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Designing a Retaining Wall for Strength and Style

Designing a Retaining Wall for Strength and Style

The number one role of a retaining wall is to prevent soil on a sloped property from moving out of place and causing a host of issues, including:

  • A weakened building foundation due to soil erosion
  • Ruined landscaping due to mudslides and soil movement
  • Improper water drainage resulting in moisture damage to property

So, it only stands to reason that before you do anything else on your Tulsa area property, you should analyze your needs and be sure you get a retaining wall design that protects your land and property over the long term.

Plan Retaining Wall Design Carefully for Maximum Performance

When it comes to designing a retaining wall that fits the needs of a particular property, many homeowners and small business owners wonder where to begin. After all, a retaining wall has a lot of duties to fulfill:

  • A retaining wall must adequately hold soil in place, preventing it from pulling away from your foundation.
  • It prevents soil on sloped land from sliding downhill and damaging landscaping and other property features.
  • It helps maximize the usability of space on a lot with a hilly landscape.
  • And it can serve to beautify your property too, if built with aesthetics as well as function in mind.

The truth is — retaining walls can be stylish and good-looking, while performing with strength and effectiveness too. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; you can have both. Here are some things to consider as you create a retaining wall design that protects your property, looks attractive, and adds to your lifestyle.

A Retaining Wall Must Be Strong Enough for the Job

Have you ever walked your neighborhood and noticed walls that are buckling, bulging, cracked, or leaning off-kilter? This is likely the result of faulty retaining wall design and a lack of proper drainage, which have weakened those walls and lessened their ability to perform their role of protecting your property.

Proper, long-lasting retaining wall design requires careful planning and understanding of the wall’s functions. It has to be strong enough to do its job. Keep these facts in mind:

  • Soil and moisture combine to generate a lot of pressure. Even a small retaining wall must withstand a lot. After all, wet soil can be weighty. And as moisture builds up behind the wall, a weak retaining wall or one that doesn’t drain away the moisture well can buckle and even break.
  • Be aware of factors that can make installing a retaining wall more complex. Several elements of your land and property can make it more complicated to construct a strong retaining wall, such as:
    • Type of soil — Tulsa’s clay soil, which expands and contracts significantly due to moisture and drying cycles, can require more care to ensure the retaining wall works well.
    • Ponds and water features — Properties that contain a pond, stream, or other source of natural water require more careful retaining wall design planning.
    • Deeply sloped properties — If the property is on a large hill or has a lot of slopes in it, a more complex retaining wall design created by an engineer may be required.
  • Adequate drainage is essential.
    A retaining wall can only keep soil in place to the extent that it is properly draining away the moisture that threatens to make soil collapse. If you are building your retaining wall yourself, be sure to install a properly designed drainage system.
  • It’s wise to consult with experts.
    Small, simple walls under four feet tall can often be designed and built by an architect and contractor. But taller walls, as well as any retaining walls that are complicated in size and style, should be designed by an engineer to ensure they stand up to any pressure caused by saturated soil over time. In any case, hiring a retaining wall expert can help you avoid DIY mishaps that will eventually cause damage to your property.

Choosing a Material for Your Retaining Wall Design

There are four common materials that can be used to construct an attractive, functional retaining wall design, depending on your needs:

  • Wood — An affordable option for small, DIY retaining walls, timber looks attractive but is subject to moisture damage and doesn’t last as long as masonry.
  • Interlocking blocks — Various manufacturers offer interlocking modular systems that are simple to build, but aren’t always tops in strength. And once you choose a brand, you must stick with it. They can’t be mixed and matched.
  • Stacked stone or brick— Stone and brick are both classic choices that look appealing. But they require expert masonry skills for proper, lasting construction.
  • Concrete — When properly designed and built, concrete retaining walls are strong and effective for years. While plain concrete can be bland in appearance, today’s concrete retaining walls can be stamped, tinted, decorated or covered with veneers to produce many attractive looks.

Beauty Must Be Matched by Functionality

A good-looking retaining wall will enhance your property’s overall appeal. And there are many ways to add to your retaining wall’s attractiveness with clever masonry techniques, high-end veneers, decorative concrete designs, and more. You can also add beauty near the wall with flowers, bushes, lovely stone walkways, and other decorative features that draw the eye.

Enjoy the Protection of Your Retaining Wall

Ultimately, though, your retaining wall must be strong and effective at protecting your property from:

  • Soil erosion
  • Moisture damage
  • Landslides

It pays to invest in the right material and work with an experienced contractor for the best results. A concrete retaining wall built by an expert concrete company yields strong, enduring, attractive results for your home or business.

Concrete Retaining Walls that Protect Your Tulsa Property

When you’re ready to install a concrete retaining wall to protect your property, R&M Concrete is here to make the process easy and worry-free. We’ll answer your questions, form a plan that maximizes your property’s unique aspects, and gives you peace of mind that your property will retain its beauty and value.

See our concrete retaining wall services to learn about our trusted, time-tested approach, and contact us for a free consultation and estimate.