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Unearth the Benefits of Building Retaining Walls in your Yard

Sep 17, 2008
You can easily add beauty to your garden by adding a retaining wall that adds architectural interest to your lawn or flowerbed. Constructing a retaining wall is a relatively easy task but does require a certain amount of effort. Your wall must be strong enough to hold back the pressure of soil, and yet porous enough to allow for drainage.

Walls are usually built of stone. In using stone for a retaining wall, there are two basic types of construction: dry wall, wherein earth is the filler between the stones, and mortar, which uses cement as a bonding agent.

The base of any retaining wall must be about 6 inches into the ground, below the average frost line. The width of the base should equal 1/4 the height of the wall. The wall can taper to a width of about 1/4 the width of the base.

At intervals of about 2 feet at about 6 inches from ground level, drainpipes should be embedded, Some walls are porous enough without drainpipes, but if mortar is used, these pipes will be essential.

In dry wall construction it is possible (although not advisable) to start at ground level without sinking the wall below the frost line. The cheapest way to construct a dry wall is to choose local stones; large ones for the foremost stones and smaller ones for the cracks. Large stones should always form the base of the wall and the sides of the wall should be as level as possible. Stones with rounded surfaces should be discarded. They typically do not form a high-quality wall.

The edges of the stones should overlap one another and should be left in good bond. You should avoid leaving vertical cracks and any small spaces should be filled with earth and small stones or pebbles.

The wall itself should slope slightly and lean back against the soil it is to retain. This will you're your wall greater strength. In most cases, the wall will slope as much as 5 to 6 inches for each foot in height.

Using it as a wall garden can enhance the strength and beauty of a dry wall. It may take on a mossy and aged appearance simply by green planting within the crevice soil. A greater degree of color can be obtained by planting flowering plants whose roots will serve the additional function of holding the wall together. A pool landscape surrounded by flowering plants like as azaleas, alyssum, evergreen candy-tuft, heather, phlox, garden pinks, sedum, snowy rock cress, and creeping veronicas; are excellent landscape ideas for this purpose.

Mortared walls entail somewhat easier construction than do dry walls. The mortar serves as the bond and it is not as essential to match the stones. For the masonry wall, a cement mixture of 1 part cement and 2 parts sand will make a good bonding agent. Mortar should be liberally applied to form a bed for each stone as it is applied. The chinks between stones should be well-filled with pebbles or gravel. A mortared wall is more permanent than a dry wall and is also easier to construct.
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