A retaining wall can be useful for both practical and aesthetic purposes; Either as a sloping place for the roof, to create usable space, and otherwise to create profile and interest in flat and featureless gardens. Whatever the reason for its creation, however, it needs to be well-designed to ensure that a retaining wall remains intact, safe, and trouble-free. Good design starts under the ground and behind the wall, so you need to know if you want a hassle-free wall that will look good for next year. To that end, read on for some practical tips on designing, constructing, and waterproofing a retaining wall waterproofing membrane, as well as some of the problems that can occur if not done properly.
- Check the regulations
When you dig for the foundation of your walls, you need to check your plans against available plumbing and electrical diagrams so that no pipes or wires run under the area. If your wall is built near the boundary of your property, you need to consult with your neighbours so that they agree with your plan and your wall does not become a threat to their property due to erosion or water flow. And if your walls support large trees or load-bearing structures, it may be wise to hire an engineer to build them.
- Check the soil type
When designing your retaining wall, it is important to note the structure of the shield that will hold it in place. This is because different materials such as clay and sand have a different ‘angle of rest’. The angle of rest depends on how dense the component is and how much friction it creates. If the angle of rest is exceeded, your walls will be instinctively unstable, so it is necessary to consider the type of material that is being placed in the design and construction of your walls.
- Build a solid foundation
One of the most important basics of building a good wall is to build a solid foundation. The foundation of a retaining wall should be placed below ground level and made of compacted soil and a layer of at least 150 mm compressed sand and gravel. This will ensure that the wall will be flat, which means more contact between the materials used in its construction, which means more friction and ultimately more strength and the higher the wall, the lower the soil level should be set.
- Ensure good drainage
Effective drainage is vital for a retaining wall, otherwise, water pressure, known as hydrostatic pressure, will build up behind the wall and cause blisters or cracks. Ways to achieve better drainage include using at least 300 mm granular material such as gravel in the backfill. The backfill will help you push down against the compacted wall as you go. Other ways to create good drainage include placing a perforated pipe at the bottom of the wall that feeds into storm water drains and making small holes in the wall that allow water to escape through them.
This guide will hopefully give you an initial insight into the steps involved in designing and building your retaining wall.