Whether their purpose is primarily for function or beauty—or both—retaining walls can dramatically transform an outdoor space. Here’s a brief overview of what retaining walls are and how to tell if you need one.
The functions of a retaining wall
Retaining walls basically keep soil at the elevation where they’re supposed to be, providing extra support to prevent soil from moving downhill. Other benefits of retaining walls in Los Angeles, CA include:
- Adding usable land: Retaining walls can also create terraces of usable land on otherwise steep and unusable slopes.
- Managing water runoff: Retaining walls will slow the natural flow of rainwater, utilizing it for watering your lawn instead of just letting it drain away.
- Increasing seating: Depending on your landscaping design, your retaining wall might provide an additional seating area.
Why you might need a retaining wall
A retaining wall is practically a necessity if your property is on a hill, but it can also be advantageous for those who live near a fault line:
- Controlling downhill erosion: Retaining walls reduce erosion by decreasing the angle of slope and preventing soil from moving downhill.
- Proximity to soil fault lines: Even if erosion isn’t a concern for your home right now, it could become one in an instant due to land shifting in an earthquake. For homes located downhill from a fault line, a retaining wall can minimize the impact of such an event.
- Protecting your home’s foundation: Erosion can wash away the soil around a downhill foundation, and it can also compact an uphill foundation. If you live in a hilly area, building a retaining wall can help preserve the integrity of your home’s foundation.
Why you need a professional
While the pros or retaining walls in Los Angeles, CA are numerous, improperly installed retaining walls can completely undermine their purpose—and, at worst, cause more damage than they’re supposed to prevent. A bulge, crack or lean might not seem like much, but they’re indications that a retaining wall has been severely compromised. A poorly constructed retaining wall can collapse, releasing the soil and vegetation that it was holding back. This shift in landscaping could wreak havoc on anything in its path, potentially inflicting catastrophic damage on your property.
Don’t be fooled by their simple appearance—careful planning and perhaps even engineering are needed to create an effective retaining wall. Lack of drainage mechanisms could cause damage to the retaining wall, weakening its ability to hold back pressure from the soil. Soil is also heavy, especially when it’s wet from rain, so holding it back can exert literally tons of pressure on a retaining wall. When the stakes are this high, it’s best to leave the job to the professionals.
If you’re interested in adding a retaining wall to your property in Los Angeles, CA, reach out to RainforestLA, Inc. Our team of landscaping experts can help you design and construct a retaining wall. With our help, you can have confidence that your retaining wall has been built properly—and it’ll look great, too. Contact us today for more information!