’d want your retaining wall and other features to stand out. However, when you decide on which product to use, the correct preparation and foundation is of utmost importance, or your wall won’t stay up for long. Here are some precautions when choosing the right material for your retaining wall while still keeping it stunning.

  • High walls with a weak stone foundation will quickly fail due to gravity. Choose block or concrete materials sturdy enough to keep your wall standing tall. When using concrete or timber sleepers, using the galvanised posts are great for longevity rather than timber posts.
  •  Always check with council the height you can build a retaining wall. Councils differ from area to area, and you don’t want to build a great wall and then they tell you to pull it down.
  • If your wall needs to be higher than what your council allows without building approval then an engineer will have to be engaged.
  • Certain types of wood may easily rot in damp environments, so it’s best to choose treated timber and other rot-resistant wood species that will not degrade easily. Timber can be oiled to help preserve it and make it look newer for longer.


5. Not Doing Regular Maintenance

A retaining wall isn’t one time project, but one that needs regular checking. See if there’s water pooling around the foundation and check if the walls are bulging or cracking as those are signs of decay. This is an important activity when the weather or seasons change.

Take care of your retaining wall by choosing the right materials. Need help selecting the best ones that are both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing? Visit our website to learn more about building retaining walls.

By | March 23rd, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments