As most property owners know, having a retaining wall installed on a property has so many benefits. Some of these advantages are a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, a higher value when appraised, a makeshift boundary, and much more. Installing a retaining wall may be expensive at first, but it is viewed as a very worthy investment to spend extra funds on when you have it.
Another benefit of having a retaining wall is that it helps stop erosion from happening within your property. Though some people think that retaining walls are just for design purposes, underneath its beautiful façade is a very essential function.
Do retaining walls stop erosion from occurring?
If you cannot believe that a simple wall structure can stop erosion to occur and still want to receive a confirmation, the answer to this question is: absolutely. Aside from its appeal, retaining walls have a main function, and that is to stop the soil in a particular area or property from getting displaced. This can be made possible as a retaining wall helps keep the soil or water from getting washed out due to several reasons, such as the natural movement of the earth, rains, earthquakes, and winds.
Imagine this: If a soil is blocked or caged in a certain area, it will not have a path it can go through, and it will stay in that place no matter what happens, unless there will be an opening such as a hole or crack in the wall or if the wall has been damaged or taken down. Based on what it is called, a “retaining” wall will retain and hold back the soil within its structure.
Because retaining walls are specially made and customized in order to serve their purpose, they can be constructed in various ways depending on the preference and need of the client. Another reason why a retaining wall can help keep the soil is by assisting in the proper drainage of water, which is one of the reasons why soils erode in the first place.
Why does soil “erode?”
To appreciate the assistance of a retaining wall in maintaining the soil within the property, we also have to understand why erosion happens. There are different factors why soil erodes. Most of these causes are natural such as grazing animals and farming, and there is nothing we can do to stop it altogether, unless we employ some techniques to lessen its occurrence in a particular area.
Here are the most common reasons why a soil erodes:
These are the main causes of why erosion happens within a residential, commercial, or industrial property.
#1 Culprit behind soil erosion: Water
As said above, one of the main reasons why soil erodes or gets displaced is because of water. This is due to the particular property of water that makes it easy for soil to stick into, especially if it is moving. When water movement is fast which is what usually happens when there is heavy rainfall, it will be easy for water to displace the soil and transport it into another location, until it dries out and gets absorbed.
#2 Culprit behind soil erosion: Wind
When the soil is too fine or sandy, it will be easy for it to be moved to another location, as it will not have a significant mass to hold on to its surface. If the soil is dry and there is a strong velocity of wind, they can be transported to another area, which can also be the cause of pollution. Wind erosion is a very serious problem which is a major issue for many countries in Asia.
If the soil in your property is too sandy and dry, the wind can carry it to other places easily, which can be the cause of why the soil in your area constantly shifts. Unfortunately, aside from issues with your property, it can also be a health hazard to you and your family, because there is a possibility of the fine particles getting inhaled by the people around you area.
#3 Culprit behind soil erosion: Movement
Aside from wind and water, another reason for soil getting displaced is movement. When the soil is located in an area that often has human or vehicle traffic, it will obviously move around the place.
What are the other benefits of having a retaining wall on your property?
We have already answered the question of the necessity of having a retaining wall constructed in your property to help combat against the reality of soil erosion. Aside from that, there are still so much more benefits that a retaining wall can offer, such as the following:
Beautification of your property
Depending on the preference of the client, there are so many materials that can be used to construct a retaining wall. If the function is not the reason why a wall will be installed and the main purpose is for aesthetics, there are so many choices of masonry to choose from, such as stone, brick, concrete, and many more.
Architects and designers recommend having a retaining wall installed in bare areas of a property to make a statement. After all, retaining walls are not only effective in keeping soil, but also in catching the eyes of visitors and passersby.
Increasing your property’s appraisal value
Another surprising benefit of having a retaining wall installed in your property is that it actually increases the appraisal value of your home or commercial building, especially if it is located in an area where having a specific kind of wall is recommended or even mandated by the local government. This is usually the case in places where soil erosion is a huge issue for local residents. By having a retaining wall already installed in your home, this would mean that there will no longer be a need to have a new one installed by potential buyers.
If you are not planning to sell your property but is having it appraised to get a mortgage or a loan, having a retaining wall in your property will still be a good investment as long as it was properly installed and is in great condition.
Serving as a boundary between several establishments
When setting boundaries is a problem that you and your neighbors are frequently experiencing, having a retaining wall installed can be a tricky way of reminding them of where their area stops. Some neighbors may use your space or you may even be using theirs, and this can be a huge cause of headaches. To establish a boundary, having a wall can be very effective, but you will possibly need to get your neighbor’s permission before you can construct one.
Making your space more efficient
When your landscape is uneven or unleveled, it may be difficult for you to effectively use your space, which can be very wasteful and ineffective. Imagine all the things you can do: you can have your own garden, plant some flowers, or place some outdoor furniture if you only have the space to do it. When you have a contractor strategically place a retaining wall on your property, you can make use of the available area in your property, which can be achieved by proper planning and segmentation.
How much does it cost to have a retaining wall installed?
When you are planning to have a retaining wall built, there are some things you need to take into account. One of these is the permits. Most places and cities in the United States require a permit before you are allowed to build a wall, even if it is on your property. Some places will only require a permit if the wall you are constructing will reach a certain height. To avoid any problems, it would be best to ask your contractor and your local municipality if you will need to secure a permit before starting a project. Permits may cost around $20 to $100, and will increase if you need to get some demolition done as well.
The cost of having a retaining wall installed in your property is usually computed by square foot. Depending on the material you will use, cinder blocks usually cost around $10 to $15 per square foot while concrete costs around $25. There are also other materials that will be necessary depending on the project. If your walls are expected to carry heavy soil, you will need to include some reinforcements on the masonry unit you will use. Of course, if you are hiring a contractor, you will also need to add labor to the total expense.
Can you install a retaining wall on your own?
Installing a retaining wall needs expertise and skills, as doing it haphazardly can do more damage to your property than good. It would be best to hire an experienced contractor so that you can guarantee that they will do a great job of building a functional wall.