Different Types of Retaining Walls

Retaining Walls Add Beauty and Versatility to Properties with Sloping Contours

Retaining WallsWhen the topic of conversation turns to garden landscaping, it would not be surprising if initial thoughts focused on such activities as planting, pruning, weeding, and fertilizing.  For the most part, these are the requirements that receive the majority of the gardening time and attention from property owners in Toronto.

In some cases, this may be the extent to which some gardeners feel comfortable when working in their yard or garden.  However, there are many instances when people might feel that landscaping options are restricted because of hills or slopes on their property.  While there are many individual lots and sub-divisions without level grading in Toronto, any perceived landscaping limitations can be overcome by the construction of retaining walls.

For the record, in the context of residential landscaping, retaining walls are structures that are intended and designed to hold back soil/earth.  These walls may be constructed from a number of different materials, primarily the following:

  • Brick
  • Natural stone
  • Treated wood
  • Concrete block
  • Poured concrete

There are several different types of retaining walls used in garden landscaping.  The most common structures include:

  • Gravity wall
    • Relies on its own weight to hold back the soil behind it
    • Thickness of the base should be at least twice that of the top
    • Is therefore best suited for wall heights not exceeding four feet
  • Cantilevered
  • A single-layered wall of uniform thickness from top to bottom
  • Can support higher slopes – base must be connected to a concrete slab
  • The wall as well as its base require the use of steel rods for reinforcement
  • Sheet pile
  • Common reserved for softer soils and tight spaces
  • Constructed from planks (steel, wood, or vinyl) driven 2/3 into the ground
  • Taller walls may require anchors/tie-backs placed in the soil behind the wall
  • Anchored
  • Useful when heavy pressure is anticipated or the wall needs to be thin/slender
  • The addition of cabling/bracing makes the wall stronger despite its thin depth
  • Cables are attached to the top of the wall and braced in the ground at its base
  • Counterfort
  • Similar to cantilevered walls, with thin vertical buttresses added on the inside
  • These buttresses (counterforts) are installed at regular intervals along the wall

In addition to the practical aspect of retaining walls in holding back soil/earth, there are other advantages to incorporating these structures within the garden landscaping of Toronto properties with sloping or uneven contours.  These pluses consist of:

  • Overall aesthetic appeal
  • Enhancing property values
  • Use of eco-friendly materials
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Longevity (return on investment)
  • Durability (withstand weather extremes)
  • Greater use and versatility of available space
  • Wide functionality (flower beds, entrances, tiered gardens)

One important point to note about retaining walls relates to their physical installation.  Due to their complexity of construction, along with the importance of their fundamental purpose and the potential height of some walls, installation of all but a basic gravity wall should be contracted to a professional garden landscaping company such as Landcare in Toronto.

Landcare Has the Expertise to Add Retaining Walls to Your Garden Landscaping

While the exterior look and function of retaining walls may appear straightforward to a casual observer, their proper design and construction requires considerable knowledge and expertise.

There are several factors that must be taken into consideration before retaining walls can be incorporated within any garden landscaping.  Such aspects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Soil conditions
  • Soil composition
  • Requisite height of the wall
  • Pressure or load on the wall
  • Attention to grade and drainage
  • Most appropriate type of material
  • Nearby structures (decks, fences, pool)

The specialists from Landcare in Toronto possess the insight and experience to address these considerations and more, along with the skills necessary to properly and effectively install retaining walls based on their specifications.

For further information on the knowledge and expertise of the Landcare team relative to garden landscaping, including the construction of retaining walls, Click Here.

If you are interested in having retaining walls designed and constructed for your garden, call the landscaping professionals at Landcare today at 647-557-7307 or contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.