Your Guide to the Best Design of Your Retaining Wall: Top Aspects to Remember

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Having the best retaining wall for your property is entirely possible, mainly if you work with a specialist who can provide you with the guidance and recommendations you need and who has the best options from which you could choose. But even if you are not a specialist in such a project, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with what is out there so you can design the ideal retaining wall solution for your needs.

There are many factors that can indeed influence the effectiveness, longevity, and sturdiness of your retaining wall, so here’s your guide to the best design of your retaining wall: the top aspects you should remember.

1. The soil
It can’t be stressed enough – you need to have the ideal soil for your retaining wall. The soil can (literally) make or break your wall, after all. The base of your retaining wall – regardless if it’s a king post retaining wall or another kind of wall – is the soil, and you need to thoroughly assess it to know if it has enough strength to support your retaining wall. One of the foremost aspects you should determine is the kind or type of soil you have, plus its capacity for bearing weight or load. You should also assess the soil’s stress parameter plus its resistance to any movement (the friction angle). Aside from checking the soil for the foundation, check the ground along the reinforcement zone or area.

Generally speaking, the foundation soil has to be strong, solid, and firm, and moisture is a no-no. Wet soil or earth (like clay earth) is unsuitable for in-filling since it is already water-saturated; any extra moisture will have difficulty going through to the system’s drainage areas or channels. Additionally, if you are in a location with frost or snow, wet earth or soil may contract and expand. It can potentially lead to damage to the retaining wall. On the other hand, if you have sandy earth or soil, this provides proper drainage. It’s best to consult with a geotechnical expert regarding the soil and ask for a report on the soil on-site that gives information about its chemical properties, the condition of the groundwater, and so on.

2. The drainage
The drainage will matter, and this is when you have to think about whether or not you can have the proper drainage system. Adequate drainage is essential so you can prevent water accumulation or buildup behind your wall system. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to check for any potential sources of water on the surface and ensure that there is drainage beside the site of the wall. You should also check the site for any drainage pattern and build a system for drainage behind the retaining wall so you can decrease the hydro pressure from the area’s groundwater.

Along with the soil and drainage, think about the location. It is imperative to consider the boundary of the property and any utilities underground or aboveground, including systems for the management of stormwater and irrigation. If the wall is built on a slope, you may need extra in-fill for the site, and if you are planning to cut into the side of a hill, make sure you have a place to store the excess earth or soil.

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