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Add a Retaining Wall for Polished Landscape Design

by Jeffrey Anderson, All About Lawns Columnist

A yard with steep slopes can create some challenges for the home landscaper. It can be tough to grow grass on a steep grade--if you are lucky enough to grow it, then you need to figure out how to cut it. Pushing a mower up and down a steep slope on a sweltering day gets old in a hurry, and mowing from side to side can become a safety hazard. Perhaps the answer to your steep slope challenges is to add retaining walls to your landscape design.


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Landscape Design Using Retaining Walls Can Graduate Your Steep Slopes

Retaining walls can be just about any height, but sometimes it is more desirable to install several shorter walls rather than one tall wall. If you do decide to install a taller retaining wall, keep in mind that many jurisdictions require a safety rail when a wall reaches a certain height.

Retaining walls can become part of your landscape design when you use construction materials that fit with the style of your yard. These materials can include a number of options, including:

  • Railroad ties
  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Split-faced retaining wall blocks
  • Stacked stone
  • Poured concrete with brick veneer

Two important factors in any retaining wall construction are drainage and anchoring. Water pressure behind a retaining wall can eventually cause it to fail, and improper anchoring of a wall can lead to leaning and eventual crumbling. Fairfax County, Virginia has some excellent diagrams and information on retaining wall drainage and anchoring, and Colorado State University has some points to remember when building your retaining wall.

Use retaining walls in your landscape design to create plant beds or play areas, or just so you can stop pushing that mower up that impossible slope.


About the Author
Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I. and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time.

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