While not applicable in every situation, a solid concrete wall can be used as a retaining system to create boundaries and edges in gardens and help prevent landslides and slips and other erosion problems. The normal method for creating these walls is to use prefabricated material, whether they be slats or pre-formed concrete or even possibility rocks (either used with or without a masonry fill for added strength). IF the volume or space required to hold back, and the height isn’t too large, solid concrete can be a beneficial, cheap and easy solution however you should took to a concrete contractor first to determine it is viable
Definitely, if the height is to grand or the volume too fast, you should consider other methods. Bricks, pavers and rocks have traditionally used in the past, or a wooden post and slat combination if height is required but not depth. Today there are now a whole range of new products both for convenience and aesthetical reasons. Pre-cast concrete products have become popular and exist in a range of shapes and sizes, but also with a vast range of finishes to suit your backyard. Only recently, other products have become available, those that are created from recycled materials. It is worth checking with your local hardware stores and land scape suppliers to ascertain just what is available locally.
So why choose a solid concrete retaining wall? As above, if the height or width isn’t too great, concrete actually provides a cheap and easy solution. Generally, the amount of earthworks required is the same, and there is less labour in having the concrete simply poured into a mould than having the wall built form the ground up (that’s assuming a cement truck can access the area for the pour). From there , concreters will be there to level and provide edging and finishing touches but the overall process is far simpler that building a wall brick by brick, or digging in posts.
Another large benefit is for those that want a specific shape, or have areas that curve and wind. A concrete mould can be bent and twisted any which way you want it, allowing you to provide the support and need in those areas have not normally though possible by rigid pre-formed building blocks. This can also lead to aesthetically pleasing visuals for your backyard. IT also allows you to surround your gardens in more circular ways than straight and angled lines.
As long as the base (the soil and earth beneath the wall) is solid and not moving or eroding, causing the concrete to twist, the wall can actually be stronger and last longer overtime that other materials. This is because as a single solid form, the individual components are less likely to move around, getting caught out of place.
While some people doubt the aesthetics of such a wall, it can be finished and edged with various methods to increase its appeal. While there are further option to employ a professional to finish the concrete surfaces, these will obviously cost extra. The outward facing surface however will not have the same options available to it as say, a concrete slab, as the outward surface will be facing the mould until set. The easiest options for already set concrete will include things like painting, polishing and lacquering.
What are the negatives against building a wall?
As further consideration, one important factor against creating a concrete retaining wall may be the soil type and base for where the wall is to be laid. An unsecure, unstable surface will shift and move and create problems for any retaining wall. The issue with a whole solid concrete form is that severe movement may cause it to crack, ruining it’s aesthetics. Unlike a brick or stone wall, it can be dismounted and rebuilt although covering superficial cracks is possible.
This can somewhat be mitigated by provided a more solid base for the attended location of the wall, however this may mean increased earthwork and providing stable material which as expected will increase costs.
Digging will also normally be wider in this case so may take more land or gardens during the earthworks than you had originally planned for.
This is also the case if drainage is required behind and below the wall (it is always suggested however on smaller walls, it may not be required, but again dependant on many variables including soil type). This is similar to when installing groundwater runoff system, and involves providing layers of gravel behind the wall, thus allowing water to run away easily and not build-up during wet seasons. In some cases you may even want to consider install an AGI pipe system to increase the water flow away from the area.
Finally, one last thing to remember regarding concrete wall is, for whatever reason, if you wish to get rid of the wall, a single, continuous piece of concrete is going to be a lot more difficult if the time comes.
We hope you helps you decide on whether to use a concreter for any retaining walls required. As you can see the information provided on this page isn’t to promote our services, not argue the point of getting a concrete retaining wall, or to dissuade it, but just to provide the relevant facts behind the decision making of choosing the right option.
We at Logan’s Concrete Contractors are happy to meet you on site to discuss what is best for yourself. The on-site inspection will be free of charge and if you do choose to use our services we can always get back to you with a free quote as soon as possible.
Note: Check with your local Council regarding any excavation work and structural building of a retaining wall. If the wall is over one metre high you may require a building approval and if there is significant earthworks (either filling or excavating) there may also be approvals required. Be sure to be as accurate with the details as possible of the work being conducted which will help them answer the enquiry in the best possible manner.
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