Love Your Landscape – August 2015

Retaining walls offer stunning aesthetics and down-to-earth benefits by beautifying your home, helping with erosion control and water drainage, and providing privacy to outdoor living areas. Retaining walls also increase the value of your home, which is a great return on your investment.

If you are planning to construct a retaining wall, there are many factors to consider. Which retaining wall block is best suited for your wall depends on your personal style, project budget, the style of your home, and the details surrounding the site.

The two most-used materials are natural stone and concrete retaining wall blocks.

Thanks to mortar-free, interlocking-stackable blocks, retaining wall projects can be completed quickly. Stackable stones are made of concrete, with a decorative facade and a lip on the back side. The lip fits snugly against the block below, creating an interlocking-joint that withstands pressure, while the decorative facade creates a beautiful wall to be enjoyed for years to come.

Stones are typically slightly wedge-shaped, allowing for the creation of gentle curves. Many retaining wall systems include thin “caps,” which tend to create a very finished appearance. Concrete blocks are cost-efficient and extremely durable, making them a top choice for contractors and homeowners alike.

Natural stone is a popular alternative to the traditional modular cement block construction. Dry-stacked stone walls bring a natural look to any landscape as the material is quarried directly from the earth. Stone retaining walls have been used for thousands of years, so there is an element of tradition in their appearance. Because stones can be found in a variety of shapes, colors and textures, there is also an artistic element involved in using natural stone.

The best natural retaining walls are made from heavier, denser rocks such as granite or basalt. Both are readily-available in Southern Oregon. Building natural-stone retaining walls can be expensive and more labor-intensive so are best in shorter and narrower sections of walls to maximize stability. Drainage is always an issue since moisture can infiltrate the spaces and gaps between stones, compromising the integrity of the wall.

Sage Landscape Supply specializes in retaining wall design and has a wide array of natural stones and cement-based wall blocks as well. If you are considering a retaining wall, Sage has everything you need.