Avoiding The Biggest Retaining Wall Mistakes With 4 Simple Tips

26 October 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Whether you are trying to incorporate layered dimension in your landscape or need stability for flower beds and planting areas, retaining walls are an awesome choice. Even though the process of implementing a small wall can appear to be simple, it is quite easy to make big mistakes during the installation process that will compromise the longevity of the wall. Before you get started on a small retaining wall of your own, be sure you take some time to get to know the simple rules for avoiding common mistakes do-it-yourselfers tend to make in the process.

1. Always Assess the Existing Surroundings - Building a retaining wall takes a lot of prep work. You need to know the exact measurements of the space you are working with and the makeup of the ground in the area. You have to take into consideration trees that are in close proximity and how the root systems could be a problem down the road and how water drainage flows on your property. A lot of these things may seem unimportant, but the more conscious you are about the surroundings, the less likely it will be that you run into problems either during installation or down the road.

2. Never Assume You Don't Need Base Stabilizer - Before you set the first stone in place, use a stabilizing mixture to coat the ground first. The stabilizer provides an adhesive base for the stones so that they do not shift and move over time. The mixture is usually made with gritty sand and adhesive polymers that will encourage the stones to stay firmly situated in place long after they are installed.

3. Use Adequate Mortar to Install the Stones - A lot of homeowners pick up interlocking stones at the local home improvement store and assume that mortar mix is not a necessity. Even though a lot of interlocking landscape stones even advertise that mortar mix is not necessary, it is always best to have something holding the stones together, especially when you are creating a retaining wall.

4. Backfill the Wall Once Completed - Once you have installed the wall, you cannot just start adding dirt and filler material and get to planting your favorite plants. The backside of the wall needs a layer of protection between it and the moisture-laden soil behind it. Use course gravel to build up a layer of backfill material directly behind the wall. The purpose of this is to create a space where moisture and water can drain through to the ground, which will prevent excess moisture from putting pressure on the retaining wall from the inside.

With a little time and attention, you can build a small retaining wall on your own. However, if the feat proves to be too difficult for you to handle, be sure to contact a professional landscaper like Quality Lawn & Landscape for assistance.