How to Take Care of Your Retaining Walls
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Published by TOP4 Team
A retaining wall is a type of structure that retains or holds back any material (typically, earth or soil) in a vertical or sloping condition and prevents it from eroding or sliding away from its position. It can be made using materials like poured concrete or concrete blocks, rocks, boulders and timber.
This type of wall is a common feature in most gardens or landscaped spaces. Retaining walls are normally designed to have seepage holes through which groundwater can flow; these holes help ease some of the pressure created by accumulated water in the earth being held up by the wall, and they also help reinforce the stability of the wall.
Like any other fixture on your residential or commercial property, the retaining wall will require proper and regular care and maintenance. Here are some important activities to carry out in order to ensure the continued excellent condition of your retaining wall.
Perform site grading. During the construction of your retaining wall, backfill is placed and compacted behind and below the wall. After the wall is completed, some settling of the backfill is expected to occur, and this is something you need to inspect your wall for once a year. If low spots are evident, pull back the landscape sod or mulch and add new fill to bring the drainage back to the proper level. This prevents pooling effects that will soften the soil and add extra weight to the wall, which could potentially cause a blow-out.
Inspect the wall's surface treatments. After a retaining wall is erected, surface treatments like landscape plantings, paving, or some form of ground cover are used to finish the construction; they work to capture water as well as control and route it whenever rain falls. Check these treatments every year for eroded areas and re-landscape as needed to prevent erosion.
Check the current performance of the wall. It's always smart practice to inspect the actual wall for any movement, as compared to the previous year; this could be caused by faulty construction or drainage, or erosion. It's also good to look for signs of rotation or bulges so they can be corrected immediately.
Address the growth of random weeds right away. Stubborn weeds can spring up in virtually any location that has soil and gets ample water and sunshine, and retaining walls are no exception. Do your best to pluck out the weeds as they come, or take time to spray the wall once a year to prevent new growth.
In addition to these maintenance tips, here are things that you must not do as part of your care and maintenance measures as they can lead to the compromised structural integrity of the wall:
· Don't obstruct the weepholes in the retaining wall.
· Don't remove features like planter boxes from the wall, or increase the height of the wall without consulting an engineer first.
· Don't plant trees close to the retaining wall as their root systems could potentially weaken the wall or create obstructions in it drainage system.
· Don't store or keep heavy equipment close to the wall.