Retaining walls are sturdy structures that primarily hold soil in a sloping yard. But homeowners have also found other ingenious ways to use them to improve their terrain visually and functionally.
Retaining walls are sometimes used to shape the front yard or to prominently feature garden beds to keep them from being trampled on. At times, they are also used to section off parts of the garden and create different levels to maximise the use of the land and extend living areas.
Are you planning to create a retaining wall but are hesitant to begin the project?
Good news, then – you’ve found just the right resource to get you buzzing with ideas in creating an easy Do-it-Yourself retaining wall.
Factors to Consider In the Design
Before you go and start digging around your yard, spend some time planning your project first. It’s true that the secret to any project is always a good and structured plan. Visit your local Australian Paving Centre store and consult with one of our product specialists.
Aussie Block – This block is ideal for building unreinforced walls of up to 800 mm in height, or higher (with engineering advice). It has specialty corner and block-capping units that will allow it to be used for curved or straight residential walls and garden steps.
Junior Block – Also known as Allan block, this is the solution for a variety of applications like retaining walls, two-sided patio seating walls, and privacy fencing because it’s easy to stack and has specialty capping units for a chic finish.
Limestone Block – This natural stone walling block is excellent for building fences, retaining and garden walls, garden edging, and even sculptures. It’s easy to install and cut.
Versawall – This block has a unique interlocking feature that makes it easy to stack. It resembles the look of a natural rock which will allow you to create a contemporary design. This particular block can be used to build a retaining wall up to 800 mm high and is a vertical block, allowing you to maximise your available space.
Duostone – This multi-piece retaining wall system has five block sizes that when used together, creates a random, natural-looking wall. It can also be used to create curved garden walls or setback and landscaped walls because of its natural stacked stone finish and unique rear lip for ease of construction.
Flagstone – This concrete retaining wall block gives an authentic stack stone appearance due to its patterned finish and colour range. Ideal for garden edge and garden walls, curved and landscaped walls, as well as curved style garden steps.
Freestone – This innovative and modern looking block is the latest product available. It is available in both smooth and exposed aggregate finishes so you can choose it for either your retaining wall, garden walls, fences, garden seats, sun lounges, and steps. It is a great versatile block for all applications and represents the best value for money on the market today. It’s easy to install, and eco-friendly, too, because of its recycled glass aggregate.
Textured Concrete Block – This is a popular choice due to its rough texture, durability, and strength. This is easy to put together, so a DIY project will be a breeze. This is good to install as a retaining wall and garden wall.
If you’re short on space but still want to have that structure for practical and functional reasons, check out these materials below.
Versaloc and Versasmooth Block – This product has a wide range of DIY Retaining Wall materials available for you to build your own retaining wall. It is cheaper and easier than using cement or concrete sleepers and is a home handyman product. The block system is economical, has a choice of colours and comes with caps, half blocks and corner blocks. The Versaloc (grey) or Versasmooth (coloured) block system has reinvented the retaining wall industry.
Concrete Sleepers – This material is both sturdy and insect-proof, with resistance to rotting, warping, splintering, and splitting, making it perfect for vertical boundary or retainer walls and garden edges.
Using APC Products
As varied as the number of available products are the many ways you can use them to build your retaining walls.
Depending on the function of your wall, the design will require the right blend of creativity and resourcefulness.
A visit to a local APC display will allow you to create a beautifully landscaped garden and find a solution to your site drainage and retaining wall problems.
At APC, we can show you ways to maximise the space you have available on your land, address the right product for your retaining wall project, and expand your living area by creating different levels and areas. APC will help you visualize your own finished project and our product knowledge will help you choose that perfect texture, shape, and colour.
Walls are long-term investments. So think long and hard before deciding on a specific design because you will most likely have to live with that decision for years to come.
The way a wall is designed can impact the look and feel of your landscape. A straight wall can give the impression of control and structure. It will also make your flower or vegetation beds easily manageable and will emphasize the separate sections.
Notice how, in this image, the homeowner used a wall to retain the sloping land, create flower beds, and frame the property. The homeowner also took advantage of the remarkable view to highlight the landscape.
You may also opt to create levels for your yard, thereby creating separate spaces. See this example below.
Curvilinear Garden Walls
Curved walls can achieve a natural flow which can’t be obtained by its straight counterparts. An area surrounded by a circular wall can also give off the effect of safety and privacy.
Create a focal feature for your garden by framing garden beds with retaining walls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to two of the most common questions our customers ask.
Do I need to put drainage behind a retaining wall?
You’ll need to consider your retaining or garden wall drainage. You may ask, “Do I have to put drainage behind a retaining wall?”
The answer, in most instances, is yes.
But it is dependent upon the height and application of the wall you are building. Once again, a visit to your local Australian Paving Centre store will save you time and money with the invaluable advice APC product specialists can give you.
Since most retaining walls are impervious, meaning water cannot pass through the wall itself, it’s crucial to put efficient drainage. Otherwise, hydrostatic pressure will build up behind the wall and cause significant damage, like bulging or cracking.
Be sure to backfill at least a foot of space behind your wall, and install perforated agricultural drainage pipes behind the wall to remedy this. Consult with your local APC product specialist about creating drainage holes to allow water to drain through the wall.
What base material do I need for my retaining wall?
Experts always stress the importance of starting with a good base for any retaining wall. It should be well-compacted specific base material such as roadway base or quarry sand. The depth will vary dependent upon the type of block used, the height of the wall, and the individual site applications.
A good base is crucial for supporting the rest of the wall.
Tier it Up or Down
You can build low retaining walls around your pool or outdoor entertainment areas to serve as seating.
With retaining walls, you can add depth or height to your outdoor space as well. Create an insulated sunken space canopied by trees or foliage for a secret hideaway.
Whatever your inclination, it’s always best to keep in mind how you want to use your area to improve the quality of your daily living.
Want to get started and already have a selection in mind? Come visit us today or simply get a quote here!
More Tips That Inspire!
Still looking for inspiration? We have a wealth of information that will answer your every retaining wall question down below.