Retaining Wall

Retaining Wall

When it comes to managing how water interacts with your property, there are many tools at your disposal. These can include everything from drains to regrading the slope of your front yard.

Retaining walls represent one of the most useful tools for keeping water away from where it can do serious harm. These walls can do everything from preventing soil erosion to ensuring that the water drains in a way that is favorable while protecting your property.

Let’s take a closer look at what a retaining wall is, how it functions, and how it can prevent water damage to your property.

French drain system

What is a Retaining Wall?

Retaining walls exist as structures that provide varying levels of water drainage. You can view them as an extension of regrading your property, because they typically act to elevate the soil near key points of your property to allow for more controlled drainage of water.

The wall itself is built at a strategic point on the property. This may be an area where water pools or washes the soil away from the landscape. The wall is constructed, then soil is removed so that it can be replaced by rock or another filler that allows water to flow through it.

The wall itself contains a drain that allows for the water to be diverted. This prevents water from pooling while ensuring that the property line stays beautiful.

The water can be diverted using a drain system, which in turn can help to divert water to the lawn where it is needed, or it can be, depending on the local code, drained directly into a system that connects to storm drainage.

Why Opt for Retaining Walls?

Retaining walls are unique from other solutions because they incorporate water diversion while bringing a unique appearance to the rest of the property. This helps to reduce the amount of soil erosion that occurs.

When compared to simple water diversion, soil tends to erode. This soil gets pushed into any connecting drains, which in turn leads to a loss of landscaping grade while the drainage system itself becomes hindered. If the drain is a french drain or another solution that relies on water dilution from the diversion, then this expedites the failure of that drain.

Are Drain Pipes Necessary for This Type of Wall?

Retaining walls do not always need drain pipes to ensure proper diversion of the water. A retaining barrier can drain water over an interior side or to a place that needs the water.

Here are some instances where you would want your wall to have an interior drainage system:

  • Walls taller than 4 ft in height, as soil erosion occurs faster
  • Areas where water tends to remain
  • Near water lines, sprinkler systems or fire hydrants
  • Where slopes go above the wall
  • Where retaining barriers are multilevel or terraced
  • Near municipal and commercial projects, as the extra drainage will substantially help reduce water retention

The inclusion of drain pipes tends to increase the complexity and overall cost of creating these barriers, but the benefits outweigh these costs.

You may also consider adding drainage to your walls to increase their longevity, further reduce standing water in your yard, and minimize the likelihood that any water damage will occur in the event of a dramatic downpour of water.

How Can Retaining Walls Prevent Water Damage?

The primary means that retaining walls use to prevent water damage is by creating a path for the water to travel away from the site of the wall. This ensures that things like swamp yard and puddles are minimized.

If the wall is near your home, it can be used to divert water away from your home without entirely regrading your yard. This may offer a more cost-effective solution than regrading. It may also be a more durable solution than french drains and other types of on-site drainage.

Retaining walls can help to keep soil at a certain location. This can reduce the incidence of foundation shifts, eroded top soil and dead patches in your yard.

Where Should Retaining Walls Be Used?

Retaining walls are designed to be used at perimeters, but they can go anywhere that you desire. This may be for an esthetic choice or, more likely, to prevent the many problems associated with standing water.

The best answer to this question is a personalized one. You should schedule a consultation with one of our experts to ensure that you do need a retaining wall and that it will adequately solve any water drainage issues that you may have.

Call Drainage & Waterproofing Solutions Inc at (919) 235-5219 to learn how to make water infiltration problems a thing of the past.