Building a retaining wall with stone or rock in your yard is a project that you can complete with the proper preparation. Knowing the right information about how to build a strong retaining wall can save you time and money. Here are three tips to help you do the necessary planning, marking, and digging so you can begin work on your new stone or rock retaining wall.
Select the Wall Material
Before you begin building your retaining wall, you have several different types of materials you can choose from, such as stone, concrete blocks, or brick. If you are using stacking materials to build your wall, it is beneficial to install the wall without mortar. Building a retaining wall without mortar will create a natural drainage system behind your retaining wall and within the soil, so you can skip installing a drainage system. Because the stones are loosely stacked on top of one another, they allow moisture and water runoff to drain between the wall materials.
Plan the Wall Height
Be sure you don't build your retaining wall higher than three feet when you are not using mortar to hold the materials together. Walls built without mortar that are taller than three to four feet will usually require a building permit and extra structural support to keep the wall from collapsing or buckling.
If you need to build a retaining wall taller than three feet and don't want to use mortar, you can still accomplish this. Terrace your landscaping and build several shorter retaining walls to hold back the soil. For example, if your landscaping is five feet tall, you can terrace the soil and build two retaining walls two and three feet tall up the slope in your yard.
Mark and Dig the Wall Foundation Trench
Once you have chosen the type of material you want to use to build your retaining wall, you will need to mark out its foundation. For a straight-edged retaining wall, use stakes and twine to mark the outline, then sprinkle flour over the twine. For a curved outline, set your garden hose over the ground, then sprinkle flour over the garden hose. Remove the twine and stakes or the garden hose and you have an outline for where you need to dig your trench. Any remaining flour will rinse away with water when you have finished digging the trench.
Remember it is recommended to dig a foundation base that is at least half the height of your wall. For example, for a wall height of three feet, your foundation should be at least eighteen inches wide to provide the appropriate support. Dig the foundation trench to be at least eight to ten inches deep. Also, tamp down the soil in the bottom of the trench with a tamp to compact it and create a solid, smooth surface where you will install your foundation stones or rocks.
For more information about building a retaining wall or if you'd like to leave it to the professionals, contact a service like Quality Lawn & Landscape.
As a child and teenager, I watched my mother garden, although I wasn't interested in it at the time. I later learned that I had missed out on learning the craft because before I planted my first garden, I thought it would be so easy! Once I finally had a yard of my own, I was eager to plant some beautiful flowers in the yard and do other landscaping work. Unfortunately, I learned a hard lesson and none of things I planted survived more than a few weeks, even though I watered them daily. I gave my mother a call and asked her what could have gone wrong, and I learned that plants have to be chosen carefully. Check out this blog to learn more landscaping plant tips.