Retaining walls are an incredible investment for homeowners who need anything from more yard space to drainage control. They’re also great for increasing your curb appeal when used in your front yard.
But, like with everything else you own, they need maintenance. If they aren’t cleaned every so often, they become dirty and unattractive. Thankfully, there are several ways to keep your retaining walls beautiful!
Anyone who is thinking about investing in a retaining wall should also know a few more things about them before installing one. These include knowing if your yard needs one, if it needs engineering, and if they need drainage.
Here are the best ways you can do so.
3 Ways to Clean Your Retaining Wall
1. Wash your retaining wall with a hose
Starting off by using a hose to wash your retaining wall is the best way to start. It’s easier than renting and using a pressure washer or using elbow grease to scrub it clean.
Hoses work for retaining walls that are not as dirty. You may need to clean them more often by just using a hose, but it’s way easier than the other ways to clean retaining walls.
It’s best to have a sprayer attachment so you can get a harder stream. This makes it easier to get dirt clods off. You can also cover the nozzle with your finger in a pinch to get a harder spray.
2. Clean it using a pressure washer
If there are stubborn clumps of dirt that just won’t come off, you may need to rent and use a pressure washer to clean your retaining wall.
We recommend keeping the PSI below 1,500. PSI is the measure of force the water hits with. It’s best to keep the nozzle at least six inches away from the stone retaining wall. Having the pressure washer too high or close to the wall can damage it.
3. Scrub your stone retaining wall clean
If the hose and pressure washer doesn’t work, you may have to get a little dirty.
Scrubbing is for those stubborn stains and dirt clods that seem like they are a part of the wall. A hard-bristled scrub brush and some elbow grease should be enough to remove them. Scrubbing while the wall is wet helps keep the dirt from getting driven into the cracks.
*For stubborn stains, you can mix dish soap with water and use that as you scrub. If that doesn’t work, you can use a water and bleach mixture.
When Does Your Retaining Wall Need To Be Engineered?
Sometimes retaining walls need engineering to build them correctly. If you think you’ll need one of the following for your retaining walls, we highly recommend getting them engineered.
*The link leads to only one way to build retaining walls
If it’ll be taller than four feet
Tall retaining walls are harder to build simply because they are taller. It’s like how taller buildings need more complex planning and engineering due to their height and weight.
If your wall gets to be four feet high or more when measured from the bottom of the first block to the top of the last, things start getting tricky.
You need to start using more materials and processes to hold the wall in place. Otherwise, it’s in danger of cracking, falling, or being otherwise damaged.
If it’ll need to hold a lot of weight
If you’re retaining wall is going to hold any heavier weight, like cars, you’ll need an engineer. A retaining wall can lean, crack, and break if it isn’t built to hold that weight.
This involves building a sturdier base and using more durable materials.
If you’ll be using the terracing method
Terracing is difficult. This is when you’ll have multiple walls on the same hill. It looks like a wall, then some ground, another wall on top of that piece of ground, more ground, etc.
This makes solving drainage needs, wall support, and other factors more difficult to solve.
When Does Your Yard Need Retaining Walls?
There are several scenarios where your yard will benefit from having one or more retaining walls.
To Control Erosion
Retaining walls hold the soil in place so it doesn’t fall down a slope, much like how tree roots do. This dirt can be unsightly and take up space in your yard.
Erosion can also affect your foundation by exposing it or pushing more soil against it. This can cause damage to your house’s foundation, which is expensive to fix.
To Create More Space
One thing most homeowners want for their yard is more space. This gives more room for activities and projects, like outdoor living spaces and gardens.
If your home has any hills around it, you can use retaining walls to move them back. It’s like if you set the wall up and then pushed it against the hill until the ground was even with the top of the wall.
You can create space in your yard and on top of the wall, where you can put more plants.
To Manage Rainwater Runoff
Retaining walls can help slow rainwater runoff.
Rainwater runoff causes erosion, yards that stay wet for days, and a host of other problems that are a hassle to deal with. You’ll love how much nicer and better overall your yard looks and is when you successfully manage rainwater runoff.
Does Your Stone Retaining Wall Need Drainage Behind It?
Almost every retaining wall needs a form of drainage, otherwise, it can damage the wall and your property.
Improper drainage is one of the main reasons retaining walls fail. The wall can’t hold the weight of the water and wet soil combined for too long. There are several ways to help your retaining walls drain water.
Contact CPL Concrete For Your Retaining Wall Needs
Many homeowners are now happier with better properties and peace of mind knowing their yards and homes are safer. They have the space they need for everything from grilling to growing a garden.
You can count on CPL Concrete to create an amazing retaining wall for your home. Fill out our contact form today so we can discuss your project!