If you are thinking about installing a granite retaining wall on your property, it is very important that you do your research first. Since the construction of these walls must be done by following specific guidelines, you need to know what each one is before getting started.
Thankfully, there is a huge amount of information available online that can assist you with building these walls safely and securely. So, here are 10 guidelines that you need to know.
1. Plan the specific on-site placement ahead of time
To avoid re-work and the added expense of relocating the retaining wall at a later time, you need to pay close attention to the onsite placement ahead of time. For instance, to make sure the retaining wall is the shape, size, and parameters that you expect, you need to do the following to obtain the best place to construct it.
- Use a tape measure to determine the exact width and length of the retaining wall that you are constructing.
- Make sure that you mark off that specific area with a mason’s line, string, or garden stakes. For example, you can do this part of the project by tying the string to the stakes and checking to see if it is leveled properly.
Mark the design with paint (i.e. curves).
2. Level line must be set up with Precision
Another guideline that you will need to follow is to set up the level line with a certain amount of precision. By paying close attention in this stage of construction, the wall will not be lopsided or unattractive.
3. Excavate the Area that is marked off
After marking off the area as instructed above, you will need to excavate the area. For example, you can start this part of the project by digging down into the ground about 12 inches. You will also need to know the exact measurements prior to getting started.
4. Landscape Fabric will need to be Added
To prevent bark dust, dirt, and other landscaping from getting into the gravel base of your retaining wall, you will need to cover these areas with the appropriate materials (i.e. landscape fabric). The position that you place this fabric in can make a huge difference. So, you will need to do this part strategically. For example, here are a few tips:
- Lay the landscape down in strips.
- Overlap strips in an adjacent pattern after cutting each one in the length of 6 inches.
5. Construct the Wall Base
To construct the wall base, you will need to secure the right types of supplies and equipment. For instance, once you have created the wall base by filling up the trench with materials like gravel, you can use a power tamper and a 2 x 4 board to smooth and level out the structure.
6. Construct and lay Down the First Course and Second Course
Depending on the size, shape, and height of the retaining wall that you are building, you may need to prepare to lay down a first course, second course or etc.. For example, if you want the retaining wall to be deep, you will need to the depth of the blocks that will be used.
7. Max Height for DIY retaining Wall Designs
Before getting started, you need to know the parameters for building your retaining wall design, specifically when it comes to the maximum height for your do-it-yourself project. For example, the rule of thumb or the magic number for a DIY retaining wall is 1 meter. To build a retaining wall that is taller, a permit will be required.
8. Backfilling the Wall
After you have constructed the second course properly, you should start backfilling the wall. You can do this by filling the space between the slope and the wall with drainage gravel. Also, you should only backfill the space up to the highest course on your retaining wall.
9. Install Additional Courses
After the second course has been laid, you can begin laying the 3rd and other subsequent courses. You can do this by using the same techniques. You should also backfill your retaining wall with a certain amount of gravel as you go.
10. Complete the Top of the Wall
To complete your retaining wall, you will need to fold the landscape fabric on top of the drainage gravel. You should do this part of the project either before the last 1 or 2 standard courses or prior to installing the capstones.
Q: How long will it take to construct your retaining wall?
A: The timing requirements will depend on several different factors, including the property’s conditions, size, and the expertise of the builder.
Q: How do you determine the length of time that these structures last?
A: Between forty to one hundred years and plus. The materials (granite, concrete and etc.) are factors that help to determine the timing.
As you can see, installing a granite retaining wall requires the builder to follow specific guidelines. From determining where the retaining wall should be placed on the property to ensuring the wall is leveled properly, there is quite a bit of time and effort that goes into every detail. Therefore, if you want to construct a retaining wall that will last for several decades and more, you need to know exact the requirements and guidelines before getting started with your project.