In yards with slopes, retaining walls are often needed to stabilize them and guard against erosion. There are a few material choices to consider when designing your retaining wall.
1. Wood Boards
Wood is typically chosen because it is often the lower-cost option and it has a nice natural look in the landscaping. Treated wood boards or railroad ties are the two most common types of wood used for retaining walls. These are treated to resist pest damage and rot, so they will last longer than most other timber products but not quite as long as more durable concrete or stone.
2. Concrete Blocks
Interlocking concrete blocks are one of the more popular retaining wall choices. These blocks are durable, look nice, and can be erected quickly by a skilled installer. The way the blocks interlock makes them extremely strong, allowing for the building of taller walls in areas where they are needed to hold back a high slope. Concrete blocks can look a bit sterile and boring, although new designs and even colors are becoming more available for those wanting a more decorative look.
3. Poured Concrete
If you prefer concrete but need something with a bit more strength than you can get from a concrete block, consider poured concrete. Your installer will create a custom form designed specifically for the slope you are trying to stabilize. Reinforcement is added to the concrete as it is poured, adding more durability and strength. Much like concrete blocks, concrete walls can be a bit plain although it is possible to have the concrete dyed a different color or to texture the surface for more visible interest.
4. Natural Stone
One of the more beautiful choices for a retaining wall is natural stone. For fairly secure slopes, dry-fit stone uses no mortar but has a delightful natural look. For increased strength, the stone can be mortared together so it doesn't move as easily from the pressure of the slope behind it. The main drawback of stone is that it can be costly. One option is to opt for a natural stone veneer over the surface of a less expensive concrete retaining wall.
5. Brick Masonry
Brick masonry walls can be quite striking, especially if you have brick siding on your home or brick-paved paths or patios. Brick comes in a range of colors, designs, and shapes, so there is an option for nearly every yard. Brick can be a labor-intensive material to install, though, so it may cost more than other options. Its beauty, durability, and classic looks can make the additional cost worth it.
Contact a retaining wall installation service to learn more about the material options.