Important Things to Keep in Mind While Building Retaining Walls

building retaining wall

If you have a sloped property, or you simply want to add more function able space to your existing backyard, then building retaining walls may be high on your list of things to do – and we can see why! They offer an excellent way to level out tricky backyards, support excavated soil and prevent erosion during heavy rains. They can also be used for a range of other features, including outdoor furniture, garden edging and can be built into smaller stairs to take you from one part of your property to another. However, despite their benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind whilst building these walls.

  • Planning - The first step in any project – especially one where you are potentially renovating and reshaping your entire backyard – is to thoroughly plan what you’re hoping to achieve and how you will bring your design to life. Think about how much you will be flatting the backyard, as you may need to hire an excavator or partner with an experienced building team.
  • Size - Depending on how much earth you need to support, and how deep the slope of your yard is, will greatly affect the size of the retaining walls that you build. A retaining wall can be small enough to simply step up and over, or well over a meter in height.
  • Material - Regardless of the size, building a retaining wall from strong and durable materials is key to its performance and longevity! There are three common materials to choose from, each of which brings its own unique appearance without compromising on the structural integrity of the wall.
    • Timber: from hardwood to treated pine, this can be a great choice.
    • Stone: With a wide range of stones to choose from – each offering their own unique shades and properties – there is an option for every property.
    • Gabion: These baskets are an attractive way to quickly install a wall in any yard. We recommend filling them with stone, though there are many materials that can be used.
  • Council Restrictions

This isn’t a factor that many consider, However, it’s important to remember that for larger walls, you may need to liaise with the local council – otherwise, you risk fines or may need to take the wall down completely! Whilst regulations and requirements differ around the state, if you’re building retaining walls that are over 1m in height, you will not only need council approval, but will also likely be required to work with a structural engineer!  As you can see, building retaining walls can be incredibly effective and can completely reinvent the way you use your property – however, it’s important that you take the time to plan out exactly what you’re building, and the materials that you will be using to create it. To ensure you’re building a retaining wall that will be functional and attractive for years to come, partner with Yarrabee & Castlemaine. We provide stunning stone for any application, and we’re always happy to offer expert advice.