Retaining Walls Part III: Retaining Walls vs. Garden Walls

Stacking Retaining Walls Against Garden Walls

Unless you’re a licensed landscaper or spend hours every day poring over articles and websites that focus on landscape design, you’re likely one of the millions of people who look at the words “garden wall” and “retaining wall” and consider them to be pretty much interchangeable.

Tomato/toh-matoh, right? Wrong.

There are actually a few differences between the two, and those differences could mean all the difference in whether your landscape project is a resounding success or leaves you with abject failure.

Retaining Some Facts

So, let’s take a closer look. A retaining wall, while definitely adding a great deal of visual appeal to an outdoor space, serves a major function. Retaining walls are built to be stable structures, strong enough to keep the weight of soil from shifting forward from one place to another. They can also be used to create a barrier from erosion or even the grade in landscaping that might otherwise be extremely uneven or sloped.

For instance, properties with a natural topography that slopes severely can become an issue because that slope can begin to slide or erode over time as the elements wear away at it. A retaining wall, however, creates a barrier to keep the ground firmly in place under those conditions. Retaining wall stones are also generally heavier and larger than those used to create a garden wall, and the structure can also be built taller.

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Garden walls, as you might have gathered, have a far greater restriction on their height and must be a great deal lower than retaining walls. Additionally, they are purely – read: ONLY – for aesthetic purposed and can do essentially nothing when it comes to keeping large amounts of soil in place. Think of them more as quotation marks, something to make your landscape speak a little bit louder and set off certain features like a lamppost or (you guessed it) a garden. The stones used in garden walls are smaller and less weighty than stones used in retaining walls, which means that soil prone to shifting can’t depend on the structure of a garden wall to keep it in place.

Making The Call on Your Wall

Knowing which you need comes down to a few important questions:

· Is the wall serving the function of retaining?

· Is the wall purely being installed for aesthetics?

· How high does the wall need to be?

Before you install your wall – whether it’s a garden wall or a retaining wall – consider the value of consulting with a professional landscaper to know which option is best for you. Whatever you choose, you’ll also need to know the proper way to install it, which materials to use and what the costs will be.

Give the team of experts at Executive Landscaping, Inc. a call to learn more about retaining walls and garden walls and how we can create an Executive Masterpiece for you today.