Retaining walls are an excellent addition to any residential property in New Jersey, offering a myriad of benefits that can enhance both its aesthetic appeal and functionality. If you’re still contemplating whether or not to install a retaining wall on your property
Below are 7 benefits that you should consider.
Retaining walls protect your property from soil erosion and the associated damages such as landslides, property damage or even lost lives. By minimizing runoff effects and stabilizing the soil, retaining walls protect your property from adverse effects of natural calamities like heavy rains.
Increased Property Value
Retaining walls make your property look more appealing and organized, causing an increase in its overall value. By defining the boundary between various sections of your property, retaining walls add form to your landscape and make it look much more attractive.
Increased Usable space
Retaining walls help in creating flat and usable spaces on sloping landscapes. The retained soil can be used to level the yard and create outdoor spaces like a patio or play area for your children.
Retaining walls play an essential role in draining excess water from your property. By directing water where it needs to go, your land will appreciate the benefits of healthy and well-drained soil.
Compared to other landscaping methods, retaining walls are quite cost-effective. The construction cost of retaining walls is insignificant compared to their numerous benefits.
Retaining walls require little to no maintenance, making it a great option for busy households. They are made from durable materials that can withstand harsh weather and remain in good condition for longer.
Retaining walls can be customized to achieve different shapes, colors, and textures, providing a unique aesthetic appeal to your landscape. With the right design, your retaining wall can be a masterpiece that complements the beauty of your entire property.
Retaining walls are an investment that adds value to your New Jersey property and provides a solution to potential drainage and erosion problems. They can be customized to suit your preferences and serve a practical purpose. Retaining walls are an efficient and cost-effective way to add structure, organization, and appeal to your property.
Types Of Materials Used For Retaining Walls
There are several materials that can be used for retaining walls, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
One of the most common materials used for retaining walls is concrete. Concrete walls are extremely durable and have a long lifespan, making them an excellent choice for long-term projects. They can also be used to construct walls of different shapes, sizes, and heights. However, concrete is also expensive, requiring careful installation to avoid cracking or other damage over time.
Masonry is another popular material for retaining walls. It can be made from natural stone or bricks, creating an attractive, rustic look that complements natural landscapes. Masonry walls offer excellent structural stability and can withstand significant pressure from soil and water. However, like concrete, masonry is costly, and the construction process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Several types of wood, including pressure-treated timber and redwood, can be used for retaining walls. Wood is a budget-friendly material that is easy to work with, making it ideal for DIY projects. Treated wood is also highly resistant to rot and insects, ensuring it lasts many years. However, wood is not as structurally stable as concrete or masonry and may need to be replaced or repaired over time.
Steel is another material that can be used for retaining walls. Steel walls are incredibly strong and can support a great deal of weight. They are also thin, which makes them ideal for tight spaces where a thicker wall would not be practical. Steel walls are usually prefabricated, which can significantly reduce installation time and labor costs. However, steel can be vulnerable to rust and corrosion, especially in areas with high humidity or saltwater exposure.
Finally, gabion walls are an environmentally friendly option for retaining walls. Gabions are wire cages that are filled with rocks or other materials. They are relatively affordable and easy to install, making them an excellent choice for smaller projects. Gabions are also highly permeable, allowing water to pass through them, reducing erosion risk. However, gabions may not be as structurally sound as other materials, and they can be vulnerable to damage from weathering and wildlife.
Several materials can be used for retaining walls, depending on the project’s specific needs. Each material has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of material will depend on factors such as cost, durability, aesthetics, and structural stability. By carefully evaluating these factors, engineers and contractors can construct retaining walls that are both functional and attractive, ensuring that they will stand the test of time.
Residential Retaining Wall FAQs
How much does a retaining wall cost?
There are a lot of factors that contribute to total cost. First, you need to determine what type of wall is best for your application. For example, a simple garden wall to edge your flower beds would use different materials and approach than a sophisticated retaining wall with drainage to provide an entire property with a level area.
There are many options to choose from when selecting a retaining wall. They range from boulder walls to retaining wall masonry block. The type of application will typically dictate what type of wall is suitable for your needs. Our team is composed of highly skilled experts that can walk you through every step of the project from design to completion.
Do I need permits to build a retaining wall in New Jersey?
Different towns/cities in New Jersey have different requirements when it comes to retaining walls. Most towns/cities in New Jersey do not require a construction permit if the wall is under 4ft in height. However, it is important to contact the town hall before any project to ensure you can start your project.
Do I need engineering plans to build a retaining wall?
Not all retaining walls need plans. However, depending on the different types of regulations regarding permitting in your area most municipalities will require plans if a construction permit is required.
What is the process of building a retaining wall?
Being prepared with the proper tools and equipment before you begin a retaining wall project is important. Here are some other items to consider before you get started.
When planning your project, make sure you can access your wall site with construction equipment and materials. For sites with restricted access, plan out where you will stage and store your block, wall rock and other materials.
Wall Rock Wall
Rock To build a quality wall, use a clean, granular rock underneath the base course to create a firm foundation for your project. Good drainage and compaction will add to the quality and performance of your finished wall. We refer to the material used for the base, within and behind the block as Wall Rock. Crushed or smooth stone, well graded, compactable aggregate, ranging in size from 0.25 in. to 1.5 in. (6 to 38 mm) is the ideal wall rock size.
Tools & Equipment
You need to have the proper tools on hand. Remember: Safety always comes first. Hand tools, safety glasses, gloves, dust mask, ear protection, knee pads, 4’ level, torpedo level, tape measure, string line, chisel, hand tamper, dead blow hammer, shims, broom, round and square shovel. Power tools, plate compactor, concrete saw with diamond blade, skid loader, transit/site level. Rental equipment plate compactors, concrete saws, skid loaders and transit levels are very useful when building retaining walls.
Compact in 8 in. (200 mm) lifts, one course at a time Keep all heavy equipment at least 3 ft. (0.9m) away from the back of the blocks Proper placement and compaction of the infill soils is critical. The most important step in getting proper compaction is the placement of the soil in “lifts”. Compacting in lifts, or layers, of less than 8 in. (200 mm) will facilitate quality compaction. Placement and compaction in lifts that exceed 8 in. (200 mm) will result in less than adequate soil strength. Compaction equipment must be sized according to the type of material being compacted. Always backfill and compact after each course of block is placed. Consult with a local equipment supplier to ensure that proper compaction equipment is used. The consolidation zone runs from the back of the block back 3 ft. (0.9 m) into the infill soil. Only walk behind plate compaction equipment is allowed within the consolidation zone. A minimum of two passes with a walk behind plate compactor is required, starting on top of the block and compacting in paths that run parallel with the wall to the back of the excavated area.
To start your layout, place stakes to represent the location of the front of the retaining wall. Using a string line or paint, mark out the entire length. A garden hose is an excellent tool to use when laying out curved walls. Excavate the area by removing all surface vegetation and organic materials from the area. These cannot be used as backfill material. If reinforcement is needed excavate behind the wall to accommodate the design length of the geogrid. Refer to your approved plans for exact length. Starting at the lowest point, dig a base trench the length of the wall. More information on retaining walls where the base trench steps up a slope. Retaining Wall Base Trench Dig a base trench 24 in. (600 mm) wide the length of the wall.** The depth of the trench will be 6 in. (150 mm) plus an additional 1 in. (25 mm) for each 1 ft (300 mm) of wall height for the amount or buried block that is needed.** Compact the base trench making a minimum of two passes with a walk behind plate compactor. Foundation soils at the bottom of the base trench must be firm and solid. If the soils are made up of heavy clay or wet soils, or the areas have been previously excavated, remove this material and replace with a granular material, compacting in 8 in.(200mm) lifts or less. **For walls under 4 ft (1.2 m) dig the base trench 18 in. wide (460 mm) and 4 in. deep (100 mm) plus additional to account for the amount of buried block needed.
How to prepare the base A drain pipe is required for any reinforced wall or any wall over 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall. Place the drain pipe at the lowest possible point toward the back of the trench and vent to daylight every 50 ft. (15 m). More information on drainage and water management. Place a minimum of 6 in. (150 mm) of wall rock in the base trench and rake smooth. Compact the wall rock making a minimum of two passes with a plate compactor. Check the entire length for level, and adjust as needed.
Retaining Walls with Geogrid
What is Geogrid? Geogrids are flexible, synthetic meshes which are manufactured specifically for slope stabilization and earth retention. These “grids” are available in a variety of materials, sizes and strengths. They can be made of high tensile strength plastics or woven polyester yarns and are typically packaged at the factory in rolls. See the importance of reinforcement in your retaining wall with this sand castle demonstration. Use the Soil Reinforcement Chart to determine the size of AB Grid you will need and how many layers your retaining wall requires. How Grid Works The sand castle test takes two cylinders of soil and applies vertical force to see how the soil performs. The first cylinder is just compacted material. The second is also compacted material with the addition of mesh screens to simulate the use of geogrid reinforcement.
Finishing a Retaining Wall
- Install filter fabric Filter fabric is used on top of the top course of blocks and below the caps to cover the back of the AB Fieldstone anchoring units. This will allow plantable soil to be placed flush against the cap unit.
- Place a strip of filter fabric along the top of the AB Fieldstone anchoring units on the top course of wall. Position so that the fabric starts at the back of the AB Fieldstone facing unit and goes over the AB Fieldstone anchoring unit and down along the back of the anchoring unit.
- Be sure to leave the top surface of the facing unit exposed so that the cap sealant can be placed on the facing unit.
- Finish the wall with AB Capstones. Place the first capstone on the wall to include a 1.5 – 2 in. (40 – 50 mm) overhang.
- Run a string line the length of wall to mark placement of additional capstones.
- To get a consistent point, use the 45° chamfers at the end of each cap as alignment points for string line.
- Use a flexible masonry adhesive, NP1 or equivalent, to secure the capstones in place. Put a small bead of sealant along the sides of the caps as well.
- Backfill behind the last course and behind the AB Capstone with impermeable fill to allow for planting up to the back of the wall.
At Patio Builders NJ, we have a strong reputation for our quality workmanship, including geotechnical considerations and design process assessment.
We take the time to assess each project individually, taking into consideration factors such as soil type and slope. This allows us to provide you with a retaining wall that is ideal for your particular needs and conditions. We’ll also use high-quality materials and techniques to ensure long-lasting results.
Our one-on-one retaining wall design consultation, 3D computer rendering, competitive pricing, precision, execution, and professionalism throughout set us apart from the competition and allow us to provide an outstanding customer experience. Call us at 973-262-2116 or email us to get a free estimate!