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Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.

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Loving Your Little Landscape

The Importance Of Proper Drainage In Your Retaining Wall

by Charlotte White

Retaining walls are a powerful tool for landscaping sloped properties and adding visual interest to flat ones, but they need to be able to hold back much more than just dirt. In fact, many if not most retaining wall failures are actually the result of improper drainage, as accumulating water pushes against the wall with nowhere to go. Besides damaging your wall, this can also create an unpleasant environment for any plants or walkways behind it, leading to swampy, saturated soil. With the help of a landscaping expert, following these four steps should ensure that your retaining wall remains dry, strong and fully functional. 

Avoiding Puddles

Your first priority with any retaining wall should be to prevent the collection of water in the first place. Many walls develop a small recession as the compacted materials settle, and when that divot is paired with a slight downhill slope, it can encourage water to form puddles along the edge of the wall. The weight and pressure these puddles can exert may surprise you, which is why your wall should be paired with a flat second level that channels water off to the sides or over the edge. 

Backing the Wall with Gravel

Another sign of a lazy retaining wall project is a lack of gravel backfill behind the wall itself. While most of the second level can be standard-issue soil, the wedge of material in direct contact with the wall should be gravel to promote drainage and prevent soil from seeping through. The last thing you want is water-logged dirt pressing against your wall, so always invest in a gravel or coarse sand backfill to keep water moving freely and your soil dry. 

Incorporating a Drain Tile

Drain tiles rest below the compacted gravel and soil behind your wall, where they collect water and carry it off to be dispersed. Sometimes, a trench is used, but often a perforated PVC pipe works just as well. Depending on your needs, this may release water at the foot of your wall or funnel it to the side, wherever it will cause the fewest problems. Talk to your landscaping contractor about the most convenient drain tile setup for your property to avoid any marshy walkways later on. 

Installing Weep Holes 

Your last line of defense against water saturation are weep holes, which are drilled directly into the wall as a sort of pressure-relief valve for water. They are often connected to the drain tile system as another exit point. These are usually only necessary for larger or commercial retaining walls, and they can leave behind unsightly residue. If you aren't sure whether or not you will need them, talk it over with your landscaping service before moving ahead with your plans. With a little forethought and some careful construction, you should end up with an attractive retaining wall that can withstand the test of time as well as any hardships nature throw its way. 

For more information, contact companies like Rock Solid Services LLC.

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