Concrete Retaining Walls from Colonial

Concrete retaining walls serve a very useful purpose; they keep dirt where it should be. Retaining walls provide lateral support to vertical slopes of soil. They retain soil which would otherwise collapse into a more natural shape. The retained soil is sometimes referred to as backfill. Retaining walls can be constructed of many different materials and with a variety of building techniques.

Generally, retaining walls are built from the bottom up, where the soil to retain is temporarily shored up, until the newly constructed wall can hold its considerable weight. Factors to be taken into consideration are the weight of the soil when wet, and proper drainage so retained water can get out. In most states, retaining wall designs taller than about four feet must be designed by or approved by a qualified, licensed professional engineer. Additionally, it is important to check with and adhere to local building codes prior to any construction, even when walls are shorter than four feet. Retaining walls are, and should always be viewed as load bearing members first, and aesthetic groundscapes second.

Poured concrete retaining walls can also be decorative and reproduce the look of stone or masonry. The construction process for these decorative walls involves setting the forms, installing form liners inside the forms (this provides the texture), pouring colored or plain concrete, then stripping the forms and staining the concrete to look like stone or masonry. This look can do double duty as retaining loose soil, and enhancing the look of your property.

So clearly there are many options with how to build your retaining walls. While your first responsibility is to build it correctly and to code, so it does not fail and possibly hurt someone, you can do that and create a valuable addition to the look of your property.
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