December 1, 2014

If you’re thinking about landscaping or re-landscaping your yard, there are a host of problems that homeowners frequently encounter that can be addressed by the use of retaining walls. Read on to find out how your landscaping dilemmas could be solved with this relatively simple structure.

Sloping Yard

Many homeowners are frustrated with sloping areas in their yards. With all the rain in Ann Arbor Michigan, water in sloping yards can run downhill and cause troublesome ponding or damage to your home’s foundation. A slope makes it hard for plants to take root, because the soil often washes away, along with any seedlings. Even if you can get grass to grow there, it’s likely to be a challenge to mow.

What’s the solution? Regrade the yard and replace the gradual slope with a 90-degree wall of soil held in place by a retaining wall. At the same time, landscapers can install drainage, so water flows safely from the upper level to below. This can help maintain your foundation’s integrity, reduce your yard work and create more interest in an otherwise blah area.

Abrupt Drop

Sometimes the grading described above may already be in place, but nothing is holding the soil firm. Without a retaining wall, the dirt will eventually wash away, taking any plantings with it. This can create a huge mess or even a mudslide in your home. A retaining wall can be an attractive and functional way to keep that from happening. You can use stones, bricks or wooden barriers to complement your home’s exterior and existing landscaping. Things like lighting, house numbers and wall sculpture can be incorporated into the retaining wall.

Desire for More Gardening Space

Ann Arbor Michigan has a nice long growing season for the Upper Midwest, and it’s great if you love gardening. If you need more space to indulge your passion for growing vegetables, herbs or flowers, consider adding a series of retaining walls to your yard to create terraces for your planting beds. Have you ever seen how rice is grown in East Asia? This is the same concept.

By using retaining walls to build a stair-like garden, you can maximize the sunshine for all your plants. You can also showcase smaller plantings without them being dwarfed by larger species. You can add lanterns, benches, bird baths, even a chicken coop! The only limit is your imagination.

Need for Delineation

Sometimes a property needs a retaining wall to provide visual or functional definition. This can solve many landscaping issues:

1. It creates a clean line between two areas of the yard with different looks or functions.

2. It prevents invasive species or trees from encroaching on a lawn, flower bed or patio.

3. It can help keep pets and small children contained.

4. It can offer privacy screening when above the back door level in small backyards.

If you are having problems with any of the landscaping concerns mentioned above, a retaining wall may be your best solution. You’ll likely find that solving an ongoing nuisance in your yard allows you to enjoy it more, and when almost half the year is spent under snow, that’s a terrific bonus!