Go Green When Building a Retaining Wall

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green-planet

The ever increasing degree of environmental awareness that characterizes the society of our days is manifesting in the San Diego landscaping and hardscaping industry too. Retaining walls have a double advantage: they bring functionality by turning difficult slopes into easily accessed terrain with multi-usage options, but they also appeal to the eye, turning a dead area into a lively new living space.

Going as green as possible implies replacing mortar-fixed retaining walls preferred for their stability and durability, with environmentally-friendly interlocking block retaining walls. It is a cause of satisfaction to observe this tendency in San Diego area.

What Are Interlocking Block Retaining Walls?

There are essentially two basic types of interlocking retaining wall blocks:

  • L-shaped interlocking flanges
  • Blocks with a lip on the front or on the rear side that interlocks with the block beneath it (pins or dowels are other connection options)

 
A retaining wall built of interlocking blocks is strengthened when the area behind it is filled, because soil pressure tightens the connections between blocks. Lining the cavity behind the wall with absorbent landscape fabric helps avoid soil or dirt leaking through the blocks.

The Advantages

  • Environmentally-friendly. Should the land need further hardscaping and remodeling, the retaining walls can be taken apart and the interlocking blocks can be integrated into new structures.
  • Easy-to-do. Interlocking blocks are DIY-friendly and allow easier shaping of curves. This is a great advantage. However, before launching a retaining wall project, make sure to check out the San Diego County retaining wall permit requirements for compliance.
  • No footing required. This type of wall is perfect for lower structures, giving them strength and stability. For higher walls, trenching, elaborate drainage and engineering might be required.
  • Reasonable price. Though a tad more expensive than wood retaining walls, interlocking block walls are longer lasting, offer a wide design variety and are easier to maintain, while remaining still affordable.

The Disadvantages

  • Not recommended for tall retaining walls. Though careful engineering and design may permit the installation of high interlocking block retaining walls, these structures are most reliable for lower walls.
  • Interlocking block retaining walls often traverse at a slope; they do not always end up straight and level. This however, is a rather relative point of view, as the experience of San Diego retaining wall contractors shows that slight slope configurations are considered architecturally appealing.