Have you ever looked around the outdoor areas of your property and felt like something wasn’t right? Maybe there’s a sunken area, a trouble spot where the grass won’t grow, or maybe the aesthetic just seems “off.” It could also be that the soil in your garden seems weak, and doesn’t produce very well.

It might not be obvious at first glance, but all of these are reasons to consider a retaining wall for your home or business. These sturdy, landscaped features can be installed by a mason or concrete specialist — and they have any number of practical and aesthetic uses.

So what is a retaining wall, for those of you who don’t already know?

It basically amounts to a man-made “step” from the top and bottom of a slope. It can be made of natural stone, brick or concrete, and most retaining walls are installed on small slopes. You’ll rarely see a single retaining wall for a large slope over three or four feet, as this would present safety risks. It also wouldn’t look very nice. Instead, longer and higher slopes can be fitted with a series of retaining walls, creating an aesthetically pleasing “multi-tiered” effect.

The reality is, every landscape is unique. The art of building a good retaining wall involves not only structural concerns, but the ability to make it fit seamlessly into the landscape.

So why would you pay to have a retaining wall built on your property? Are there any practical reasons, or is it all about looks?

Actually, most retaining walls are built for purely functional reasons. That’s because areas with a lot of slopes need retaining walls in order to make planting and cultivation possible. Without retaining walls, large areas of the soil would routinely be washed away by the rains.

This same reason can apply to home and business owners on a smaller scale. The slopes and gradations of the natural landscape can create “trouble spots” due to the accumulation of rainfall — you’ve probably seen this on your own property, or the property of someone you know.

Essentially, the practical benefits of a retaining wall are as follows:

  • Prevent soil from washing away in key areas of the property
  • Prevent the formation of sink holes and other unsightly landscaping problems
  • Curb and prevent flooding
  • Minimize yard maintenance
  • Protect nearby buildings from flooding

But retaining walls, when built right and place in the perfect location, can also provide a big aesthetic boost. Landscapers and designers have always known this, and retaining walls are often desirable, even when the practical case for building them is minimal.

Who should you see about a retaining wall?

There are a lot of “handymen” and landscapers out there who may be willing to build a retaining wall on your property, and some of them may even have the tools and skills to do a good job. But if you want to make sure your wall is finished to the highest professional standard, you’ll want to find a licensed contractor who is experienced in building these highly functional and appealing landscape features.

Good luck!